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Astute’s Self-Service Chatbot Complies with Digital Accessibility Guidelines

April 01, 2020

Astute is excited to announce that Astute Bot – a digital customer self-service chatbot used by some of the world’s largest B2C companies – is digitally accessible for consumers with disabilities. As one of the first accessible chatbots in the market, Astute Bot achieved a level of “Supports,” the highest level of conformance, and received an International Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) Statement of Conformation, demonstrating compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level A, section 508 and GDPR for the European Union.

Astute partnered with ilumino, an organizational member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) with Certified Professionals in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC’s), to test and document Astute Bot’s conformance with the international and WCAG standards.

“We are committed to providing solutions that ensure best practices for equal accommodation. Partnering with ilumino and gaining international and WCAG compliance for Astute Bot is the beginning of our journey,” said Alex George, President of Astute.

This development makes it easier for Astute’s customers to make their own websites, mobile platforms, and apps digitally accessible when communicating with consumers. Now, it will be easier for consumers with disabilities to access information through digital self-service interactions or chat with a live agent. In the same way that a wheelchair ramp makes buildings accessible for people with mobility issues, digital accessibility standards make online content available to all users, including those with disabilities.

“Astute is demonstrating that it is no longer enough to simply offer accessible websites, but that the apps and third parties integrated with those sites need to be inclusive as well,” said Jenna Reardon, Co-Founder of ilumino. “By taking action to make their chatbot compliant, they share a common mission with ilumino: Everyone deserves an equal digital experience. The Astute Bot is an exciting and valuable step toward barrier-free products that enhance user interactions, increase conversions, and minimize legal risk for the companies that use their products.”

Approximately 15% of the global population lives with disabilities, according to the World Health Organization. Disabilities may include vision or colorblindness, hearing, mobility and cognitive impairments, as well as learning disabilities and disabilities that develop as part of aging. In fact, Forrester found that 71% of shoppers with disabilities will click away from a website if it is too difficult to use.

As a leading provider of AI- and machine learning-based software solutions that enable companies to manage the customer experience, Astute is keenly aware of the technology-based pain points that companies face when engaging with consumers. Digital accessibility (also known as A11y) is emerging as an important area of focus, as companies work to make information accessible to people with disabilities by adopting the WCAG 2.1 standards.

“Our customers have consumers’ best interests in mind, and they want to make the online journey as inclusive as possible,” said Astute’s George. “We’re working to support their efforts by making our software conform to today’s gold standard for accessibility.”

Astute is also planning to upgrade its Astute Agent – a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specializing in customer service – later this year to make the software accessible for its customers’ employees who have disabilities.

Source: Martech Series