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Accessibility Testing

Reviewed by Margaret RouseCheckmark | Last updated: May 9, 2022

What Does Accessibility Testing Mean?

Accessibility testing seeks to understand how well digital content complies with established usability standards for people who have disabilities. Accessibility testing is an important component of usability testing.

During the accessibility testing process, the digital product will be assessed to determine how well it meets the needs of individuals with disabilities. Types of electronic content that are commonly tested for accessibility compliance include email, electronic documents, social media posts, web applications and websites.

Accessibility tests can be automated with software tools or conducted manually by human testers. A hybrid approach that uses both automated test tools and manual methodologies often provides the most useful assessment. A website, for example, would be evaluated for criteria such as how well pages have been optimized for screen readers, and flag pages with:

  • Inadequate color contrast
  • Poor use of white space
  • Missing alt text
  • Missing video transcripts
  • High readability levels
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Techopedia Explains Accessibility Testing

The World Health Organization estimates that 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population identifies as having a disability. The disabilities in such individuals include sensory disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment, reading disabilities such as dyslexia or hyperlexia and movement disabilities caused by injury, illness, birth defect or old age.

What is WCAG?

Web designers, software developers and content managers are all responsible for ensuring websites and digital tools are accessible and conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 are based on four principles of accessibility. Web content must be:

1. Perceivable
Images should always include alternative text for blind visitors and videos should include captions for deaf visitors.

2. Operable
Any digital element that can be clicked on with a mouse to initiate an action should also be able to accommodate eye-control and keyboard-only users.

3. Understandable
Web forms should be labeled with clear instructions and each required field should have a text alternative. If an input error is detected, the error should be described to the user in text.

4. Robust
All digital content should be compatible with current operating systems, browsers and assistive technologies.

Automated Accessibility Testing

One of the most used automated testing tool for website accessibility is called WAVE. This automated test tool can be used by visiting WAVE.webaim.org or by downloading the WAVE Extension for Chrome or Firefox.

The WAVE website allows developers to manually enter the URL of a page that they would like to test. The extension allows developers to run the test on any page that is currently in the developer's browser. The most common errors from WAVE reports include:

• Images with missing alt-text.

• Buttons and form fields with missing labels.

• Web pages and page elements with low contrast.

Manual Accessibility Testing

Manual testing is performed by using assistive technologies, such as a screen reader, to access the content that is being evaluated. Popular screen readers for specific operating systems include:

Windows

Mac and iOS

Android

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Data ManagementPrivacy and ComplianceAgile Software DevelopmentDevOps

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