Adding an Accessibility Plugin Doesn’t Make Your Website Accessible

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among web designers and companies trying to improve their websites. They are installing “accessibility plugins” to add features like font resizing, zooming, contrast changers and more.

When you dig in to accessibility, you will learn that the variety of disabilities is daunting. Adding a plugin like this is only scratching the surface. And in the worst case adds insult to injury.

How Accessibility Tools Fail

  1. The tools themselves fail accessibility tests: We tested multiple accessibility plugins and they fail over and over:
    1. NONE of the plugins tested were accessible themselves. Examples are: The plugin itself font size didn’t adjust their when browser font size was changed, tap targets are too small, tight kerning, small fonts, no aria labels on icons
    2. None of the plugins changed paragraph spacing (kerning)
    3. Increasing contrast sometimes decreased contrast

Things I Liked About Accessibility Plugins

  1. Marking Headings
  2. Ability to Increase Cursor Size
  3. Ability to Change Font Family

Other Problems With Accessiblity Plugins

One big problem is that they were designed for website designers who aren’t seriously committed to accessible design. Web designers & website owners are looking for a quick fix.

Another problem is that they fail to consider that because of the diversity of disabilities, disabled people use the tools that work for them. A truly accessible website makes it easier for the widest variety of users and enables the use of software & hardware tools that disabled people use every day.

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