Most people with disabilities can use the Internet, but some need a little help. That’s where accessibility overlay tools come in. They are designed to make websites more accessible for people with disabilities by adding features that help them navigate and interact with web pages. An accessibility overlay tool is a browser extension that you can use to customize the way your browser displays and interacts with webpages.
An accessibility overlay tool acts as a secondary browser on top of your regular one. It works by intercepting all page requests from your main browser and applying its own rules on how they should be displayed or interacted with. In some cases, the browser extension will change the way certain page elements are displayed or how they behave. This makes it easier for users with disabilities to interact with and navigate web pages.
In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the best accessibility overlay tools available and how they can be used to improve your browsing experience:
- JAWS Browser Companion
Jaws is a popular screen reader used by millions of blind people worldwide. The companion app for computers, called Jaws Companion, lets you control your browser using the computer keyboard instead of a mouse. It also changes some advanced settings on websites to be more easily navigated with a keyboard.
Jaws is free for 30 days and can be installed as a standalone app or a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.
- The Color Filter Accessibility Extension
The Color Filter helps people with color-blindness by adding an option to the right-click menu that enables you to adjust the colors of any webpage. This lets you see the colors on a page more accurately to differentiate between them without any problems.
- Color Enhancer
Color Enhancer is an accessibility tool for people with color sensitivity and other problematic vision issues such as sensitivity to contrast and light. Unfortunately, it’s only available as a Firefox extension. Still, it does an excellent job of improving the readability of web pages by fine-tuning their color schemes and making them easier to view. Some users say it improves website viewing tenfold as long as it has been coded well in advance.
- ChromeVox Screen Reader
ChromeVox is a free accessibility extension for Google Chrome that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s an open-source screen reader that lets you control your browser with keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse. Like Jaws Companion, it can be installed as a standalone app or overlay for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. By default, the tool reads web pages aloud so blind users can access them easily. However, you can also install the Chromevox+Dragon NaturallySpeaking package to use voice commands with Dragon NaturallySpeaking systems (v12/13/14).
- NVDA Add-On For Firefox And Internet Explorer
NV stands for NonVisual Desktop Access, and it’s a free, open-source screen reader for Windows computers. Unlike Jaws and ChromeVox, NVDA can be installed as an overlay on Internet Explorer and Firefox instead of just one browser. If you’re using the Firefox version of NVDA, you’ll need to install an extension that lets you control your mouse with keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys.