The accessibility product market is flush with new overlays, each making newer, bolder, more bogus claims than the last, all while basically providing poor “fixes” and a UI widget that does nothing more than what users with disabilities already have on their computers.
Accessibility as a Service
Accessibility overlays have existed on the market since at least around 2004. Companies such as Readspeaker offered products that displayed a widget on customers’ websites that were best described as “add-on assistive technologies”. The primary feature offered by such products was the ability to read the page content aloud to a website’s users.
Today, via Facebook’s “Memories” feature, my good friend and mentor Mike Paciello shared this tweet from Steve Faulkner:
As I write this, 97% of the US population is under stay-at-home orders, which means that unless a person is an essential employee or performing an essential function, they must stay home. All 50 states are in a State of Emergency. The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has been massive. Consumer spending is down and unemployment is the highest it has been since the Great Depression. Among the hardest hit businesses are restaurants and bars. In March, the National Restaurant Association predicted between 5 and 7 million jobs would be lost. That number represents around 40% of the jobs in that sector. The downturn will most certainly mean the closure of massive numbers of restaurants and bars. Industry magazine QSR estimates that 11% of restaurants will shut their doors in April alone.
During one of our recent sales meetings, one of our sales staff informed me that one of his customers had asked us to create an accessibility statement that they could put on their website. So, I wrote this post to document my thoughts along the way.