Drupal 7.0-beta1 released, how screen-reader users can disable the Overlay

I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight, because I just heard that Drupal 7.0-beta1 has been released. You can download and test drive Drupal 7 on the Drupal Core project page.

There are many accessibility improvements in Drupal 7 compared to Drupal 6. There are literally too many contributors to thank for these improvements for me to even think about making a list.

One improvement that has not made it into 7.0-beta1, but will absolutely make it into the final release, is Screen reader users need a clear, quick way to disable the overlay.

What is the Overlay

The Overlay is a Drupal 7 Core module that displays the Drupal administrative interface over top of the content page from which it was launched. A lot of Javascript and CSS magic goes into making this work. We worked very hard to implement the Overlay in a way that would be accessible to all possible users, including users of older versions of screen-readers. In the end we were not satisfied that we could implement the Overlay in a way that would be accessible to all, without causing accessibility barriers for some.

How to disable the Overlay

On each user's account settings page there is an option to disable the Overlay. This will disable the overlay for a single user, while keeping it active for other users of the site. Before the final release of Drupal 7 we will provide a clear link between the Overlay and the current user's account settings page to streamline the process of disabling the Overlay.

To disable the Overlay for a single user in Drupal 7.0-beta1:

  1. Access your user account page at http://example.com/user
  2. Find the Primary tabs and select the "Edit" link
  3. on your account settings page find the checkbox for the "Overlay" and remove the checkmark

Please feel free to leave a comment or to contact me if you require further assistance.