Accessibility is one of the modern pillars upon which every online business should stand. Without an accessible website, a business is instantly significantly limiting the number of customers that can access their site, reducing the potential client base they have, and inadvertently excluding a range of people from their site.
As accessibility has become a more visible issue, with more people openly discussing their own disabilities and the media paying attention to lawsuits that surround inaccessible websites, a range of tools have developed that make creating an accessible website easier than ever.
These tools are known as web accessibility overlays. In this article, we’ll be breaking down exactly what a web accessibility overlay is and discussing the top benefits that your business can expect to receive when you install one onto your site.
Let’s get right into it!
What are Web Accessibility Overlays?
A web accessibility overlay is an application that lies on top of your website, adjusting for accessibility without changing the source code.
With certain overlays, a widget may be available where users can make adjustments that are specific to their needs, including these options:
- Arrows – Arrows will present themselves on each page of your site, pointing toward small objects. For users that might not have the hand accuracy to click on a small link, these will provide a larger surface area to navigate through.
- Color Contrast Options – Visual impairments are one of the largest disabilities that impact people around the globe. By presenting color contrast options on your site, your website will have a range of different options that can be clicked on to get around any visual impairment.
- Keyboard Only Movement – Those that don’t have access to the use of a mouse will be able to use keyboard only movement to navigate around your website without issue.
- Text Size Increase – With a click of this button, you’ll be able to increase the size of the text on all of your pages. Doing this will allow people to read your copy more easily, ensuring that everyone can navigate your site, no matter their visual abilities.
- Text to Speech – Turning text into speech is an instant change that can make your site accessible for hard-of-sight individuals. Instead of being shut out of the internet, you’ll instantly be able to turn your copy into the spoken word, which will be read to them.
As you can see, accessibility overlays come in all shapes and sizes, providing a range of options and helping users to navigate your site with ease.
Top Benefits of Using a Web Accessibility Overlay
Disability impacts people all around the globe, with 61 million adults in the United States living with some form of disability. Without statistics like these, you may not have been aware of the extent that accessibility options are vital on the internet.
There are a range of benefits to constructing a website that is accessible, with a web accessibility overlay being the easiest way of doing so. Let’s break down some of these top benefits:
- Business benefits
- Simplify the job for developers
- Instant accessibility access for users
Let’s break these down further.
A web accessibility overlay accommodates the majority of accessibility issues that a website is likely to face. This is a great stepping stone to achieving ADA compliance. And is a good stepping stone to achieving compliance with the WCAG 2 accessibility guidelines.
As a modern business that has a website, you’re liable to create an accessible space online. If your website isn’t accessible, you can be sued by anyone that accesses that page, with this becoming more and more prominent across the US.
Additionally, alongside avoiding being sued, by implementing accessibility overlays into your site, you’ll be allowing millions more users to get onto your website. If you’re a business, this is potentially millions more customers that could see your products, learn more through your site, and commit to purchasing.
While perhaps the least morally right of all the benefits, business owners cannot overlook the fact that creating an accessible site will help their sales and reduce the likelihood that they receive a lawsuit.
Simply The Job for Developers
Creating an accessible website from scratch is no easy task. Especially when a developer hasn’t created an accessible site before, there are lots of smaller aspects to consider and code into the pages. They’ll have to closely follow the WCAG Guidelines, which aren’t always the clearest to breakdown.
A web accessibility overlay simplifies this process incredibly, allowing a developer to simply install the toolkit onto the site and have the majority of work done for them.
The most important reason to use these overlays is that they ensure millions of users can access your site without an issue. Websites should not be exclusive, with a lack of accessibility leading to some users being completely left out of the conversation.
Using these overlays is the easiest way that you can almost instantly make your site a more fair digital location, welcoming everyone by accommodating any accessibility problem they may run into. While business reasons are why many choose to adopt these tools, it’s also simply the right thing to do.
When deciding between excluding potentially millions of users or simply integrating a tool – the decision looks fairly obvious.
Implementing a web accessibility overlay is one of the easiest ways that you can radically increase how accessible your website is. No matter if you’re just getting started on optimizing your site or are already a pro, these tools are an essential addition to any website.
By ensuring your site is accessible, you’ll be complying with US laws, boosting your potential customer base, and ensuring a fair and accessible digital world for everyone.
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