Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Listen to the A11y Rules Podcast. And become a patron on Patreon.
Become a Patron!

Open Letter to IAAP against overlay providers

An open letter to voice opposition to an overlay company being a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), and opposing IAAP publicizing overlay companies material.

Dear Dr. Lee,

You find me quite upset at one of the recent tweets from the IAAP account, pointing to a blog post from Audio Eye. Audio Eye is a so-called accessibility overlay provider. As you probably know, overlays do not work to fix accessibility. They are marketing hype and generally take part in false advertising claims.

I am dismayed that the International Association of Accessibility Professionals would promote the work of overlay providers. This does not fall in line with the values of promoting accessibility I believe IAAP has. For IAAP to promote *any* overlay vendor goes against the grain. Accessibility professionals are, bar a few “overlay minions”, opposed to the “1 line of code” magic solution overlay providers sell. It becomes a significant conflict for any member of the association when the association goes against these strong-held beliefs and values.

I am also confused by overlay providers being accepted as members of the IAAP – again, it goes against values and code of practices.

I have been a member of IAAP since the early days. I am seriously considering resigning my membership. I cannot in good conscience remain a member of an organisation that promotes the work of an overlay provider, either through publicizing their blog posts on social media or through accepting their membership.

I hope that IAAP will promptly review, and change their acceptance of overlay providers as members, including Audio Eye, as well as stop publicizing their material on social media and elsewhere.

I look forward, Dr. Lee, to a prompt response on this important matter.


Signed: Nicolas Steenhout

This letter was emailed to Dr. Lee, IAAP Managing director, and to the IAAP’s Global Leadership Council on January 17, 2022.