Accessibility overlays are a type of website technology designed to help people with disabilities use the web. An accessibility overlay does this by adding features such as alternative text descriptions, captions, and audio output for sites that do not have these features built-in.
In many cases, they can make a site more usable without changing anything. They also work well on any device, including mobile phones and tablets. You may be wondering what accessibility overlays are and how they work – read on to find out all about them.
What Are Accessibility Overlays?
An overlay is a feature on a website that provides an additional function to assist people with disabilities. A common example of this occurs on many online maps and navigation tools. Rather than just showing the map, overlays can include information such as:
- The business hours for nearby places
- What footpaths are nearby
- How to get to the nearest public transport station
- What other points of interest are nearby, such as cafes or tourist attractions
This additional information can be incredibly useful for people with disabilities. For example, someone who only uses one arm may often need help accessing certain facilities. Knowing that there is a disabled restroom nearby can be a boon.
Several different types of accessibility overlay are available, including images, text boxes, videos, and audio descriptions. All of these work in different ways to provide information about the site or page where they are located. Overlays can even include links to further relevant information, allowing users to find out more if required.
People with disabilities will often use accessibility overlays when trying out a new website or navigating their office desktop computer. This is because many websites have not been designed with everyone in mind – some companies may have just created sites that meet specific requirements rather than considering all people who may use them. Unfortunately, these sites can make people with disabilities feel frustrated and less likely to return – especially considering how important customer feedback is to online businesses.
Even if your site is accessible and easy to use, most overlay tools can be used without affecting the way the site works. This means that they are a good choice for companies who may want their website’s usual look and style to remain unchanged. However, in many cases, this also means that overlays will not suit every type of website, as they need to have a specific function or task to work effectively.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Accessibility Overlays?
There are several benefits that an overlay tool can provide for people with disabilities:
- People with disabilities can access information more easily – they don’t have to find it on a cluttered page, as the overlay presents everything they need right there and then on the same page.
- When people use sites with an overlay, they also see less of the actual site itself – this means that others who are nearby can still see what is on the screen. This can be useful if someone wants to demonstrate some information or content to a friend or colleague without having it seen by everyone else nearby.
Overlays can be used as a learning tool by individuals who want to practice using new websites at their own pace and in their own time. Rather than needing specific training sessions which only happen during working hours, people can access overlays from any computer connected to the internet and do so whenever they please.