Why accessibility testing is important?
The Internet and web usage is growing rapidly as per user demand. In every industry, technology is being used; be it educational, medical, financial, manufacturing, IoT, security, eCommerce and others. Web accessibility becomes a mandatory practice to give each and everyone equal access and equal opportunity to explore web.
Accessibility testing makes sure the application is accessible to people with or without disabilities. These disabilities would include visual impairments, auditory disorder, hyperacusis, reading disorder, intellectual disability, and other disorders.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the population has a disability. These specially-abled people have the right to use and interact with the web.
Web accessibility guidelines (WCAG) are published by W3C. They are a set of recommendations for making Web content more accessible for people with disabilities.
Government agencies all over the world have come up with legislation, which enforces IT products to be accessible by specially-abled people. E.g. Section 508 compliance in the USA.
There are few tools that can help you test against particular issues related to accessibility standards.
1. WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
WAVE helps to evaluate web content accessible to individuals with disabilities. WAVE can identify many WCAG errors and compliance and can also help human evaluation of web content.Pope Tech is a commercial evaluation system based on WAVE that provides website reporting and monitoring of accessibility checks. WAVE Browser plugins for Firefox and Chrome are available for testing accessibility directly within web browsers – handy for checking dynamic pages.
TAW Web is an online service that allows you to check the accessibility of a certain URL. It generates a summary report based on the analyzed page with information about the result of the review. In addition, you can receive a full report in your email address.
Supports: WCAG2.0 UNE139803:2012
- TAW can generate subsets of WCAG 1.0 to test against.
- TAW CMS can help you integrate the TAW accessibility analyzer in the CMS content editor.
- The new TAW web service can be easily integrated for analysis during content editing and analyze the contents before being published.
Accessibility Checker is an open-source accessibility evaluation tool that checks single HTML pages for conformance with accessibility standards to ensure the content can be accessed by everyone. Using this tool, the user can submit a web page via its URL or by uploading its HTML file or pasting the markup and can subsequently select which guidelines to evaluate it against, HTML Validator, BITV, 508, Stanca Act, WCAG.
Lighthouse is an open-source tool and can be run against multiple web pages, public or requiring authentication. It contains audits for accessibility, SEO, performance and more. Lighthouse is available in Chrome DevTools, or as a Node module. When given a URL to audit, it runs a series of audits against the page generating a report for analysis. Failing audits act as a pointer on how to improve the page. Each audit has a documented recommendation and how to fix the recommendation.
5.FAE – Functional Accessibility Evaluator
FAE references the ITAA Web Accessibility Standards which evaluates a website and which are based on the WCAG and 508 guidelines. The results are displayed into 5 categories: Text Equivalents, Scripting, Navigation, Styling and HTML Standards. The evaluation of the overall performance of every category is a percentage, divided between Pass, Warn and Fail – thus enabling one to focus on the specific areas.
6. ACTF aDesigner
IBM developed a tool that simulates the experience of visually impaired individuals. This tool also helps users check the accessibility of ODF documents and Flash content. It also supports accessibility information (MSAA/IA2) inspection functions.
JAWS is a well-known screen reader, developed for users having vision loss, preventing them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and Braille output to be able to navigate the Internet, write a document, and read an email. JAWS Inspect is an accessibility evaluation tool that simplifies accessibility and compatibility testing. Without distracting the complex feature set of the end-user product, It uses transcripts of JAWS output to quickly find issues and share them easily across compliance systems. JAWS has a complete suite for low vision testing.
With many more accessibility tools at W3 https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/. Accessibility tools give a thorough check on compliances to generate a detailed report quickly, helping developers fix the issues. Not all the accessibility checks are supported by these tools, but they come handy to reduce your time and cost.