Crownpeak and ilumino logos in lockup format.

Crownpeak, a digital experience platform (DXP), has just announced a strategic partnership with ilumino, a digital accessibility services and consulting firm. The two companies will offer an integrated solution that helps improve digital experiences for users with disabilities while evolving accessibility strategies for organizations.

The “Crownpeak + ilumino” solution combines Crownpeak’s automated accessibility scanning technology with ilumino’s deep subject matter expertise in online accessibility. It also addresses a key gap that exists with many CMS and DXP platforms: access to human-powered testing and remediation.

While the announcement was made today, the joint solution is already in use by several billion-dollar corporations, including a tech-enabled business services firm, a major U.S. insurance company, and a global top 10 consumer packaged goods company that operates in 190 countries and has hundreds of brands.

The growing demand for digital accessibility

With more than 1 billion people worldwide living with some form of disability, it’s more important than ever for organizations to deliver inclusive digital experiences. This need has been elevated during the Covid-19 pandemic as more consumers turned to digital channels to connect and transact. Accessibility is now a key imperative for brands, requiring websites and apps to accommodate for users with vision, hearing, mobility, cognitive, and other disabilities.

Crownpeak’s Digital Quality Management (DQM) technology represents a deeper investment from CMS and DXP platforms around digital equality. With these types of built-in scanning resources, organizations can deliver consistent digital experiences across an expanding array of digital touchpoints, from websites to mobile apps to the Internet of Things (IoT).

But as is often the case, technology is not enough. In fact, many tools require manual human insight to identify false positives and whitelist contextual issues. There are also a myriad of governance and compliance issues that limit the ability of any tool to solve problems on its own.

Crownpeak also says that most organizations take a “disjointed approach” to their accessibility. While content teams might adhere to standards and best practices – including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) or Section 508 – they depend on basic browser plug-ins and third-party testers to generate one-time reports. This reflects a limited focus on remediation versus a long-term strategy around accessibility and content quality.

The Crownpeak + ilumino Solution

Together, Crownpeak and ilumino offer a single, integrated approach that evolves the accessibility model. The solution combines Crownpeak’s DQM technology, providing automated and ongoing scanning and auditing against WCAG guidelines, with ilumino’s expert services – which focuses on nurturing a company’s “culture of accessibility.” ilumino also brings a seasoned practice around accessibility planning and strategy, so customers can unlock the value of their investment while meeting critical compliance benchmarks.

“All too often, when it comes to accessibility testing, companies receive ‘one-and-done’ reports on violations – with no real consideration of the company’s technical resources or its ability to actually act on the findings,” said Mark Reardon, CEO at ilumino. “So benefits achieved are often just temporary. Crownpeak + ilumino offers a better solution and, importantly, a path toward continual compliance. Our partnership combines the scalability of Crownpeak's software platform with our expert manual consulting services. Together, we offer organizations a global solution for their digital monitoring and compliance needs – all within the unique confines of their established branding and marketing, and all aimed at providing more inclusive digital experiences.”

By combining the speed and power of Crownpeak’s tools with the essential human side of ilumino’s accessibility testing and consulting, the partnership delivers a more complete solution for advancing digital accessibility. Additionally, the pairing brings best-of-breed capabilities to content operations, enabling teams to deliver more accessible user experiences while maintaining cohesive brand guidelines and business practices.

“Making the web more accessible to all is an imperative everyone can agree on – but challenges related to cost, complexity and knowledge gaps often hold companies back,” said Chris Sigala, general manager of Crownpeak’s Digital Quality Management business. “Crownpeak + ilumino resolves these issues. We’re encouraged by the results we’ve seen from the partnership in a relatively short amount of time – as large organizations are realizing immense value and impact by leveraging the strengths of both organizations in powering their digital accessibility programs.”

Key features

Some noteworthy highlights of the Crownpeak + ilumino solution include:

  • Accessibility and compliance dashboard – providing a “single-source of truth” for automated and manual accessibility monitoring
  • Automated site scanning (enriched by manual testing) – enterprise-grade, multi-site scanning technology
  • Manual testing and consulting – performed by certified accessibility experts
  • In-house or guided remediation – tailored to each organization’s unique design and development workflows
  • Ongoing support – ensuring sustained compliance through a proactive approach
  • Accessibility pattern library – simplifying remediation and establishing long-term organizational assets
  • Litigation support – with expert review and consulting on any accessibility-related legal actions received
  • Accessibility statement – drafted to demonstrate an organization’s commitment to digital inclusion
  • Enterprise strategy – assisting with a prioritized roadmap and risk management

What’s next for accessibility?

The partnership between Crownpeak and ilumino crystallizes the importance of digital equality for organizations, but it also represents a more evolved approach to accessibility. While meeting WCAG, ADA and AODA can help businesses mitigate risk and avoid lawsuits, we need a deeper understanding of what accessibility means to a diverse audience of consumers. Further, CMS and DXP platforms will require continuous investment in their “accessibility readiness” – and for now, that requires a balance of human support and insight.

That said, the accessibility landscape continues to shift. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, it made no mention of websites or mobile apps. No one could have predicted their future ubiquity or importance, but the omission continues to plague the legal system. Despite having a working draft of the W3C’s WCAG 3.0 guidelines, the U.S. courts (among others) haven’t adopted clear laws or policies when it comes to digital accessibility.

In fact, this week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a 2017 trial-court ruling against Winn-Dixie stores by a visually-impaired customer, concluding that their websites were not a “public accommodation” as the ADA defines the term. The ruling succeeds at creating further confusion, which is precisely why expertise from consultants like ilumino is so essential.

If you're interested in learning more, Crownpeak and ilumino will discuss their partnership during a webinar, “Getting Started on Your Digital Accessibility Journey, on May 19, at 11 a.m. ET, where they will provide practical, actionable steps for creating and executing an effective digital accessibility program.

About ilumino

POWERING DIGITAL INCLUSION. ilumino is a digital accessibility company driven by a passion to help create a more inclusive online world through compliant technology that everyone can enjoy. A user-focused approach makes the accessibility of websites, software or mobile applications, documents, and digital platforms straightforward, scalable, and complementary of established branding. Custom solutions and expert services render lasting results by focusing on usability as well as compliance. For more information, please visit www.ilumino.co.

About Crownpeak

Crownpeak provides the leading digital experience platform. The industry’s only true SaaS-based solution, Crownpeak offers best-in-breed capabilities that empower companies to create, deploy and optimize omnichannel digital experiences – faster and easier than ever, and with zero infrastructure to maintain. Crownpeak also provides built-in solutions for digital governance and digital quality management. Relied on by the world’s top brands, these solutions make it easy for organizations to address WCAG and ADA accessibility compliance across their digital properties – while improving SEO, reducing bounce rates, increasing brand equity, and enhancing user experiences. With Crownpeak, companies can deliver high-impact, trust-building, accessible experiences at scale – improving engagement, loyalty and revenue. For more information, please visit www.crownpeak.com.