Accessibility Overlay Update

Update November 24, 2022: requested that we update the “Next Steps” portion to focus on feedback around accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( of their platform broadly, instead of the accessibility overlay, as that is no longer in place.

In recent weeks, WordPress meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. organizers expressed their disappointment in’s new accessibility overlay, and brought this to the attention of the Community Team. Since then, @peiraisotta and I met with Meetup’s Director of Engineering, their Head of Customer Success, and their GM of Meetup Pro. was very receptive to our feedback, and they have removed the accessibility overlay.

Here are some additional notes from our chat. 

Meetup was working with EqualWeb. EqualWeb’s widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. does scan for accessibility issues, and the original plan was for EqualWeb’s team (real people!) to provide progressive fixes to the overlay. Meetup’s hope was to provide, over time, a fully accessible overlay. 

In this meeting, Isotta and I provided our feedback on accessibility overlays. At a high level, our main points were:

  • Overlays create a poor user experience for people who use assistive technologyAssistive technology Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. and may ignore key WCAGWCAG WCAG is an acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines are helping make sure the internet is accessible to all people no matter how they would need to access the internet (screen-reader, keyboard only, etc) issues
  • There are increasing legal and privacy concerns associated with accessibility overlays
  • Overlays do not provide equal and open access to a platform

While it was great to hear that the solutions that hoped to apply will be people-driven, and not automated solutions, it would be to the overlay. In this case, the Community team recommended that those changes be made to’s source code to provide an improved experience for everyone. 

Next steps

As part of’s accessibility roadmap, they would value hearing from WordPress community members. If you have experience using Meetup, especially across across all platforms (web, mobile web, apps, etc.), from an accessibility standpoint, have 50 min in coming weeks, and are interested in speaking with Meetup around which parts of their website/features we would like them to prioritize, please let us know, either in the comments, or by pinging @angelasjin or @peiraisotta

Major kudos to Bet Hannon, Joe Simpson, and Sumner Davenport, accessibility allies who raised the issue with the Community team and helped us prepare for the conversation with