The world’s first ever accessible search engine has officially launched last week. Built for those with disabilities, the search engine, called accessFind, aims to enhance how the community of 1.5 billion around the world navigate the internet through better representation of accessible websites.
Currently, only 2% of all websites are accessible, making it extremely difficult for those with motor, vision, intellectual, and other impairments to surf the web with success. With accessFind, users will be served search engine results of readily accessible websites, bridging the current digital divide.
accessFind is a consumer-centric non profit initiative lead by accessiBe, the market leader in web accessibility, in partnership with leading disability-focused nonprofit organizations including United Spinal Association, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB), The Viscardi Center, Senspoint, The IMAGE Center of Maryland, Earle Baum Center of the Blind, Determined2Heal, and others.
According to accessFind, this initiative was “built for the community, with the community.” Ahead of the launch, additional NGOs focused on the needs of those with disabilities are invited to join the initiative as founding members and utilize their knowledge and expertise to further shape the accessFind vision.
“I have firsthand experience attempting to navigate the web with a disability, and I spent years feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and behind my peers because I was unable to access the internet to its fullest potential,” said Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer of accessiBe.
At our company, we call this ‘the web accessibility gap’ because most websites simply are not built for people with disabilities. Our intention in building accessFind was to bridge this gap by offering a place that displays only websites that meet our standards of accessibility. accessFind will soon be the new gateway to an inclusive web, hopefully paving the way for a more inclusive world.
accessFind will have over 120,000 accessible websites from launch, but hopes other companies and websites will join the movement. accessiBe lead the charge with accessFind and plans to roll out other initiatives as part of its public roadmap, which includes more education, awareness, and understanding regarding an inclusive internet. Through advanced technologies and services, it hopes to see an accessible internet by 2025.
“We anticipate more and more companies will see the value that comes with being inclusive of all internet users, and accessFind will only encourage these companies to get involved in this groundbreaking initiative,” said Michael Caprara, Chief Information Officer, The Viscardi Center.
If you’re a nonprofit interested in becoming a part of the founding members group or if you’re a website hoping to be included in the new search engine, you can visit accessfind.com for additional information.