There are several tools that simplify checking for accessibility. Check your documents and web content using the appropriate automated tools listed below.
Automated Testing Tools
Action Wizard - Acrobat DC
Click on Tools, then search for Action Wizard. Click on the Action Wizard icon to open the tool.
In the toolbar on the right, select Make Accessible.
Click on the Start button. Follow the prompts to fix items in the document. Click Close to return to the regular toolbar when finished.
Microsoft Office has a built-in tool that generates a report on the accessibility of a document. The tool is available in both Word and PowerPoint.
Note: The checker will not recognize “junk” alternate text, so it is still important to check images manually. Double-check that the alternate text is meaningful.
The Accessibility Checker is located under File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility.
Within the Canvas text editor, use the Canvas Design Tools to check accessibility of the content. Click on the rocket icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page to Open Design Tools.
Within the Design Tools window, expand the Check Accessibility drop-down menu. Here you can check your headings, images, and link formatting.
The WAVE tool is an automated checker that looks for potential accessibility issues on a webpage. The tool should be run on each page.
WAVE Tool: Summary Report
The first screen you see is a general report of all features that could affect accessibility on the page.
To look in more detail at report, click on the Flag icon. You can click on each flag to see where the potential problem is.
- Red flags (errors) - these require attention
- Yellow flags (alerts) - these require a manual check. The feature may not be a problem.
Click on the outline view icon to see the structure of the page. You should see an outline of the content with properly nested headings.
Click over to the contrast tab. Although color is important for visual appeal, it is necessary to adjust colors to eliminate these errors for users with low vision or color blindness.
Verifying Contrast – Solid Backgrounds
How do you know which colors will have enough contrast to be universally readable? One approach, of course, is to play it safe and stick to black and white, which are the default colors in applications like Microsoft Word. But color is an important—some would say essential—design element of slide presentations and the Web. So, which colors are best?
When text is placed against a solid color background, we recommend you use the Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) by the Paciello Group to determine whether the contrast ratio passes the WCAG 2.0 standards. This free tool helps you “determine the legibility of text and the contrast of visual elements” using color contrast criteria established in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The tool also simulates certain visual conditions, including dichromatic color-blindness and cataracts, to demonstrate how your web content appears to people with less than 20/20 vision. Use the CCA eyedropper tool to select foreground and background colors. The results display immediately below.
In the following example, we’ve run the CCA on a website designed with orange headings, gray text, and blue link text.
For this website, the CCA reports insufficient contrast between orange text and the white background. You would want to select a darker orange color from the drop-down color palette.
When we check the gray text against white background, the CCA shows mixed results. This color combination passes at the "AA" standard, but not the more stringent "AAA" standard, which is the goal for most university and public websites. A darker gray would be better.
Finally, we test the blue link text against the white background. This combination of colors fails both the “AA” and “AAA” standards for normal text sizes, as well as the “AAA” test for larger sizes. It passes only the “AA” standard for large text. A darker blue is required for universal readability.
Verifying Contrast – Photo or Gradient Backgrounds
The Paciello Group's Colour Contrast Analyser and the WAVE Tool both assume that text is placed against a solid background. They cannot always account for text placed on gradient backgrounds or images. In Chrome, you can use the Color Contrast Analyzer Extension, which evaluates a page exactly as it appears in the browser.
This tool repaints the page so that you can see the edges of the text, and discover which text fades into the background. If there is an item that is not outlined, then the item does not have sufficient contrast. The example below shows a before and after view of the extension. In the 'after' view, only the text that is outlined in white has sufficient contrast. You can see that the white text fades into the lighter areas of the background photo.