You’ve got a great website, and you want to add an accessibility overlay so everyone can use it. Great idea! But how does one succeed? What should you do, and what shouldn’t you do? This article will hopefully provide enough knowledge for others to learn from the mistakes that we made when we succeeded in adding an overlay that is polite, informative, and doesn’t drive away users.
Here are some tips that will help you succeed.
· Write Polite Notes. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs to use an overlay to get around accessibility issues on your website. They may be frustrated, annoyed, or just confused about why they are being stopped every time they click a link. Try to provide them with enough information so that they can understand what’s going on while still being polite and not demeaning. If it seems too long, don’t hesitate to cut some parts but try not to lose your message in doing so. Remember that you want users to come back!
· Let Users Choose Not To See The Overlay Again. It’s great for beginners, but if there are people out there who just want to use your website and don’t need the overlay, it’s time to let them know that they can turn it off! It will save them a click and get rid of an annoyance.
· Make The Overlay Transparent! We had some issues with this when we first started, but making the overlay transparent made all of our users happier. If it blocks any content on the page (such as text content or table information), make sure you tell users what they’re missing out on by not allowing them access to this information. You might also want to note which buttons and features they won’t be able to access while using the overlay in case there is something important that must be clicked on before continuing with their task.
What You Shouldn’t Do:
· Don’t Make The Overlay Pop-Up! Abruptly stopping users every time they click a link is not polite, nor it is helpful. It’s better to politely ask them to accept the overlay before allowing them access to the website again (provided that there is no text or table information lost in doing so). This way, your users can choose when they want to read the overlay and when they don’t need it any longer. If you must keep pop-ups for instructional purposes, please make sure they are relevant and non-intrusive. You wouldn’t like having loud videos playing on websites everywhere you go, so why would someone else?
· Don’t Use An Image As An Overlay! This should be a no-brainer, but so many websites do it. It’s not good for accessibility reasons, and it doesn’t look very polite to have an overlay that looks like a giant ad covering your website content.
· Don’t Block All Content On The Page. Sometimes, there is still text or table information that must remain on the page if users are going to complete their tasks properly. Make sure you tell them what they’re missing out on before allowing them to use the website again! If you can, provide alternatives for this kind of information in case users need to access it before continuing with their tasks (such as webcams or audio tools).
To read more on topics like this, check out the technology category.