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  • Writer's pictureDung Claire Tran

Why not "Just an Overlay"? ​🧐

TruAbilities, Poloda AI, Bakh Fix,... You may have heard about them all. These accessibility overlays are tools to address some accessibility needs, but not necessarily improve the underlying structure of website code.

But first, what is an Accessibility Overlay?

Overlays are a broad term for technologies that aim to improve the accessibility of a website. They apply third-party source code (typically JavaScript) to make improvements to the front-end code of the website. These changes only occur on site elements at the browser level, without changing any of the underlying code.

Accessibility overlays may not be the optimal solution for end users

Sounds Good! So What's All the Fuss About?

Some overlay products contain widgets which present a series of controls that modify the presentation of the page they're on. Depending on the product, those changes may do things like change the page contrast, enlarge the size of the page's text, or perform other changes to the page that are intended to improve the experience for users with disabilities.

To laypersons, these features may seem beneficial, but their practical value is largely overstated because the end users that these features claim to serve will already have the necessary features on their computer, either as a built-in feature or as an additional piece of software that the user needs to access not only the Web but all software.

Here are the main issues:

Overlays Only Detect 20 to 30 Percent of All Accessibility Problems

This leaves a staggering 70 to 80 percent of potential site issues undetected, such as:

  • Video captioning

  • Identifying text images

  • Unclear hyperlink text

  • Error prevention

  • Error suggestions

  • Incorrect heading structure

  • …and more.

Overlays Can Not Address All Errors

The coding part of accessibility is precisely what ensures that a website is transformed into an inclusive experience for all users. Even overlay features that claim to fix color contrast and missing text, only accomplish this to a certain degree.

What’s more? Overlays do not address functionalities such as audio and visual content, or documents. They also cannot caption videos or offer adjustments to media, nor can they make documents like PDFs and slides accessible.

Overlays Impact Site Performance and User Experience (In a Bad Way)

As third-party code, overlays are notorious for boggling up the works of site pages, making pages sluggish, messing with the interface, and in general affecting the overall user experience. Finally, overlays themselves are sometimes inaccessible to users to help them use the necessary controls to make the websites accessible.

OK! Then What Makes The Rayo Browser Different?

First off, Rayo is a browser - This means that we are reimaging the browsing experience from the ground up to create an inclusive experience for everyone with salient features, such as:

  • making visual content like PDFs and slides more accessible

  • summarizing complex web layout

  • suggesting navigation

  • so on and so forth.

And all the above are totally possible with AI technologies! If you are interested to find out more, sign up on our Beta wait list 😉


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