The Real Problem with Overlays / Website “Accessibility” Widgets

100% of reputable accessibility professionals are against overlays for accessibility on a website.

And when I speak of overlays I’m referring to the widgets that you could install on a website and that when clicked present an array of supposed accessibility options.

They don’t work. They have never worked. The idea that they actually make a website accessible is asinine.

If you want to know the technical reasons why, if you want to see testimonials from people with disabilities on why these are such failures, why they actually create a worse experience, you can go to, you can go to you can see the digital signatures of literally hundreds of accessibility professionals that are signing off that day are against overlays.

And furthermore, you can go to overlay false This one may be of particular interest to you because it dispels the notion that overlays can prevent litigation overlays are a temporary solution overlays or a stopgap.

They don’t stop complaints I’ve read through numerous complaints some- some of which name overlay specifically and they speak out against them they don’t work they fail in so many regards. Karl Groves has spent so many hours on this work and has done a tremendous job.

So the information is there. It’s not this is not a secret it’s out in the open: overlays fail, they don’t create an accessible experience – at best they might provide some marginal utility.

But the real problem isn’t the overlay itself it can be but that’s not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that overlay vendors tell prospective customers or they indicate to prospective customers that overlays are indeed a solution; that overlays make your website ADA compliant, they make your website WCAG conformant.

Overlay vendors either outright claim that they’ll say it outright it’s just they’ll lie or they will give the impression of such they will give the impression that overlay solve for most of accessibility in that they accomplish all of these things and dramatically improve the accessibility of your website – This is not the case.

Now again I will- I will link to those Karl Groves’ resources in the YouTube description but I’ve gone over this I’ve- I’ve talked about it myself before the purpose of this video is to bring the bigger issue to the forefront.

Scams are pervasive everywhere. We see them on billboards we encounter them regularly. There is deceit bad reviews promises not kept, quality lagging well behind claims scams, deceit, bad products, bad services – nothing new you can find them in almost every industry.

The problem is that people with disabilities are directly harmed by overlays and people with disabilities our marginalized group and when we hear so much about diversity inclusion and people with disabilities are often left out.

And so people with disabilities – this this has been a such a fight to get equal access and to ensure rights and right now within these last five years and in the present has been such a great transition, such an opportune time to make the digital world accessible, to push for accessibility in the digital world.

And the problem is that overlay vendors are subverting that and they are distracting and they are confusing the issue so that now when website owner / operators / controllers are looking for how to make their website accessible, they are met with lies and fraudulent messaging that sends the message that overlays are the answer and they’re not. And everybody knows this in the accessibility industry.

it’s not- this is this is all out in the open and they’re lying and they know it and they know what they’re doing and they don’t care and I think that might be something that surprises people is that it really is that bad.

Like no- the they are outright lying and deceiving to you. It’s not even it’s not even close; it’s just known and that’s what it is.

Overlays don’t work they lie to you and they don’t care. And the problem I have with them  and it’s because the problem I have is that they are directly and knowingly and intentionally harming a group that has been marginalized and ignored for decades – and fighting for their rights.

And it’s truly disgusting to watch- to watch so many websites, so many so many- especially the large organizations fall for this route in this lie and there are so many times that I go to website has an overlay installed and it’s just- and these are these are some large organizations that are installing them.

So it’s not like they couldn’t have researched it and found out that overlays don’t work – maximum 10 minutes of research and you will quickly find out that there are at least it is at least problematic or there at least questions into whether the these purported solutions have any efficacy.

And one- you would think that some of these organizations with I mean just easily- easily the resources necessary to spend a few hours looking into how they want to go about addressing accessibility- that they would.

But they end up installing an overlay widget and really it’s- it’s like it’s you know it’s just showing that they don’t care especially when you go back to that website and you can see that there’s still using that overlay widget and the website still has accessibility issues that haven’t been addressed.

And so it’s not as if- you know I think I would be it be more apt to- more apt to give the benefit of the doubt if I saw that in overlay was installed and then maybe a few weeks later it gets pulled back but you know, I- I know of some websites that I go to and the overlays have been there for months, probably even over a year at times and it just shows that for so many organizations diversity inclusion is a joke.

It’s only what’s popular it’s only about virtue signaling, but it’s not actually about ensuring diversity and inclusion because, if you get an overlay and you don’t and you don’t bother to investigate what it actually means and what it does – and especially for those entities with larger budgets it it it- you can only come to the conclusion that you don’t care.