Testing Website Accessibility
WAVE by WebAIM is an automated tool for detecting accessibility issues, and is the first step of testing for accessibility. There are two ways to access the tool:
Need some help decoding your results? Most importantly, RED icons indicate accessibility errors that must be fixed. GREEN icons indicate areas you should review for appropriate handling. These items need human review - for example, alternate text may exist but that doesn't mean it is meaningful.
WebAIM provides a more in-depth explanation of how the WAVE tool works.
Web Accessibility Checklist (ACNS)
Manual Accessibility Testing Checklist (ATRC)
This checklist utilizes the Web Accessibility Toolbar along with keyboard testing and the JAWS screen reader to perform targeted manual testing. Use this as the second step of testing after running pages through WAVE.
IE Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT)
The WAT provides an easy way to check items such as tab order visually.
- Download the Web Accessibility Toolbar for IE.
A screen reader is software that allows users who are blind to access information on a computer. The manual testing process should involve screen reader testing since this is where the most severe problems may occur.
The ATRC's Manual Accessibility Testing Checklist has instructions for testing with JAWS, the most commonly used screen reader. Other screen readers that can also be used for testing are listed below. WebAIM has guides for testing with teach type of screen reader.
- Download a trial version of JAWS. (Contact the ATRC for CSU licensing information.)
- Testing websites with JAWS by WebAIM.
NVDA (Windows Open-Source - Free)
VoiceOver (Mac Built-in Accessibility Feature)
- Testing websites with VoiceOver by WebAIM.
Color Contrast Checkers
Contrast is vital for users with low vision or color blindness. The ATRC's Manual Accessibility Testing Checklist includes instructions for using these color tools.
User testing is a critical component of determining both accessibility and usability. This step should only be completed after problems discovered through manual testing have been resolved.
The following guide is intended to assist screen reader users in giving constructive feedback on accessibility.