What is Accessibility Testing?

Why Web Accessibility Testing is important?

  • Easy and efficient access to users with disabilities or challenges
  • Increases market share and audience reach
  • Improves maintainability and efficiency
  • Satisfied existing and future legal requirements and helps follow ethics
  • Support internationalization
  • Assists in access for low-bandwidth users.

How Web Accessibility is measured?

Accessibility of the web can be measured with the help of web accessibility standards created by the W3C known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Few other departments have also developed their own guidelines but these too follow Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines.

How can we make our website’s accessibility?

Evaluating the Accessibility of a Website:

There are many factors that play a part to this such as:

  • Content
  • Size
  • Code
  • Markup languages
  • Development tools
  • Environment

As always, it is a good practice to implement the web accessibility techniques in the initial stage of the project. Fixing in-accessible websites requires additional efforts.

A few simple example techniques are:

  • Verification of page title
  • Image text alternatives (“alt text”)
  • Headings
  • Contrast ratio (“color contrast”).. etc.

We can also determine the accessibility with the help of “Evaluation Tools”- to a certain extent. There are few things such as, if the alt text is appropriately written for the image or not, cannot be fully evaluated but they are effective for the most part.

The following are the key points that website should satisfy for accessibility:

  • Link text should be descriptive. Visually disabled user access web page by clicking on tab button from keyboard and move from link to link. So it’s essential the description of the links is properly defined. Make sure the hyperlinks are accessible by using tab key.
  • Provide appropriate pictures where possible. Picture speaks louder than words. Try to add appropriate pictures for text whenever possible. Pictures can describe content of website for Literacy challenged users.
  • Use simple language. Cognitive disabled user has learning difficulties, it is very important to make sentences simple and easily readable for them.
  • Consistent Navigation. Consistent navigation throughout pages is also very important for users with cognitive disabilities. It is a good practice to maintain the consistency of the website and not to modify the pages on regular basis. Adjusting to new layout is time consuming and can become a difficult.
  • Ignore pop-ups. Users who use screen reader to read the web pages, pop-ups can be really inconvenient for them. Screen reader reads out the page from top to bottom and a sudden pop up arrives the reader will start reading it out first before the actual content. It can confuse visually disabled users.
  • CSS layout. CSS based websites are more accessible than HTML code based websites.
  • Divide large sentence into small simple sentence. Visually disabled users listen to the information on the web page and try to remember it. By dividing the large sentence into small simple sentence can help recall things easily.
  • Don’t use marquee text. Avoid shiny text and keep it simple.

Available Tools & Plugins:

  • JAWS 18: Screen reader tool from Freedom Scientific used to read on screen contents.
  • NVDA: Non-Visual Desktop Access is a free screen reading tool for visually impaired users. It enables blind and vision impaired people to use computers reading out on screen contents.
  • Sortsite: An automated tool to check web pages for accessibility defects.
  • Inspect: Helps identify Names, Roles, States and Values of elements on a page.
  • Web Accessibility Toolbar for IE (WAT): Adds a toolbar to IE to help inspect accessibility related elements on web pages.
  • Wave toolbar: Chrome/firefox toolbar that checks for 508c issues.
  • aXe plugin: Chrome developer tool addon that scans a page for WCAG and 508c violations

Conclusion:

So much of our modern life takes place online. It is not fair to make the web inaccessible to some people.

This sentiment rings true with technology leaders around the globe who herald WCAG 2.0 as the prevalent standard in web accessibility. For so many countries, WCAG is literally law. For the United States, it’s only a matter of time before the WCAG standard has legal backing.

Accessibility aside, WCAG creates clearer communication through standardization. As such, agencies, institutions, and businesses should apply WCAG 2.0 principles if they want to stay current in the digital age.

About Vervali:

Vervali Systems Pvt. Ltd. provides cost-effective, premium quality captioning and transcription solutions to hundreds of universities, colleges, e-learning companies, and government agencies. Our mission is to simplify the captioning process by providing a user-friendly account system, flexible APIs, and integrations with a multitude of video players, platforms, and lecture capture systems. Vervali is based in India, Mumbai, and has been operating since 2012.