NFB Bans Accessibe, Calls Overlay Seller ‘Harmful’

Man inquisitively reading Macbook.

In a scathing statement condemning Accessibe released on Thursday, June 24, the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) had this to say:

The Board believes that accessiBe currently engages in behavior that is harmful to the advancement of blind people in society.

“In particular, it is the opinion of the Board that accessiBe peremptorily and scornfully dismisses the concerns blind people have about its products and its approach to accessibility.

“The Board is deeply concerned that the company treats blind access technology experts shabbily and disrespectfully in private meetings and disparages the blind in the press and their other communications.

It seems that accessiBe fails to acknowledge that blind experts and regular screen reader users know what is accessible and what is not.

“The nation’s blind will not be placated, bullied, or bought off. Therefore, the Board revoked accessiBe’s sponsorship of the convention on June 22, 2021.”

On June 26, Forbes published an excellent write-up on the NFB’s stance, written by Gus Alexiou:

Largest U.S. Blind Advocacy Group Bans Web Accessibility Overlay Giant AccessiBe

The NFB’s statement is the crescendo after years of negative reviews, warnings, and condemnation issued against Accessibe and overlay widgets in general.

A great place to start unraveling all of the problems with overlays is OverlayFactSheet.com, a Karl Groves initiative.

It’s worth repeating — overlays are widgets that are claimed by vendors to make your website instantly accessible and ADA compliant.

Some overlay vendors stop short of saying fully accessible / compliant but, regardless, the truth is the purported benefit of any automated solution is overwhelmingly a lie.

And, as a larger point, even if overlays did make websites accessible: Why does someone have to go through a separate entrance and learning curve to access a website?

Note: With this official condemnation, it’s likely that some plaintiffs’ firms will specifically target websites with overlay widgets installed.

Heuristic: Any “solution” that promises to instantly fix your website’s accessibility issues is not instantly fixing your website.