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Siri reveals herself to promote web accessibility for Userway

For the first time ever, the face of Apple’s original voice of Siri, Susan Bennett, has been revealed in a campaign for UserWay as the accessibility platform appeals to businesses worldwide to improve their websites for those with disabilities.

The global Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the drastic need for improved web accessibility, as the sudden reliance on digital platforms and video conferencing revealed oversights in usability such as working with web readers and subtitling capabilities. Yet despite the growing need, 97% of the world’s top one million websites are currently inaccessible to those with disabilities – an issue that UserWay seeks to address in its new campaign.

The UserWay widget itself uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify any accessibility issues on a website and automatically alters the site’s code in real-time to resolve them. The widget also offers various opt-in usability and accessibility enhancements including increased color contrast, text size adjustments and an onboard screen reader.

“At the end of the day, it’s an easy fix,” says Itai Bichler, the creative marketing consultant on the campaign. “Just a single line of code can make sure a website is accessible to anyone, and that was the goal of this campaign.

“Instead of trying to tap into the emotions of how bad it feels to be excluded, we wanted to call on business owners and web designers to join the movement.”

Bichler says the idea behind asking ‘Siri’ aka Susan Bennett to appear in the campaign came because she is the most well-known personal assistant in the world, and although she is widely used, she is less known for being an important accessibility tool for Apple products.

“We are always looking for new ways to creatively promote accessibility,” says UserWay founder and chief exec Allon Mason. “Working with Susan felt like the right move. Not only is she a voice that everyone knows, but Siri is also one of the most helpful tools when it comes to web accessibility. Voice activation is a huge aid for so many people navigating websites that we felt compelled to include her in our narrative.”

Bennet says: “For so long, my identity was tied to the digital world. I was Siri, the voice on everyone’s iPhones. And without even planning to be, I became this huge tool for many people with disabilities.

“It was a powerful reminder that the internet is not accessible for millions of disabled individuals. I’m hoping for some more awareness because the issue right now is that most people aren’t even aware there is an issue at all.”

Bichler concludes: “The spot ends with an important message – that as much as she’d like to, Siri can’t help everyone. Rather than addressing the disabled community in our ad, we want to appeal to website owners, small businesses, medium-sized businesses, to make sure everyone understands that it’s their job to make the whole internet accessible.”

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