Limitations of Accessible Overlay Solutions

Disabled access is a growing conversation, especially when it comes to software and technology. Many companies have turned to website overlay solutions to make their digital content accessible. More often than not, however, overlays do not fix the problem and people with disabilities still face challenges navigating an overlay on a site. This is not a solution; it’s an antiquated attempt to consider accessibility without really doing so. It’s also no guarantee against an ADA lawsuit.

What is an accessible overlay solution?

An accessible overlay solution is an automated software that acts as a layer between assistive technology and a website. This is a cheap solution because companies do not have to change the overall source code, which saves time and money. As an added layer to a website, an overlay will only address some accessibility issues, mostly the easy stuff. Any fixes that do happen only apply to the overlay layer, and a user has to find a button before they can even use this mode.

Four reasons why overlays are a problem:

  • Promotes a separate but equal approach—overlays do not allow people with disabilities to access a site in the same way as non-disabled peers.
  • May repair some specific experiences but don’t account for issues with the actual site. This may leave simple issues such as unlabeled controls and images presented in a way that is difficult for the user to understand.
  • Users can’t obtain access to important information because overlays often require them to learn different technology that does not meet their needs.
  • It provides an inferior fix—more and more companies are facing legal suits because of lacking accessibility. Since overlays fail to provide all information on the regular site, they are not an equal solution.

It’s crucial that companies provide equal experiences for all consumers. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) must be followed, and the best way to ensure this is to rely on accessibility consultants with a foundational understanding of accessibility and WCAG.

As a consulting company, Outlook Business Solutions can run audits on your site. We can give feedback and repair issues.

Access to information is important for all people, disabled and nondisabled alike. Reach out to Outlook Business Solutions today to ensure your website can be used by everyone.