PEAT Talks Transcript: How ADP and AudioEye Partnered on Accessibility
All right, folks. Hello out there. Thanks for joining us today. Welcome to PEATTalks, our virtual speaker series from the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology, or PEAT. This happens on every third Thursday of the month, PEAT Talks showcases various organizations and individuals, the work in innovations are acceptable technology in the workplace.
My name is Josh Christianson. I’m the Project Director for PEAT, and I’ll be hosting, along with my team, today’s talk.
Before we get started, if you could move to the logistics slide, please, I’m going to quickly review a few logistics. We will have time for questions and answers at the end. We’re definitely going to save time for that and hope you all engage. So the way we’ll do that is using the Chat window. So you can use the Chat and put questions in there. If we don’t get to them during the conversation, we will try to circle back to them at the end of the presentation.
You can also use your Chat window just if you are having any technical difficulties or want to give us a head’s up about anything. We will be monitoring that throughout the conversation and we’ll do our best to resolve any issues we can communicating through there.
You can also download the presentation from PEATworks.org. So if you just want to get the PowerPoint now, you can grab that, and an archived recording of today’s webinar will be posted online following the event.
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So I want to – I’m very pleased to have our guests today. We’ve got two speakers who are going to be discussing how their two companies partnered to enrich the user experience of ADP’s human capital management software by making it more accessible for employees with disabilities, and really for all employees, to use.
First up we have Jennifer Ravalli, who is President of Product Marketing for ADP’s human capital management product offering. And she joined ADP in August of 2010 and since then has held several different leadership roles in their Small Business Services and Marketing organizations. Welcome, Jen.
And we also have Dan Sullivan. He is Vice President of AudioEye where he’s responsible for all aspects of new and existing client relationships. Prior to AudioEye, Dan was the Chief Revenue Office and Senior Vice President of Sales at Professional Diversity Network, or PDN. And there he built and deployed the sales team’s sales operation infrastructure to bring PDN’s diversity recruitment solutions to the marketplace. So it’s great to have someone aware of both the accessibility and HR side, which is a place PEAT likes to dwell in.
And we’re super excited to have them talk about the product that they are going to discuss. I had the opportunity to see this demonstrated this year at the HR Tech conference back in the fall, and it was very cool and very exciting and we will share some links where you all can check it out yourself at the end of the day.
But we’re delighted to have Dan and Jen here, that they are able to join us and explain how this partnership came about. And with that I’m going to turn it over to Jen.
Thank you, Josh. So thank you so much for having us today. We’re absolutely thrilled to share with you more about how our companies have worked together to deliver to ADP clients an integrated and inclusive experience through the absolutely remarkable tools that AudioEye has developed.
Over the last few years at ADP, we’ve been making extensive investments in our user experience with the idea that that would transcend the platforms that we offer in the various markets in the human capital management industry.
The idea was really to create software that employees and managers actually want to use. And this is just another component of that journey. Today we offer this to our large market clients with a thousand-plus employees, and we’re continuing to extend that relationship throughout ADP.
It is our belief that you cannot have a leading edge user experience without integrated accessibility features, which is exactly what AudioEye has brought us. We’ve had a tremendous experience working with the team to achieve this for our clients. And today I’m thrilled to be joined by Dan Sullivan from AudioEye to give you some additional insight into that journey. We will cover the accessibility challenge as well as ADP’s commitment to accessibility through this webinar.
We’ll also share with you a link to a virtual reality experience in case you have a VR headset. However you actually don’t need one to view it. We recently developed this to showcase to our clients our user experience, and this features the AudioEye tools. So should you want to see the product in action, we can certainly send that link so you can take a look at it. We’re also currently developing a version that will include closed captions as well.
With that I will turn it over to Dan Sullivan, a true expert in the area of accessibility.
Thanks, Jennifer. Really appreciate that. Really excited to have the opportunity to work with the folks at PEAT to talk a little bit about the partnership and the relationship that we’ve developed over the last year to 18 months with the folks at ADP and how they’ve really embraced the concept of delivering accessibility in their platforms and to be a real leader in the human capital and HR technology space relative to accessibility and usability. And really, really excited and pleased that they selected AudioEye to be their partner of choice to assist in doing that.
I think as we – if we can sort of move to – as we go through the agenda, a couple of the things that we’ll talk about a little bit here is the overall issue of the accessibility challenge and why it’s important, and talk about some of the numbers and some of the rationalization as to why building accessibility into HR platforms and technology is really important. And then after that review, going to ask Jennifer to give a little bit of an overview insofar as ADP’s commitment to accessibility, why they made the determination to do this, why it’s important to them ultimately.
So with that we can go to the next slide, which maybe I can do that.
So I want to talk about the overall aspect of accessibility in general in the web, specifically within HR and HR technology platforms.
As I think many of you are aware, there’s been a tremendous effort in the private market as well as the federal government to really emphasize and put specific resources against being able to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to gain access to the employment marketplace and to integrate themselves into the employment marketplace insofar as their ability to contribute to the economy and be participants in the economy. And whether it’s the Section 503 refresh we went through a few years ago, the fact is that there has been an awful lot of effort being able to identify, recruit, employ this population.
And as we look at the full life cycle of employment, the last aspect of the whole cycle of employment that’s really important is the retention of those individuals. So much effort and so much energy is put forth being able to identify, hire and bring these individuals into companies, into the federal government, into the workplace, to contribute to the overall productivity of that company, but more often one of the things that gets lost in that is how do we retain and how do we integrate these individuals into our employment population in such a means that it makes it easy for them to interact with all of the tools and resources that exist within the workplace.
And, you know, one of the areas I think that, you know, whether it’s through the good work of the folks at PEAT or through the HR marketplace that we have found is that there was a real strong and significant need to make HR tools and resources, those resources that the disabled population rely upon, interact, integrate, and do their work in the workplace.
And, you know, very clearly, I’ve shared these statistics with many of you on PEATTalks in the past, but the bottom line is that this is not a niche market. This is not a small population. And the fact is that if they don’t have tools and resources that are accessible in the workplace, it becomes very difficult for them to retain and stay in that workplace and continue to drive long-term relationships in that marketplace.
So when we talk about sort of the broad market of individuals with disabilities, when the World Health Organization says that over a billion people globally live with some form of disability, and when we look at U.S. Census Bureau in the United States stating that upwards of 12.6% of people in the United States, which is more than 39 million individuals that live with a disability, it’s pretty clear that not only is this not a niche market, but this is a very sizeable portion of the work population.
And the issue is what can be done to make the resources and the tools that those individuals utilize work for them in an accessible manner so that that level of accommodation that they require to really execute their work on a day-to-day basis is fulfilled. And, you know, simple efforts like being able to identify a job and apply to a job on a platform that’s accessible, being able to log your hours on a platform that’s accessible, put your PTO in, secure your W2, all of the things that any of us as employees in the workplace have to do, if those resources and that functionality is not accessible, it make the ability of the disabled population that’s working in the workforce, it makes it that much more difficult and that much more cumbersome to interact in that marketplace.
So when we look at some of the numbers out there, it becomes very, very compelling and we clearly understand and recognize that being able to take these HR technology platforms and make them accessible is an incredibly important aspect of any good employment program. Bottom line is if you want to make accommodations for all of your employee population, you want to make certain that the resources that they use are accessible and usable within the environment in which they work. And it’s really exciting to talk about what we’ve done with the folks at ADP, really how they’ve embraced this and really driven and chosen to be leaders in the marketplace insofar as adopting this concept.
But, you know, we at AudioEye are continuously talking about the concept of accessibility coupled with usability. Accessibility is incredibly important. But usability is equally important. And one of the nice things about what we’re able to do and what our relationship with ADP does is not only do we make the platform that’s being driven within ADP incredibly accessible for those individuals that use third-party resources in assistive technology, so screen readers, and Braille readers, and all of the like, not only does their platform integrate with those tools in a highly successful manner, but really what we’ve done, and what ADP wanted to do, was to raise the bar with regards to accessibility. Accessibility as not enough. And this is really kind of where we go sort of to the next stage and talk about the usability and the components and the tools that we’ve built into the ADP platform that really not only make the ADP platform accessible, but really, truly and fully make it usable.
See we talked about the numbers on the populations and the individuals in the marketplace that live with a disability, but those are the individuals that register themselves or are able to capture with data. But there’s a massive population with individuals out there that may not show up in that data that, frankly speaking, could benefit from, or could be the beneficiaries of, having resources and means by which to interact with conduct on the web that makes it easier for them.
And with the AudioEye-ADP partnership, we’ve been able to deploy not only technology that makes the platform accessible for those individuals that use third-party resources, but in essence ADP is saying, let us lend you tools and resources that make your experience within our platform more usable, more personalized and customized to your needs.
See, in my limited amount of time, which has been a few years, in this world of digital accessibility, I came out of the diversity recruitment space and certainly understand that space, but my limited time here, one of the things that I’ve really come to realize is that there’s a massive number of individuals out there that don’t traditionally translate or extrapolate in some of these numbers relative to individuals with disabilities. Individuals that have, you know, things like dyslexia, or individuals that have lower declining vision. Individuals that may have mobility related issues where, for one reason or another, it’s difficult to manipulate a mouse or a keyboard. And where the traditional resources of web accessibility, i.e. screen readers or Braille readers, or some of those resources, don’t necessarily help that population out.
And when we began to put together those numbers, it became very, very clear that there is a sizable population out there that could benefit from and gain additional usability by having tools and resources available. And we’ve built a series of really powerful tools into the ADP platform that enable individuals with cognitive, mobility, declining vision related impairments to have tools and resources that make their experience within the ADP platform that much more usable. And customizable.
So if accessibility was the baseline, usability is really the goal. And I think ADP really endeavored in their new platform development to make the user experience as rewarding and as easy and as simple to you, and usability was a real significant focus. By really delivering world-class usability to the platform, they simultaneously, through our relationship with ADP, was able to leverage and utilize the AudioEye functionality did not only deliver exceedingly high levels of accessibility for the platform but to really deliver usability.
And I think what ends up happening with usability is it really drives to a business imperative. The more individuals you bring into the conversation, and the more individuals that can benefit by these resources, ultimately the more beneficial it is and the higher the level of commitment in being able to secure the funds and make the commitment to make these things happen.
And I think some of the stats that are on this page go a long way towards really explaining that. The fact is that they’re, you know, 22% of working-age adults are likely to use and leverage successful technologies due to severe difficulties and impairments. All right, I mean that kind of dovetails with the statistics that we used beforehand. But when you look at the second line on there, which is 57% of computer users are likely or very likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology due to mild or severe impairment. The reality is is that you find, you know, that 57% of all – this is according to Microsoft in a survey that they did with Forrester – and when you go through that, you make that determination, that’s a massive portion of the population that don’t necessarily show up in those prior stats that we talked about.
And I think one of the more really powerful statistics that we’ve been able to see in the marketplace, which is in the gray box to the right on this slide, speaks to the 32% of people using accessibility options or assistive technologies do so for ease of use, comfort, or convenience. They do not have any physical difficulty or impairment.
And I think, you know, one of the examples, I think, that I commonly cite when it comes to this, and I think is fairly well known to a number of folks out there, is when we look at the commitment that Comcast made a few years ago to their talking guide and their voice activated remote. And those initiatives were initially set forth based on making their platform and the Xfinity platform more accessible. And it was really an accessibility-driven initiative.
But though Comcast does not divulge the numbers, they actually have the ability to take a look at the usage of those resources based on the numbers and the percentages of their customers that are utilizing those tools on a regular or monthly basis. And suffice it to say, what they tell me, and what their data shows, is a much, much larger population and percentage of their customer base are utilizing those tools regularly, not for means of accessibility, but just using ease of use. The same way that an individual that may be checking into a hotel and is carrying a suitcase will use a curb cut or a ramp to make it easier to get into a hotel, those are resources that are there that are initially designed to really provide a level of accessibility. But ultimately there’s a universal usage and design and aspect of it that becomes very beneficial. And I think that, you know, when we look at the success that we’re having in the ADP platform, it really speaks to this particular – really this particular component of what we’ve seen.
So with that, go to the next slide here. I’m just going to sort of speak a little bit about what we did with ADP and how the platform works and how our technology is integrated.
You know, speaking to what I discussed a little bit before with the statistics, is the traditional approach to accessibility, we have found that just the numbers clearly state to us that there’s a massive portion of the population that’s left out of sort of that traditional approach where a lot of those efforts are geared towards individuals that are using third-party assistive technologies and may live with significant disabilities, like blindness or deafness, and the fact is that there’s a number of other individuals out there with maybe have cognitive or learning-related disabilities or mobility-related impairments that frankly don’t equate into that traditional approach. I mean, someone like myself, who has color blindness. Someone like my mom who has glaucoma and has declining vision. But she wouldn’t be viewed or defined as visually disabled, but being able to have resources and tools that make it easier for her to use an infrastructure, obviously very beneficial.
The other aspect of what we’ve done, and ADP is really a world leader in deploying HR technology and leveraging HR technology. And I think as a result it was a natural mix, natural pairing for AudioEye and ADP to work together in that AudioEye really looks to leverage and utilize technology to drive accessibility and make platforms usable and as efficient as possible. And I think what we’ve really tried to do is drive a paradigm shift in the world of delivering accessibility to platforms that allows technology to do a significant portion of the heavy lifting, minimizing the amount of infrastructure that needs to be addressed in a manual way and really trying to drive a more efficient experience.
The other aspect that we have found is that so many organizations try and really drive their accessibility initiatives purely based on a compliance-related initiative. And one of the things that we have found is a compliant site does not necessarily mean it’s an accessible or usable site. And when you look at really driving accessibility, accessibility takes care of itself. And if you really look to clear a bar that’s much higher than just making a platform accessible, you end up having a much more fulfilling experience for a much larger aspect of your user base.
And the other aspect that was important to ADP is that we were to able to certify and deliver not only – not only certify and deliver accessibility and usability to their platform, but use our technology in a way that we’re constantly monitoring certifying and making certain that with browser changes or alterations to code bases, better technology is always appropriately running in their platform and really assuring that they are delivering exactly what their commitment is to both accessibility and usability within their platform.
So that’s a little bit of an overview of sort of our technology and how we’re working with ADP. I’m going to turn it back over to Jennifer really just to talk in a little bit more detail about ADP’s commitment to this, the rationale for making their decision, and etc. So Jennifer, with that I’ll turn it over to you and you can kind of give us a little bit of a sense as to why ADP chose to take the leap.
So, you know, it was a pretty simple decision for us, to be perfectly honest. You know, we believe that our products should be accessible for everyone. As I stated earlier, we’ve been on a journey related to user experience. So when you think about ADP, most people think about us for payroll. You know, at some point or another, someone has received their paycheck from ADP.
As things have evolved, we’ve really become much more than a payroll company and now have extensively entered the human capital management phase. And with that, that means that we offer not only the five pillars of what you would see in terms of interacting with your day-to-day HR software, so we have payroll, talent, benefits. And when we think of talent, we think of talent acquisition as well as all the talent management aspect related to development, succession, compensation, etc.
We also do time, you know related to kind of workforce management, you know as we kind of developed all of the software components that we offer. In addition we have an incredible data product called DataCloud which really allows for employers to understand their workforce, and you’ll see some of the predictive as well as things that they could be looking for related to turnover, and kind of understanding their employee base in a much more prolific manner.
And so it was really important to us that since these are the tools that folks use at work every day, whether that’s at their desk top or via their mobile device, that they were able to have an experience that gave them an easy way to understand, you know, what they were responsible for, be able to access information that they desired to understand, say looking at their pay on a regular basis. In addition to being able to take advantage, to drive more efficient work. And, you know, it was really a no brainer that when we’re thinking about this and understanding that while many employers desire accessibility features, they don’t always work beautifully with the software. And so when we were trying to understand how we could really do this in a way that transforms the industry, AudioEye was really the only option that gave us the opportunity to really optimize our user experience through their tools.
So what you see today on the screen is our user experience, but if we were to turn on the accessibility tools, that entire screen could be read to you, you could interact with it. If you are dyslexic, it will change the font, as well if you are colorblind it will change contrast in order to make it easier for you to interact with it.
And, you know, these are just a handful of the features that AudioEye offers. We’re incredibly excited about the voice response as well given that that, you know, Dan just talked a lot about Comcast and what they’ve done with that. And, you know, we think that this is a great opportunity to leverage that for our clients and for their employees.
And it’s been exciting because it’s – the beautiful thing is if AudioEye makes a change, we automatically receive it. And, you know, so in terms of our ability to work together, it’s been just an incredible partnership. And as we move forward, we’re looking to really transcend that across all of our platforms at ADP.
Today what you see, and from the payroll side, almost all of our clients and employees can access this experience today. But when we look across the pillars, you know, we started with our largest clients, you know, who are really clamoring for this. It’s absolutely a growing issue with employers who want to be more inclusive. And, you know, HTM technology is incredibly sensitive for employees. You know, it’s something that they have to use in order to be able to be compliant with things that their employers are asking them. And it also contains a tremendous amount of sensitive information.
You know, so perhaps an employee doesn’t want to share that, you know, they have a disability. You know, being able to turn it on without having to ask permission, or to ask for accessibility software is really a great way for those employees to keep that confidentiality.
In addition, you know, some of the things that we do are enrolling benefits which might disclose certain information you’re not comfortable with. You know, it’s pay, which is something that very few people ever want to share with someone else. And, you know, by not having to ask for assistance of, you know, a colleague or a manager in performing some of these tasks is really something that we found employees of our clients are really valuing.
And again, you know, we do have an extensive commitment to a leading user experience. And it’s my opinion and the opinion of ADT that you do not have a user experience that is usable, or that is truly something that employees and managers can do unless it’s inclusive and really can allow for stronger usability for that population.
And so we’re so thrilled to have been able to go down this path. And we believe that it’s really just – it’s something that is – it’s transcending the industry because no one else is able to offer t his level of optimization in their toolset.
Jennifer, I really appreciate those comments, and I think that, you know, I think that this – sort of getting this platform to the state that it’s at today is the culmination of a lot of work on a lot of folks’ behalf, some of which the folks at ADP aren’t even aware of. And I really want to give a little bit of a callout to our friends at PEAT that have been really working hard for the last number of years to really bring the level of awareness, and to really raise the level of awareness, to the HR technology and the tools and resources that are used in the workplace insofar as making them accessible.
I remember work – you know, I’m a veteran of better than a dozen HR tech conferences in the last three or four years. I’ve been at that conference with a specific focus on talking to individuals about making their platforms successful, and I can tell you, two, three years ago, there was a lot of confusion and blank stares that I was getting in the space. And I think through the culmination of things like ADP’s strong leadership to really be one of the first HEM platforms to go out there and really build a level of accessibility into their platform and a commitment like they have. The great work that the folks at PEAT have been doing to really spread that level of awareness. As well as many of the really forward-thinking and progressive companies in the marketplace that have begun to demand from their third-party applications that when they renew them or when they buy them, that they need to be made accessible, the level of awareness, dialogue and conversation that were taking place at the HR Technology conference with past October relative to this issue, was significantly greater, significantly better, than anything we’ve had in past HR tech conferences. We had third-party platforms coming up to use and telling us that they are starting to see a significant increase in the number of requirements to make in RFPs and RFIs that they could certify that their platform is accessible. It’s very clear that this is becoming a much growing topic in the world or work and HR technology. And we couldn’t be happier to be partnered with really the most significant player in that space in ADP, who chose to be the leaders and to really drive this topic. I think it goes a long way, and I think from this perspective it’s something that’s really going to grow and expand.
And frankly speaking, you know, ADP chose to be leaders because that’s what they do. But they also understand and recognize that this gives them a real nice competitive advantage in the marketplace so that they don’t have to go back and say, let me talk to my head of technology and see if we can make the platform accessible. When they get that RFP, then they can, with confidence, let them know that they have a highly-accessible and usable platform, and frankly speaking, a significant number of the folks that they are competing against or might want to compete against can’t make that same assertion.
So, you know, the market, I have always said, will drive accessibility and usability. Ultimately if they recognize how it can be a business driver, and I think this is just an incredible example where that has really begun to manifest itself and it’s been really exciting to see. And I do really want to thank the folks at PEAT because I know that this has been their life’s mission for the last number of years. They’ve been working really hard, and I hope that we can look back some day and say that ADP’s venture into this level of accessibility and usability in their platform is one of the cornerstones that we’ll ultimately look back on as one of those lines of demarcation when we really saw this topic take hold in the marketplace.
So, you know, my significant thanks to all the folks at ADP, specifically Jennifer who has worked so hard with us on this. We’re really excited about it. And Jennifer and I will be more than happy to answer any questions that anybody out there might want to ask.
Thank you Dan and Jen, and we’ve got some questions here for you. But I just want to first thank you for the praise. I think it’s very kind. But I don’t know how much PEAT does. Definitely it’s a group effort, but I can’t underscore how exciting it was to walk into HR Tech this year with ADP just being who they are in the market and having their huge booth and having the new platform and demonstrating the accessibility, highlighting the virtual tour. It was so exciting, and as you mentioned, you know, past years people barely know what we were talking about. And to see ADP tackle payroll and time, like we’ve talked to some people that are like, oh, yeah, well we’re working on (inaudible) tracking system. To see them be holistic in it was exciting. To see the product that AudioEye brings that’s not just for a screen reader but for all kinds of abilities and disabilities and taking that into account. When we got the demo on the voice commands and it worked so well, it was just really super exciting. So I know it will always be a demarcation and turning point for me, and I echo your hopes that it is for the broader community and that the leadership that you all are demonstrating will just proliferate throughout the market and we see more of it. So thank you and we look forward to share more of it.
I do want to – we have a link we’re going to put in the Chat box for the video. That’s something that you see Janet mentioned it earlier, so later when you have time and if you have the VR capabilities, I strongly recommend you to check it out. Even if you don’t, it’s pretty cool because you’ll see accessibility highlights and just how broad they go, but the VR is extra special unique. So check that out.
And then we’ll jump in. I see we have one question here. I want to encourage others to use the Chat box for questions for our guests. But if we just start out, Jen or Dan, we’ve got one from Rick that asks how could you implement this for an organization that has over 500 applications that are mostly internally developed. So applications on a technical level I assume.
Yep. So I’ll grab the technology aspect of this question. And I think it’s an important question, and I’m really glad that Rick asked it. Because I think sometimes when you partner with a world-class organization that’s, you know, a global Fortune 50 type company like ADP, which is significant and massive in their scale, I don’t want the perception to be that AudioEye is a platform or a resource that’s designed for large-scale, massive corporate organizations like ADP. We have a really unique ability to deliver accessibility and usability on any platform of any size. One of the really unique aspects, and I think one of the nice benefits about our platform is that if you are using a third-party application from another company where you cannot make any specific changes or alterations to that interface to make your iteration of that technology accessible, we have a really unique way in leveraging and utilizing technology to make that happen. And for any organization, regardless of the size, if you’ve got 100 employees to 100,000 employees, it really doesn’t matter so long as you’re using a web-based technology, we have a means and a mechanism where we can interact with that existing interface and leverage and utilize their technology to not only make it accessible, but also to make it usable just like any – like we’re doing currently with the ADP platform.
I hope that answers your question, Rick.
Thanks, Dan. And if others feel free to jump in there with questions, we’ll circle back to that Chat box in a minute. And Rick says yes, so thank you, Dan.
I was curious on the feedback you’ve gotten so far from clients. I know you’ve launched this on one platform, and there are many that you use, but what are clients saying, how have they adopted to the tool, which features are they using? What have you heard from folks?
Sure. So clients have been incredibly – I would almost say like they’re relieved as soon as they know that it’s there for them. You know, so as we’re going through, whether it’s the sales process, or implementation, you know, and really introducing them to the tool, you know, they’re just like, wow, we don’t even have to kind of think about that after we install your software. Like it’s there already. Like where they are very accustomed to kind of getting third-party applications that may not do a strong job as really interpreting this software.
So that’s been number one. It’s been great feedback on that. And then also like we have a few clients who are really particularly excited about this issue and have a strong commitment to hiring folks who are disabled, and they’ve been just so incredibly positive about that, you know, the business of – it wasn’t why they had chosen to come with us in the first place, but when we started to introduce it to them and as a pilot (inaudible) and etc., they were just incredibly floored by the capability. And they said that it really just makes their job a lot easier in terms of being able to keep those folks engaged. So that’s been some of the feedback there.
There’s a ton of people using it just because they enjoy using it as well. And from an employee perspective – and we do use some of the technology on our Pay Slip. And our Pay Slip actually goes to almost all of our existing employees across millions of the platforms that ADP offers. And with that, you know, we pay today one in six folks in the United States. So it’s a huge population, and we’re seeing it turned on more and more, you know, with you looking at the Pay Slip and understanding where their pay is going and to be able to make changes leveraging the tools.
From a feature perspective, certainly the screen reader has been very popular. But what I think that we’re seeing that’s very interesting is some of the fonts and contrast settings that have been taking off. You know, folks with dyslexia, as Dan mentioned, as well as some of the colorblind capabilities, which really provide additional contrast. So those have been some of the more popular features.
And this is an extension to that –
Just an extension of that, Josh –
We – ADP has a really sizeable customer conference that they run every year. This year it’s going to be held in the month of March out in San Diego where literally thousands of their customers will (inaudible) to interact and see their new technology. We’ll be really excited to be present at that event where we’re going to be spending a significant amount of time really driving the exposure to this platform for those customers. So we’re really hopeful that we’ll continue to get some additional feedback. And if anybody listening on the call has any employee – anyone within their company that’s attending that conference, be sure to let them know, if you are an ADP customer, be sure to let those executives know that based on your interest in accessibility that they can come by and see AudioEye at that event.
Thank you. I want to encourage people – we’ve got another question here, but please use the Chat box if you have any for our guests.
And one says, on the technical side, Dan, so I’ll throw it to you, it just says, I know AudioEye is more than a screen reader, but how does it compare or work with the JAWS application?
Sure, great question, Rick. So in essence there are really two paths that we really travel with our solution set within the digital interface. The first path that we travel is that we remediate, fix, and essentially serve as an interpreter between the third party assistive technology and any existing platform to assure that those third-party applications, whether its JAWS or NDBA or Voiceover, or any other tool or resource that an individual with a disability is using to gain access to a platform so that it works. That is part and parcel and a foundational component of what our solution set does.
Once we have that foundation of accessibility built in and we can assure that a JAWS user or any other assistive technology user can utilize that platform in an unimpeded means, then what we’re able to do is to take our tools and our resources, which are really geared towards the individual that does not rely upon or utilize assistive technologies, we can now deploy those tools on top of that platform of accessibility, if you will, to ensure that those individuals that may not have JAWS, or may not know how to use or have access to Voiceover, that they can use and leverage tools within that experience.
So there’s really two different things that we do. One is really driven towards making a platform accessible. And that our tools are really an additional layer on top of the accessibility, which drive a level of usability. If you’re a JAWS user, and you come to the MYADP platform, and you want to use JAWS within that experience and you don’t want to employ our tools or utilize our tools, you will have no problem. What you will find is that you will have a really good, seamless, easy-to-use interface using your JAWS, or your NDVA, or your Voiceover, or whatever that may be. You never have to deploy those tools. You’ll have a completely fulfilled experience.
Hopefully I was able to answer your question, Rick.
Thanks, Dan. Time for a couple more questions. I was curious, and Dan you can speak to ADP, you talked a little bit about why you all went down this path, but I wonder if you could elaborate a little more even on the internal discussions that might have happened or the motivation for ADP. I know there’s a lot of competing interests, but what in the end kind of made you all decide to make this issue a priority? What were some of the pushes and pulls to get it over the hump? And Dan, if you have experience from other companies in those conversations, we’d be interested too because we’re always looking at business case, and companies that mean well, how do they actually get to do it. So I’m curious how ADP really got there.
I will say, you know, one thing is we had – our Chief Strategy Officer was highly, highly on board with this initiative. And, you know, I really think he was a big driving factor in that. You know, we still always chat about how things are going on a regular basis because he’s so committed to the issue.
And then we were – we talked about our journey a little bit to kind of a leading user experience over the last two years, and I think we’ve done that in a unique way by kind of creating something that, you know, while it’s – that it’s meant to move across different kind of back-end platforms. So it gave us the ability to kind of do the work once to be able to affect a very large amount of the services and offerings that we provide today. So it was honestly a very simple decision, and, you know, for those areas that it’s not transferable to, you know, because we have a ton of different countries that we work with as well who have stand alone software or more of our kind of global area for the multinational corporations, we are now looking at adding this to those products as well. And that’s because this has been a very successful partnership and it was a real no brainer in the first place in bringing it to our new user experience.
What I also think is really interesting is that we are actively looking at making these features available on ADP.com.
Awesome. PEAT definitely applauds that. That would be super cool.
And there’s a little bit of an extension of that, Josh. I think one of the things that I think the two strategy officers, we spoke to them, and many of the product owners within ADP saw as a significant benefit to working with AudioEye is that ADP endeavored to build this really state-of-the-art new user experience that they were building from the ground up, that they really wanted to be a state-of-the-art platform with respect to the UI and the UX and making sure that it really addressed all of the topics who were in the marketplace. And our ability and our capacity to work with them from the beginning stages of the development of that platform were obviously very important.
But one of the other things that I think where they saw that our relationship really would have some significant benefit is that there are literally dozens of legacy platforms that exist within the ADP marketplace, some of which they acquired by acquisition, some of them are home grown, but many of them did not address or build accessibility into their foundation of development years ago when they were built. And one of the really unique aspects of the way in which our technology and our platform works is we can work with them on a brand new platform like the new user experience and help deliver that to an accessible format, or we can come in and work with one of their large global platforms, which was not as successful as they wanted it to be, and in a relatively short period of time, literally weeks, we were able to take a relatively inaccessible platform and make it fully accessible, meeting with the (inaudible) guidelines so that they could go to some of their customers that were specifically asking them to address this as a topic, and be able to deliver that much faster, in a much more efficient way, without having to have their development team go in and completely break the entire infrastructure down to its – basically its base and rebuild it from the ground up.
So that’s one of those other things that we’re able to do.
Thank you, Dan. Thank you for that insight.
So we’ve had a bit of a love fest, which is genuine, talking about all of the great things and how people have gotten this through and look to expand it. But I do want to ask about the challenges, I’m sure this wasn’t easy. Whether they were, you know, structural, or internal, what have been some of the biggest challenges in both maybe developing and designing it and also you’ve spoken to trying to extend it to other platforms or other clients and maybe what are some of those hurdles that you’ve had to deal with to really get this (inaudible).
I think, you know, just driving awareness for the issue at ADP has been an exciting challenge. And as people get more and more excited by it, the more that we show them what has been done, you know, but we really – we have 60,000 employees worldwide, and you want all those folks to be big advocates for all the features that you’re bringing to the table from a product perspective, whether they’re in sales, service, or, you know, really in our own kind of other parts of the organization from a corporate perspective. And, you know, so I think just really building that groundswell has been exciting so that they’re continuing to message that to clients.
But that’s been a great challenge because we get to talk about it, and do really interesting things to showcase it. You know, we did some viewing parties of the video and the virtual reality series to be able to draw more awareness for the issue and what we’ve done about it. As well as like we’ve definitely pulled on Dan quite a bit to come and give presentations to clients as well as our sales and service folks so that they’re really talking confidently about the issue. So that’s been some of the fun challenges I would say.
You know, in terms of really – like I’m not a technologist, so it’s tough for me to talk about some of the programming stuff, so I’m going to ask Dan if he has any thoughts on some of that since he was probably more closely aligned to that area.
Yeah, I think that that’s perfect, and I actually think it kind of aligns interestingly and nicely with the question that was just asked by someone about a popup that was happening on ipay.adp.com. So as we sort of dovetail into this, I think it sort of highlights one of the challenges or one of the issues we have to address, which, frankly speaking, I think is good, right, in that the new user experience at ADP developed from the ground up was brand new and was being developed from the ground up. And our ability to work with them in a fully-integrated fashion to assist them and help them in making that a very accessible and usable platform from the ground up was, I think, an exceptional opportunity and one that we took advantage of.
One of the things that we want to do is we want to make certain that we make the appropriate caveat to the ADP user community out there is that there are dozens and dozens of additional legacy products, platforms and resources that are used within the ADP technology infrastructure. And we have not gone through and applied all of our technology to all of them. So you will find certain aspects and certain components of legacy platforms that exist in the marketplace. They may deliver a popup without a dialogue or without an alt text as to what’s happening. You may find some of those components.
While we want to make certain that we let everybody in the marketplace know that ADP is really taking this significant position of leadership, we have not had enough time to really pull accessibility through all of those legacy platforms. However, this particular platform that we’ve built into is really beginning to be integrated and leveraged, utilized, by more and more of their legacy platforms so that the tools and the accessibility features that we’ve built into that are starting to extrapolate out, touch, interact, and become components of a lot of these other legacy products that are out there.
So if there is a little bit of a challenge, it’s we’ve made a massive, significant, wonderful first step for ADP and we’re really proud about that. We haven’t gotten through to the point where we’ve been able to address the dozens of platforms that are out there, but we are working on it. And ADP has made a commitment that in a few years’ time, that just about anything that you will touch from them that is delivered via a web-based experience will be delivering a level of accessibility and usability that’s unparalleled in the marketplace.
So that is one of those challenges that, you know, we took a really fantastic, great first step, but we haven’t completely gotten everything across the finish line quite yet.
Thank you. And I want to thank Lavonne for bringing that up and holding folks accountable, but also really extend and applaud both ADP and Dan for coming on because at PEAT we oftentimes approach folks that are making gains, but they don’t want to come on because they don’t have everything perfectly. We’re not looking for perfect, we’re looking for progress, and so we appreciate you being able to come on here and speak to the challenges that still exist and the places you want to go. I think that bodes well and it helps (inaudible).
It looks like we’ve got one more question here before we wrap up. It says does AudioEye offer any accessibility features for sighted keyboard users?
Oh, Rosemary, I love your question. Thank you.
Did you pay her, Dan?
Yeah – no, but I will.
So Rosemary, the answer to your question is yes. And this really speaks to the usability features. And I will highlight a couple of URLs, put it in the Chat box. Once this concludes you can go take a look at them. But we have a – what we refer to as a reader mode that you can deploy within our tool set. And what it does is it provides for a sighted user, a number of different resources that enable them to use their keyboard in an effective manner. And not only use your keyboard to navigate through and tab through a site, but really to do things and to effect changes to the way in which the text or the information on the screen is being displayed to you. Things like being able to stretch out the density of a line of text so that it becomes easier. Being able to change the font that you might read that in. There’s a lot of really interesting functionality that that reader mode will provide for you. And I will put a few links to a couple of sites where you can go, you know, the new user experience on ADP, obviously that is behind a login when you’re using it at your employer’s or in your workplace environment, but I’ll provide a means by which where you can go through. And you don’t have to plug anything in, you don’t have to download anything, just within that experience you can deploy that technology, and you can utilize those features that enable you to use it through your keyboard.
Awesome. Thank you, Dan. Thanks for the questions.
I’m going to start to move to next steps, but if anyone has a final question you can throw it in there, and we’ll see if we get time to it.
I want to, first, before we wrap up, announce a couple of other events we have coming up. So on our next PEATTalks, which is Thursday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m., we’re going to have Malcolm Glenn from Uber. So he’ll be discussing the issues of accessible transportation and employment, and the steps that Uber has taken to make their products more accessible for both their employees and their users. So please register and join us for that.
We’re also going to be holding a webinar a week after that, Thursday, March 23 at 2:00 p.m. with Giann Wilde, Accessibility (inaudible). We’ve been doing a series around kind of accessibility to do’s and best practices and tips. And she’s going to be discussing the ever-delicate how to handle the accessibility challenges of PDFs. So we’re pleased to provide that in kind of a series of workshops we’ll be doing.
And you can register for both of these at PEATworks.org.
I’d like to give a real special thanks to both Dan and Jen for speaking with us today. Commend you on the efforts and the progress that you’re making in this area. It’s super exciting to see.
I’ll give a plug that if you folks enjoyed this and weren’t able – know some people that would enjoy it but couldn’t make it, this will be posted in our archives in the coming week or so, so look for it there and please share this with other people who would be interested.
And finally, the PEAT team and folks we hope from ADT and AudioEye will be at (inaudible) presenting about this as well. Really excited to roll out this advance in this progress that ADP is making. I mean, as Jen mentioned, one in six Americans using their product, getting paid through ADP, the more gains they can make can really turn the tide. So we’re just really super excited.
So that means that thanks, thanks everyone for joining us. Thanks Dan, thanks Jen. Unless you all have anything else to add, we’ll wrap it up for the day.
No, thank you so much, Josh. We love our relationship with PEAT. We love the great work that you’re doing and just thrilled to highlight some progress.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having us. Just as a note with the (inaudible), I actually sent a link to the new experience. If a platform is connected, they will be able to see their pay there.
Super cool. Thank you for sharing that. And Dan said that he’s going to put links in there, too. We’ll leave the Chat up for a while in case people want to share resources.
Thanks so much and have a great afternoon everybody. Bye.