1. Jakob

    Nice article, thanks Sarah

    So as Joe Dolson has signed the document, I can assume that I do nothing wrong having his plugin “WP Accessibility” installed?



    • Joe Dolson

      WP Accessibility does act as an overlay, but only in very WordPress-specific ways, and they’re only applied if the problem is definitely there. That said, WP Accessibility should be treated as a stopgap; if it’s fixing problems on your site, the ideal path is to fix the problems.

      WP Accessibility is definitely not an overlay that should cause accessibility problems (although I won’t claim it’s impossible), but accessibility is best fixed at the source, and there are a lot of things WP Accessibility does that fix problems after the fact, like an overlay.


  2. Guido

    So why are plugins such as AccessiBe still listed at wp dot org?


  3. Ryan Bradford

    One issue that’s driving the popularity of programs like this is CA rulings allowing companies to be sued for damages for the lack of accessibility. Companies are either having to use expensive services to analyze their sites for compliance or potentially be sued by bad actors. The overall goal really should be for individuals to provide accessibility feedback to companies, allow companies to implement changes, and only allow further actions against those who don’t take the necessary actions to resolve issues. Damages for individuals should never be involved if the ultimate goal is for an individual to seek for accessibility


    • Ruth

      Agree but unfortunately many companies still don’t want to foot the added expense of becoming compliant unless legality is involved. Many talk a good talk until the numbers are shown and ironically it’s often the large organizations. Agree there are ambulance chasers out there that make accessibility in general as our note to some. Unfortunate situation.


      • Jaeson

        no offense, but there are MANY sue happy persons with disabilities. While applaud the community for trying to make websites and building and whatnot accessible, being sue-happy just makes business owners poor and angry. There needs to be a way to ask to change things without the threat of a lawsuit. Some people end up going out of business due to this kind of nonsense. How does that benefit anyone? It doesn’t!


  4. John Crenner

    Irresponsibly and HORRIBLY written article on such an important topic!! The article correctly mentions the importance of accessibility and positions that accessibility should be baked into the website itself, but yet the article focuses only on the shortcomings of overlays vs actually proposing real, actionable solutions for web developers.

    Accessibility is a real problem that must be addressed – correctly. But we will never resolve the problem by irresponsibly publishing woefully incomplete articles that offer no solutions or alternatives to the current poor practice of overlays.



  5. Brent

    The article doesn’t give solutions because the alternative to an automated solution is a manual one. For most website owners that means every time they put up a new page, they have to pay their dev to make sure the page follows all the rules. And it’s not just when they add content, just editing the layout of a page can kill compliance.

    To compound the problem, as Ryan Bradford pointed out, the rash of ADA compliance law suits by bad actors is skyrocketing. Business owners have to protect themselves as best they can.

    It’s also fairly important to point out that users had issues with certain websites, not all websites that use this type of overlay technology. Garbage in, garbage out. Most websites using these services don’t have the issues mentioned here. The sites that do have issues should be reported to the site owner or to the service provider so they can fix the issues.

    These services are not going away unless someone figures out a batter way to automate the process. Better to help fix the issues they have and make the UX better on those sites than to try to kill the services themselves.


  6. Val

    For all of the commenters doom posting that accessibility is so hard and expensive or that heaven forbid, this article expect web developers be able to Google and figure out topics on their own, there are plenty of resources!

    Deque is world class in the a11y space, here is their open source library to run tests! https://github.com/dequelabs/axe-core
    Even easier, Lighthouse is a usability tool in Google Dev Tools built on top of it, with lots of actionable accessibility audits! https://web.dev/accessibility-scoring/
    The w3 has a bunch of specs on web accessibility! https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/

    This is all very doable if you just put in the time.


  7. Bev Willis

    Please provide the names of the companies that we can use to be ADA compliant.


  8. Kate

    Yes, AudioEye uses an AI overlay, but its services is ALSO couples with a team of certified experts to help webmasters manually fix accessibility issues that need a human’s touch. They announced this change earlier this year https://audioeye.com


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