Most people think of accessibility in terms of making sure that all website visitors can access the same information in the same way. However, there are a number of benefits to adding an accessibility overlay to your website, even if it is already accessible. In this article, we will explore some of those benefits.
What is an accessibility overlay?
An accessibility overlay is a software program that runs over your website. It works with the most popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera, to provide information about how well your website is accessible for people with disabilities.
Why should I use an accessibility overlay?
There are four main reasons why it is advantageous to use an accessibility overlay.
1 – It gives you access to information about your website that is not available via standard web browsers. A common example of this is the percentage of images on a page that have an ALT text label associated with them, which are often overlooked by site owners and designers alike. Not having an image ALT label will result in your site failing the Google test for image indexing. The same is true of many other website characteristics – such as page titles and headings, which are essential to Google search engine ranking.
2 – By scanning through the accessibility overlay results and discovering ways to improve your website’s content or layout, you will end up with a better site for all web users, including those with disabilities.
3 – By using an accessibility overlay to scan through your website, you will discover any broken links that could prevent visitors from successfully reaching your site or parts of it.
4 – An accessibility overlay is also useful for checking the functionality of social media sharing buttons and any other third-party plugins.
How do I use an accessibility overlay?
Using an accessibility overlay is a fairly easy process, with a number of free tools available online.
Some of the most popular tools include the aXe Chrome plugin, aCodePen, aXe Safari Extension, and WAVE Chrome extension. To use any of these tools, you need to download them from the website, available for free. Once downloaded, you can run them as an overlay on your website by clicking on the appropriate icon, which will then appear in your browser toolbar.
Why isn’t my website already accessible?
Despite the many benefits of an accessibility overlay, only about 23% of websites are made with accessibility in mind and therefore do not need to be checked by an overlay. There are a number of factors that contribute to this situation.
This is partly due to the lack of public awareness of accessibility. Many people simply do not know what it involves and how it affects the way they use websites. There is also a lack of education in schools and universities about web standards, which means that students have little or no knowledge of how to create accessible websites from the outset. However, by utilizing the tools outlined in this article, you can easily make your site accessible.