Education Technology

How Overlays Can Assist In Making A Website Accessible

Making A Website Accessible

Making A Website Accessible

Overlays are commonly used to make websites more accessible during initial builds or audits after publishing. They are one of the most efficient ways of ensuring that people can use a site regardless of their physical or cognitive ability. Here are some ways they can help.

Color Options

Color and color contrast can have a big impact on the accessibility of a website. High or low contrast can be equally as restrictive to different groups of people. Overlays can incorporate color and contrast controls so that a person can change color formatting at any point if they begin to experience cognition issues.

Text To Speech Options

Text-to-speech controls are commonly incorporated into an overlay pop-up. Text to speech technology – which originated long before the birth of the internet as a reading aid for the visually impaired – can be essential in the creation of an accessible website. The internet will never evolve beyond a reliance upon written text. Visually impaired people are, therefore, put at a distinct disadvantage when attempting to make use of the World Wide Web. Text-to-speech technology can drastically improve the usability of the internet. When text-to-speech controls are incorporated into an overlay pop-up, users can opt to take in text audibly at any point instead of having to choose on a home page when they first visit the site.

Consistent Availability

Overlays can be programmed to remain visible on the screen regardless of where a user navigates. This capability was initially developed as a way of creating (admittedly very annoying) on-screen pop-ups. This overlay fact sheet for you should shed some light on the genesis of this web development innovation. Overlay pop-ups were designed to follow users as they navigated around a site. This same capability can enable people with accessibility needs to access options no matter where they are in the navigation of a website. Some people may only recognize that they need assistance comprehending a website when they reach a particularly complex or poorly designed page. It is important that they are able to find and operate accessibility controls whenever they feel it necessary.

Swift And Efficient Addition Of Accessibility Features

Perhaps the most immediate benefit to incorporating an overlay into a website is related to cost and time efficiency. Most website developers – or people completing accessibility updates of websites that have already been published – only have limited time and money to make their work W3C compliant. Although overlays are not the most complete way of incorporating accessibility features into a site architecture, they are the quickest and most cost-effective way of incorporating these features without changing the overall structure of a site.

There has been some controversy surrounding the overall effectiveness of overlays in the facilitation of accessible websites. Overlays do, however, remain one of the most effective ways of quickly bringing a site up to scratch. They do not have to be temporary solutions. When utilized correctly, they can drastically improve a site’s performance.