Your Quick Guide to Accessibility Overlays and How They Help You Reach ADA Compliance

Your Quick Guide to Accessibility Overlays and How They Help You Reach ADA Compliance

Read on to learn more about accessibility overlays and how these can help you reach ADA compliance.

Ensuring all your website visitors can see, understand, navigate, and use your site conveniently is crucial to providing accessible and seamless user experiences. 

Plus, running an accessible website helps ensure you comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other web accessibility standards, protecting your business from accessibility-related lawsuits. 

Manually making your website accessible can be costly and time-consuming, as it requires the right expertise to change the code that defines your site’s presentation and structure. 

A more affordable and feasible solution for small businesses is to use accessibility overlays. 

Read on to learn more about accessibility overlays and how these can help you reach ADA compliance.   

Accessibility overlay: What is it?

From a 30,000 feet perspective, accessibility overlays are (often JavaScript) plugin widgets or tools used to apply common accessibility adjustments in real time automatically. 

The overlays can also display crucial options to work around common web page accessibility issues such as text sizing, color contrast, and font and content adjustments. 

Essentially, accessibility overlays refer to automated apps and coding that sit between your website or digital content and assistive technologies. 

Overlays are not separate websites, but tool sets within your site that tailor the interface to the user’s preference to make it more accessible without modifying the source code. 

The overlay technology works by spotting critical accessibility issues automatically and adjusting the web page’s code (but not your website’s source code) using a snippet. 

Accessibility overlays provide panels with multiple customization options, such as content font color and size adjustments.

Website users can enable the overlay to view the customization settings and make their preferred adjustments accordingly.

4 Benefits of using accessibility overlays

Using accessibility overlay technologies offers several advantages. 

1. Allows instant web accessibility while using fewer resources

When implemented correctly, accessibility overlays can help you shorten the process of incorporating accessibility guidelines into your website. 

You won’t need to code every aspect and element related to your site’s interface to make them accessible. 

You can insert a JavaScript code snippet and allow your accessibility overlay technology to make your website’s interface and, in turn, the user experience accessible.

The process can take a few hours or days, depending on your specific accessibility overlay solution.   

2. Lets you see the business benefits faster

Overlays can help make your website accessible faster, allowing you to reap the benefits this brings in within a shorter time. 

For example, since overlays can work within a few hours or days upon installation, you can quickly provide a more accessible website. You can make your site available to wider audiences faster, including people with disabilities. 

That said, the faster you can make your website accessible, the quicker you can see your potential returns. 

3. Streamlines the work of developers

Using accessibility overlays can help simplify your in-house or outsourced web developer’s work. 

Overlays can allow automatic website interface adjustments, so developers won’t need to hand-code everything. Accessibility overlays can take some weight off your developer’s workload, freeing up time and energy. 

Developers can focus a chunk of their work hours and efforts on the more complex aspects of making your website accessible, including designing a more functional site for your business. They can also pay closer attention to your website needs.    

4. Cost-efficient for small businesses

Running a full website audit and redesigning (or even rebuilding) your website to improve its accessibility and getting you closer to ADA compliance takes a lot of time and resources. 

If you’re a small business or startup, you can lower the strain on your budget by using accessibility overlays on top of using other, more advanced solutions (when your resources allow for it). 

The overlays can help you meet some levels of the accessibility standards and the ADA requirements.

As such, overlay technologies can help reduce the money and resources required to make your website accessible and inclusive (to an extent). 

Choosing the best-fitting accessibility overlay for your website

There are many accessibility overlays on the market, but you need to find the technology that best fits your needs and budget. 

It should help you meet some levels of the accessibility standards and help you reach ADA compliance, while providing equal access to users and improving your website’s customer experience.

Also, not all accessibility overlays are the same. Overlay technologies can offer various levels of effectiveness and specific tool sets. 

To ensure your website accessibility features will help you comply with the ADA and other web accessibility standards, your best bet is to use a comprehensive accessibility solution.

Opt for accessibility solutions with powerful and advanced capabilities such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

AI-based accessibility solutions can understand your site’s architecture and context to implement the required accessibility guidelines consistently. 

AI-powered technologies can also automate critical aspects of your web accessibility processes, eliminating costly and time-consuming manual coding and site adjustments. 

Leverage overlays to improve your web accessibility

Using accessibility overlays is a great way to kick-start your efforts into making your website accessible and compliant. 

Find accessibility overlays that help support your initiatives to reach ADA compliance, provide equal access to users regardless of their specific disabilities, and improve your website’s user experience.

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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