What to Know About Accessibility Testing Tools for Website Development

What to Know About Accessibility Testing Tools for Website DevelopmentIn today’s interconnected world, digital accessibility has emerged as a fundamental pillar of inclusive and user-centric website development. It ensures that all individuals, regardless of their disabilities or impairments, can access and navigate online content with ease. 


Emphasizing the significance of digital accessibility not only upholds the principles of equal access and non-discrimination but also expands the potential audience and customer base for businesses and organizations.


By incorporating accessibility testing tools during website development, developers can proactively identify and address barriers that might hinder users with disabilities, creating an online environment that fosters inclusivity, empathy, and an enhanced user experience for everyone.


In this article, we look at the different types of accessibility testing, why it’s essential, and some of the best accessibility testing tools.


What Is Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility testing is a process of making your web and mobile apps usable for the broadest range of users. It enables people with disabilities such as those who suffer from hearing loss, vision impairment or other physical or mental conditions, to access digital information.


As a best practice, make accessibility testing a part of your testing strategy and not an afterthought. Digital experiences should adjust to meet user demands as accessibility standards and our collective understanding of user abilities change.


For instance, if a blind person uses the internet and clicks on something, it should connect to the voice response, allowing them to hear it and use it. Browsers should be able to read the response and comment on the inputs.


The application should be designed in a way that any response delivered to the browser should be viewed with ease. The response must be linked to the voice right away, making it accessible to those who are blind or physically impaired.


Types of Accessibility Testing

Some teams manually conduct accessibility testing while some use third-party companies. It can also be automated. Usually, accessibility testing isn’t a part of the cycle and is not conducted as often as it should, resulting in undiscovered flaws. Some scenarios where the accessibility test is manually done are:


  • Checking for visible captions. For instance, while using the Facebook application, the captions will enable us to understand what is in the pictures and videos, as the images and videos can occasionally take a long time to load.
  • Ensuring material is understandable when read aloud. You can test your app during development or even a website with a screen reader.
  • Ensuring a similar audio experience for everyone. This can be done by testing the website with and without sound by turning off the speakers and microphones.
  • Using only the keyboard to navigate a website or app to assure that all content is accessible and guarantees a skip navigation link.


Automated testing allows you to monitor important pages and carry out comprehensive evaluations of your entire website, without having to examine each page separately. It is an excellent method to get started without feeling overwhelmed for a business with hundreds or thousands of templated product pages.


The following are some factors to take into account while selecting an efficient automated testing solution:


  • It examines every page on your website, including those with changing content, the shopping cart, user journeys and login pages.
  • It offers analysis with factual data to support it.
  • Project managers, developers, QA testers, marketers and your legal team can easily understand the outcomes because they are interpretable.
  • It is easily compatible with the current tech stack.


Why Is Accessibility Testing Necessary?

With the growing importance of digital technology and applications, there are more users of digital tools. As a law, you need robust accessibility testing measures to satisfy the needs of all users. You have a lot of rules to follow, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and failure to abide by them can result in hefty fines.


Accessibility testing ensures that software products are inclusive and usable by everyone, regardless of ability. Online businesses and product firms can use accessibility testing through manual testing or automated testing to improve accessibility, increase customer base and market share, provide relevant content and information and create market opportunities.


Best Accessibility Testing Tools

Web accessibility testing tools are widely available to assist specialists and developers in identifying and resolving compliance concerns. Some providers also facilitate manual accessibility testing with members of the differently-abled community.


Accessibility testing tools are software programs that help determine how accessible a website is to individuals with impairments. These tools identify and flag potential accessibility problems including poor color contrast and a lack of alternative language for images or links without descriptions using automated and manual testing methods.


The use of accessibility testing tools helps website developers and testers make sure that a website complies with accepted accessibility guidelines like the WCAG and offers suggestions for making the website more accessible. Website owners can make sure their site is usable by everybody, regardless of physical or mental capabilities, by employing web accessibility testing tools.


Some of the most widely used accessibility testing tools are:


  1. accessiBe
  2. Siteimprove
  3. Equally AI
  4. Accessibility Viewer (aViewer)
  5. UserWay
  6. Equalweb
  7. ARC Platform by TPGi
  8. Usablenet
  9. Google Lighthouse
  10. CKSource Accessibility Checker
  11. SortSite
  12. Tenon
  13. FireEyes


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) For Website Development

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), both versions 2.0 and 2.1, are the global norms for code and accessibility. They revolve around the following four POUR principles, which are essential for everyone to access and make use of web content:


  • Perceivable

Users must be able to easily process information and user interface (UI) components when they are provided to them.


  • Operable

All users must be able to operate UI elements and navigation, for example, by using a keyboard instead of a mouse.


  • Understandable

Website users must be able to use it and also be able to understand it — the information and navigation cannot be impenetrable.


  • Robust

The content must be robust enough to be interpreted by a wide range of platforms, browsers, devices and adaptive technologies.


WCAG provides three levels of compliance, each with an increasing number of success criteria, for testing your content. Every new standard raises the bar from the preceding standard(s), necessitates more work to correct and maintain and has a greater potential to impact the visual design.


To correctly interpret criteria and navigate gray regions outside the technology’s scope, 75% of WCAG success criteria call for human assessment. For instance, for a picture to be accessible, the alternative text must be meaningful.


However, just the availability of alternative text does not imply that the text is meaningful. The accompanying text must be examined by a human to evaluate whether or not it adequately represents the image.


Empowering the Web: Embracing Digital Accessibility for All

In recent years, tremendous strides have been made in enhancing digital accessibility, but the journey is far from over. The continuous evolution of technology and the internet calls for a collective commitment to ensure that every individual, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in the digital realm.


The efforts to improve website accessibility for the differently abled have not gone unnoticed, with real-world statistics highlighting the profound impact of these measures.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.3 billion people (roughly 16% of the global population) live with some form of disability. Digital accessibility empowers this significant demographic, enabling them to access information, services, and opportunities that were once limited or out of reach.


It fosters a sense of independence, breaking down barriers and promoting equal opportunities in education, employment, and social interactions. However, even with progress, there remain numerous instances of inaccessible websites and digital content that continue to exclude and marginalize users with disabilities.


The responsibility lies with website builders, developers, and designers to champion the cause of accessibility and integrate it seamlessly into every aspect of website development. As we move forward, let us be reminded of the tremendous impact that digital accessibility has on the lives of millions.


It’s not just a legal or moral obligation but a gateway to a more inclusive, diverse, and compassionate digital landscape. By embracing accessibility testing tools and adopting best practices, we can forge a path where the internet truly becomes a place that caters to the needs of all individuals. It’s vital to build an internet that welcomes everyone, leaving no one behind, and ensuring that the power of technology is harnessed for the betterment of every user.

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