Using An Accessibility Overlay On Your Website Is More Important Than You Think

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An accessibility overlay is a great way to provide more information for users of your website who have vision disabilities or other conditions that prevent them from being able to read the text, as well as benefiting website owners in many other ways. Its goal is to provide information for screen readers and other assistive technologies used by people with disabilities – this means providing for blind users, those who use voice recognition software or mobile devices, as well as those who suffer from color-blindness or dyslexia.

An accessibility overlay is a semi-transparent window that sits on top of the website and provides additional information for any elements on the page that have been identified as having an accessibility issue. To best demonstrate this, I will show you a few different ways they can be used.

Accessibility Overlay For Users With Color-Blindness Or Dyslexia

One of the easiest implementations would be to use an overlay for color combinations which make reading problematic for those who suffer from color-blindness (1 in 12 men) or dyslexia (1 in 5 people). By using a little bit of JavaScript, we can detect what colors are being used and apply it to our HTML document – we can then style our overlay to match.

Accessibility Overlay For Users With Low Bandwidth

Another common use case for an accessibility overlay would be to provide additional, helpful content for users depending upon their connection speed if they’ve not already opted into mobile mode (an opt-in is always better than forcing it upon them). By using a bit more JavaScript, we can check the user’s connection speed and then provide our content as needed.

Accessibility Overlay For Users With Screen Readers And Mobile Devices

Even on a website where all the information is available without an overlay, there are sometimes elements that can’t be identified as such by screen readers or mobile devices – for those users. We can build out an accessibility overlay right into the website itself using HTML5 to provide additional information. This can be invaluable when it comes to providing additional context to particularly complex pages.

All of these overlays should also include fallback text for non-assistive technologies in order to ensure that everyone has access to the same amount of content no matter how they view your website. Beyond even one of these overlays, it would be beneficial to provide other “hints” or “shortcuts” for your users using HTML5 markup.

A great example of this is the responsive menus that are now natively supported by Android, allowing anchor tags to display a list of links rather than the full-on menu. This can be done using pure HTML5 markup with little or no need to rely on JavaScript at all – it just requires careful consideration when putting together your website.

Get Creative With Your Accessibility Overlays

Beyond all of these common implementations, the sky is the limit on how you use an accessibility overlay – it could be as simple as explaining what a particular link will do or providing hints on how to interact with your website! By making your website more accessible and giving additional information to those who need it.

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