Overlay Widgets Don’t Use AI for Website Accessibility (Despite Claiming “AI” for Years)

With more people now aware of what AI is and what it can do and its prospects for the future, it’s important to point out how ridiculous and stupid these AI claims by overlay vendors are. Overlay widgets have been portrayed as this cutting-edge revolutionary technology for quite some time, literally years. Many overlay vendors have sold their widgets under this pretense that they use AI technology, although it’s never quite clear what this AI is supposedly doing, maybe beyond low-grade image recognition and poor image recognition at that.

So the idea being that there being some kind of software where it can identify objects in an image and possibly describe those, but as has been covered multiple times, the image recognition software that these overlay widgets are using is quite poor. In many cases, they either describe something insufficiently, it’s way too general, or it’s just completely wrong. So overlay widgets, these vendors, the claims of AI are stupid.

It’s absolutely asinine to think that they’re actually using AI. AI would involve a machine going in and inferring information, synthesizing information, and then giving you actionable steps to take and or taking those actionable steps by itself. So this idea that there needs to be this clunky widget installed where you’re copying and pasting JavaScript, that has nothing to do with anything.

That is only there to sell you something, to make it seem like you’re doing something for accessibility. That is the product that they are packaging to be sold, but it does nothing of what it claims. It’s only rendering superficial adjustments to your website that lay over your website.

And of course, we know that it does not prevent litigation. So if that is your goal, if that is a stopgap, if the idea is that for some people it makes them feel better about accessibility, well, it’s only there for your sense of relief. It doesn’t actually do anything in reality.

It doesn’t make your website more accessible and it doesn’t prevent litigation. But it also doesn’t use AI because if it did use AI, then you would have the ability, so it wouldn’t be the widget involved. AI usage would encompass someone going in and using AI to find, so to audit for accessibility, and then finding more accessibility issues than can be found in an automated scan.

And then when it comes to remediation, possibly in the future, where the artificial intelligence could go in, inspect the code, and determine accessibility issues that were present in the code, and then remediate those based on accessible code. So we’re not there yet. We’re working towards it.

But the point is that accessibility widgets are not the ones. They’re not it. They’re not AI. They never have been.

They don’t use AI. It’s ridiculous. And we see claims from multiple vendors that they’re using AI. AI would not, there would be no widget that you have to install on your website.

That’s not what AI is. And so I think it’s worth pointing that out because for so long, these overlay widgets have been claimed, they’ve been marketed as something that’s revolutionary, and they’re not at all.