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Accessibility Overlays: A Cautionary Tale


(Dawn E. Collett) Sources:

'Add this one line of code to your website to avoid being sued!'

If you think that that statement sounds like a particularly obnoxious ad, or that it must be too good to be true, you're not alone. However, over the past several years, a number of companies popped up with products which claimed to do just that. Their solutions were marketed as a quick and easy way to satisfy legislative requirements, and best of all, ensure that your website would be accessible to anyone, anywhere.

And then the lawsuits started.

Welcome to the world of accessibility overlays. According to their creators, they're plug-and-play software which remediates accessibility issues on your website, bringing you into compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and disability access laws instantly. However, if you ask the disabled people who should be reaping the benefits, the answer seems paradoxical: accessibility overlays actually make websites less usable for them.

Why is that? And how did we get to a point where the most prominently advertised solutions for software accessibility make the problem worse? Let's examine this cautionary tale, and find out what it can teach us about both accessibility and the principles of good design.

python, pycon, australia, programming, conference, technical, pyconline, developers, panel, sessions, libraries, frameworks, community, sysadmins, students, education, data, science

Videos licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

PyCon AU is the national conference for the Python programming community, bringing together professional, student and enthusiast developers, sysadmins and operations folk, students, educators, scientists, statisticians, and many others besides, all with a love for working with Python.

PyCon AU informs the country’s Python developers with presentations, tutorials and panel sessions by experts and core developers of Python, as well as the libraries and frameworks that they rely on.

Produced by Next Day Video Australia:

Fri Sep 10 17:00:00 2021 at DevOops

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