Web Accessibility Testing: Tools and Tests

A key factor in the success of an online business is website accessibility. There is an increasing need for websites to provide accessible material to all users as ecommerce retailers fast close the retail sales gap and more users than ever are prepared to utilize online services for financial, health, and legal assistance.

Because of this, it’s essential that you follow web accessibility principles while designing and test those design components to make sure they function as intended.


Improved Accessibility is Required

There are many people who suffer from “a disability that impacts major life activities.” These impairments fall under six broad categories:


  1. Mobility: Challenges using the stairs, walking, and reaching physical infrastructure
  2. Cognition: Problems with focus, memory, or decision-making
  3. Hearing: Difficulty hearing digital media and/or conversations
  4. Vision: Difficulty viewing videos or reading text
  5. Independent Living: Difficulty doing basic daily activities like running errands or preparing food that are necessary for independent living.
  6. Self-care: Problems with daily activities including dressing or bathing


Your company may boost its pool of prospective clients by 25% and enhance customer loyalty by focusing on this accessibility campaign and making website modifications for people with impairments like these. 


Let’s now go through what online accessibility testing involves.


What Does Testing for Web Accessibility Entail?

The process of assessing how readily people with impairments can use a website is known as web accessibility testing. Web accessibility testing, a subcategory of usability testing, makes sure that all users can comprehend, browse, and engage with a website. This offers useful data for enhancing next designs for users with and without impairments.

According to Web Accessibility Initiative (WC3), “accessibility evaluation is more formalized than usability testing generally.”

 Four objectives are emphasized in well-designed accessibility testing:

  • providing for the requirements of all disabled individuals
  • juggling the demands of various disability groups
  • the best methods for these demands
  • Expressing those demands and strategies in plain words

Web accessibility testing, to put it simply, verifies that the features and services added to websites to promote accessibility are operating as intended.


Tests to Perform

Testing a website for accessibility should look at two important results: universality and usability.


A website’s universality refers to its components and features that are accessible to all users. For instance, lowered curbs on pathways and sidewalks provide universal access, which benefits both customers with normal mobility and those who are less mobile. Usability, on the other hand, refers to how straightforward and useful components of accessible design are. Your website’s chances of picking visitors’ attention are enhanced if it is simple to use.

It’s important to take into account each of the six CDC categories we listed above when doing a successful online accessibility test:


Mobility: How can people who have mobility issues visit your website? There is a straightforward beginning test, as highlighted by Karl Groves, creator of the Tenon.io online accessibility platform: Switch off your mouse. All of the controls on your website are accessible to you. Are the controls that are now in use visible to you? Do instructions from command make sense? If the response is negative, you must enhance keyboard support.


Cognition: How difficult to use are the menus and forms on your website? For persons with cognitive problems, are they relevant to the context and simple to identify? Does each form field specifically state what users must enter? Consider shifting any form requirements that are hidden inside field boxes outside.


Hearing: Do you offer solutions for folks who are hard of hearing if your website has several videos or sound clips? This includes transcripts for podcasts, product descriptions, and other audio content as well as closed captioning for videos.


Vision: Do your website’s audio descriptions and context-first text, which enables visitors with disabilities to use text-to-voice software to discover information more easily, support the opposite?


Living Independently: Here, ease of usage is crucial. Users who struggle with independent living are frequently capable of completing progressively difficult activities as long as they follow clear and basic instructions. Because of this, it’s simpler for these visitors to find what they’re looking for on a site with an organized layout.


Self-care: Despite their physical or cognitive limitations, many people who struggle with self-care nonetheless have very sharp minds. In this situation, text and graphic components that are readily scalable can save unnecessary annoyance for these users.

Recognizing the necessity of online accessibility testing is one thing, but implementing efficient tests at scale across your site is quite another.


Let’s take a look at some of the top accessibility testing tools to assist you organize your procedure and provide all visitors trustworthy results.


We’ll begin with tools that demand you test every page individually by hand. After that, we’ll examine the tools that can help you automate the testing process.


Tools for Manual Accessibility Testing

The accessibility testing tools below can nevertheless save you a tonne of time by finding accessibility flaws that you would otherwise have to manually find, even if they need you to perform tests manually one page at a time. This makes it simpler for website owners who aren’t familiar with accessibility guidelines or standards to build and manage websites that deliver top-notch user experiences to all visitors. 


WAVE: Utah State University and the accessibility company WebAIM created WAVE. Simply put your website’s address in the form box given or make use of the available Firefox or Chrome extensions to test. Potential contrast flaws, test size concerns, perplexing structural features, and problems with accessible rich internet applications (ARIA), such as undefinable elements, can all be rapidly found with WAVE.


AccessScan: AccessiBe, a pioneer in web accessibility software, created the free utility accessScan. AccessScan then automatically scans the provided landing page and conducts a brief but thorough auditing procedure. Once finished, accessScan will inform you if your website complies with WCAG standards. You may receive a PDF that lists all the accessibility flaws on your website.


 CSS & HTML Validator: Your website is examined for CSS, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and spelling mistakes by the CSS & HTML Validator. This can assist you in identifying anything that might impede reading and transcribing services from producing appropriate outputs, such as misclassified structure elements, improperly functioning forms, or text difficulties. 


Siteimprove: You may use a number of tools from Siteimprove to make your website more accessible. Issues are ranked according to their location, degree of conformity, and difficulty of repair. By doing so, you may resolve any compliance issues in your content and try to make your website more accessible as a whole. 


Tota11y: Without any prior expertise, anybody can understand and correct accessibility issues while learning best practices with Tota11y, an accessibility visualization tool. A little button is added to the bottom corner of a document or web page by the JavaScript script tota11y. When you click on it, a toolbar containing a number of plugins that note various website aspects appears, like labels with inadequate colour contrast, photos without alt text, and more.


Final Thoughts


Web accessibility testing makes sure that your website provides customized solutions, all-inclusive controls, and enhanced usability for all visitors. Combining the manual and automated testing techniques discussed above will help you make sure you don’t miss any flaws or faults and that all visitors to your website have the greatest possible experience. To learn more, get in touch with the Testing Agency!