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Jorge Pacheco
November 10, 2021

Overlays are not enough to ensure Web Accessibility



Hi, My name is Jorge Pacheco. Today we'll talk about overlays that supposedly add instant accessibility to your website.

Overlays as a single solution for accessibility is more a misconception among business owners and executives as the consensus in the Accessibility community is almost unanimous: overlays don't work... or at least, they don't fully work.

Let's start defining what is an overlay. An overlay is a mainstream term for automated technologies that try to improve the accessibility of a website. It may come in the form of a plug-in, add-on libraries, toolbars or widgets... These solutions are really tempting because they are offered at a very affordable price and can be installed on your site with just a single line of JavaScript.

But one line of JavaScript does not make a website 100% accessible. Business owners normally think that an overlay will function like a magic wand that fixes everything. Unfortunately, these overlays act more as a band-aid and don't have much impact on accessibility because most of the end-users that could take advantage of the overlay functionalities will already have the necessary features on their computer, either as a built-in feature or as an additional piece of software that the user needs to access not only the Web but all software.

Also, have in mind that overlays do not repair content in Java, Silverlight, PDF, HTML5, CSS or media files.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for Web Accessibility. And that's exactly what overlays try to be. I understand that the use of an overlay may improve compliance with a handful of provisions, however, full compliance cannot be achieved with an overlay.

I believe that overlays can be used as a tool on top of your remediation efforts done directly on the code. But, even though things may change with overlays as time moves on, currently, they aren't a solution to make your website accessible. This means that an overlay can't mitigate the legal risk.

Check if your website has accessibility issues at ada.kulturekonnect.com.

Whether you’re brand-new to accessibility or a compliance expert, this report will save you  time and money! Scan your site now!

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