The Buyer’s Guide to Website Accessibility Services (for 2024)

woman typing on Macbook

(Updated for 2024)

Website owners who are trying to make their websites “ADA compliant” unknowingly face a minefield laced with bad options that cost too much money, waste time, and don’t reduce risk.

The worst part: they don’t know how bad it is.

Let’s quickly touch on the key components in the website accessibility services and products landscape.


First, you need to be aware that overlay widgets are a waste of money.

Overlays that are sold as a solution for accessibility are like the magic tonic that was sold as a cure to [fill in the blank] in the 1800s.


An automated scan like WAVE or Axe is very helpful in quickly identifying accessibility issues, but they’re only a starting point — they only successfully flag ~25% of WCAG 2.1 AA issues.

Google Lighthouse is another popular scan but it’s really a more basic version of Axe.

You can scan single pages for free with a number of online scans (they’re mostly the same in what they detect).

Premium services will sell full website scans with the ability to customize the scan along with reporting and maintenance but these are still just scans. While paid scans may seem enticing (you can scan unlimited pages), practically they don’t provide that much value because your team likely can only remediate one page at a time.

Manual Audit

You will need a manual audit. A manual audit identifies all of the accessibility issues for the primary page layouts / screens on your website.

However, a manual audit itself doesn’t do anything — rather, it just lays out what needs to be done to make your website accessible.

Download my free WCAG 2.1 AA checklist (no subscription) to find out the 50 issues manual auditors look for.


Next, you will need to remediate or fix your website. Most of remediation requires a developer (and maybe a designer) to update your website’s code.

The other side of remediation involves updating your content to be accessible (e.g., add closed captions to video, add alt text to meaningful images).

Re-Audit / Progression

This phase is where you ensure that your website is clear of issues after remediation has taken place.

User Testing

User testing isn’t mandatory but it is quite beneficial to have a screen reader user test your website.


That’s it for the actual accessibility work to be done.

There may be other things to do for compliance and best practices such as posting an accessibility statement or creating an internal accessibility policy but audit + remediation is the big 1–2 combination.

Now all that’s left is to maintain.

But there’s more to think about.


Genuine accessibility for most websites costs multiple thousands of dollars. This is because it takes considerable time, knowledge, and skill for both an experienced auditor and developer to perform the work.

A good, trustworthy freelance developer with expertise in accessibility will cost $110-$150/hour.

And auditors usually don’t charge by the hour, they charge by the project.

Whether you hire a company, a small agency, or freelancers, they’ll price your website out by 1) complexity, 2) current state of accessibility, and 3) number of screens / pages to go through.


When it comes to manual audits and remediation, the turnaround times are usually similar.

For your “average” website, a two week turnaround time is really fast.

3–4 weeks is good. The closer to three, the better.

4–5 weeks is mediocre.

5+ is slow.

Of course, this is for an “average” website. Adjust the timelines depending on how complex, inaccessible, and/or large your website is.

Quality of Work

This is the hidden risk buried in every service because you don’t know how good a service provider is.

Both Company X and Company Y will tell you they’ll produce a manual audit report but how good is the report?

I guarantee you the reports won’t be the same.

This is one reason why it’s so important to not choose someone only based on price.

Of course price is an important factor but you would much, much, much prefer to pay more and get quality work done than pay less and get poor quality work.

Think of it in terms of letter grades.

One company might give you an audit that scores an A-.

Another company might give you a C+ audit.

Most audits aren’t 100% perfect but the ones that are excellent catch all of the major issues and almost all of the medium and minor issues.

Similarly, developers come to the table with a variety of experience and skill levels. Many now claim to have expertise in accessibility or “WCAG” because it increases their pay but it’s important to keep in mind that they too will range in quality of work.

The Right Fit

There are different fits for accessibility services.

For small businesses, big accessibility companies don’t make sense because they target enterprises and their services cost too much.

For larger organizations / enterprises, smaller accessibility agencies may not make sense if they don’t have the infrastructure to support teams, tickets, volume, complexity, integration, etc.

And medium-sized organizations flow wherever the cost and services best intersect with their needs.

Marketing Agencies

Quick tip: If they also do SEO, social media, PPC, etc., skip them.

Accessibility requires focus and commitment and it doesn’t just blend together with marketing services; it’s serious and definitely not an endeavor marketing companies should be tacking on as an upsell.

Accessible Templates

If you’re starting fresh with a brand new website, a truly accessible, out-of-the-box WCAG conformant Wordpress (or XYZ) theme is a potential way to beat the system.

Beware that many themes say they’re accessible when they’re not. Also beware that you can instantly take your website out of conformance when you customize or upload content to it.

Worst Case Scenario

Overlays are scams but they’re an upfront scam, if that makes sense. The scam is right in your face, so to speak.

There is significant downside to procuring accessibility services so spending a few hours to research the different companies and agencies is a worthwhile investment.

It’s not just your money at stake but your audience’s experience as well as your time, effort, and energy.

If you get bad services, you’ll have to start the process all over again. And because the services didn’t result in your website being “ADA compliant,” you might be starting over after having settled litigation.

In a Nutshell

Although price is always important, price alone shouldn’t be your determining factor.

It’s very important to understand the website accessibility landscape so you can effectively evaluate which providers are right for you.

My video on the different types of web accessibility companies is a great start.

Also, note that the “review” sites that have reviews for various companies are worthless. They exist to generate affiliate commissions from overlay vendors.