Experience: Checking & Testing Accessible Web


Now that the site is built it's time for QA and UAT to test the Experience. There are a few things you need to keep in mind to help pass web accessibility standards. 

User Testing 

Provides quantitative and qualitative testing from real users performing real tasks with your product 

Evaluates how usable accessibility solutions are by some people with disabilities 

Accessibility testing provides benefits such as: 

  • Increasing understanding of how people with disabilities - permanent, temporary, or situational, use your website or app 
  • maximizes customer satisfaction where the user is actually able to complete the task they wished to accomplish which leaves the user feeling satisfied 
  • Increase brand recognition 
  • Increase the number of site visitors 
  • Improves the experience for all users — even though usability improvements are geared to users with disabilities, overall there are benefits for all users 

Some steps to follow when conducting user usability/accessibility Testing

1. Create a recruitment plan 

  • You need to make sure you have the right users in your study 
  • Procure an appropriate sample based on what it is you are testing 

2. The script should be the same 

  • Should not include leading language 
  • The script that you are using to conduct the testing should be the same regardless of the user performing the Test 

3. Considerations when conducting the usability Test

  • Ask about assistive technology the user is familiar with or has used 
  • Ask if they are comfortable and willing to turn the speed of the AT (Assistive Technology) down 
  • Ask if they are willing to turn the volume of their AT (Assistive Technology) up 
  • It is good practice to have a quick test page ready to make sure everything is portrayed clearly on your end 

4. Analyzing Test results 

  • It is important that this question is answered for both the tester and user: Did the user accomplish the goal of the Test? 
  • If the answer is no, then it needs to be determined to what degree was the failure 
  • A second important question to ask is: What was the degree of friction the user encountered when trying to complete the task or Test?
  • Examples of unique accessibility factors to go over in questioning: 
    • How many tabs did it take to get to the element the user needed to advance in the narrative — the issue may be reading or tab order 
    • Did they end up cycling through/use shortcuts such as Skip Links — in this case, the functionality may not be marked up for AT (Assistive Technology) properly 
    • Did they get into a keyboard trap? Yes is not the answer you’re looking for 
    • Were the Live region readouts clear as to what the information presented was or how it was properly engaged? — functionality should be accurately described for AT (Assistive Technology) 
    • Was there a general understanding as to how certain pieces of functionality work 


About 20% of the entire population has accessibility issues 

  • 1 in 10 people have a Severe Disability 
  • 1 in 2 people over the age of 65 have Reduced Abilities 

When first QAing for accessibility, first you need to step into the shoes of a person with disabilities — experiencing how their experience is different from yours 

  1. People with disabilities physically interact with a computer differently compared to people who do not have disabilities — these interactions, if not considered when developing a website, will cause an unpleasant and incomprehensible experience 
  2. Put away the mouse — only use the keyboard 
  3. Listen to your site — this will show you what it’s like to use a computer without being able to see the screen 
  • Myths about testing for website accessibility: 
    • MYTH: It’s expensive 
      • FACT: Considering accessibility issues at the design stage itself can reduce the cost 
    • MYTH: Converting from an inaccessible website is time-consuming 
      • FACT: Prioritizing these issues can help with the distribution of work that must be done 
    • MYTH: Accessibility is boring 
      • FACT: Having an accessible web page doesn’t mean that it can only contain text 
    • MYTH: Accessibility testing is for blind and disabled people 
      • FACT: software is useful for all — this testing is for all users 
  • How is web accessibility measured? with the help of web accessibility standards created by the W3C known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) — there are a few other organizations that have developed their own guidelines such as the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) 
  • Factors of a website to take into consideration: 
    • Content 
    • Size of Code 
    • Mark-up languages 
    • Development tools 
    • Environment 
  • Four principles that the WCAG are based on: 

1. Perceivable information and user interface — this specifies everything that has to do with text alternatives for non-text content, captions, and other alternatives for multimedia, and different presentations of content 
2. Operable user interface and navigation — focuses on a website needing to be navigable and interactive entirely through the keyboard 
3. Understandable information and user interface — the language of the website needs to be very clear (seems obvious but needs attention) 
4. Robust content and reliable interpretation — compatibility with older, newer, and coming accessible technology 

  • In the end, QA performs the same tests that they would for usability testing — taking into consideration the tools and software people with disabilities would use 

Tools -|

WAVE: (web accessibility evaluation tool) a tool developed by WebAIM for evaluating the accessibility of web contents 

https://wave.webaim.org/ ] 

Performs the accessibility evaluation tool which evaluates the accessibility of web content by annotating a copy of the web page 
Shows some recommendations to overcome accessibility issues in the system 
Available online as a toolbar for Chrome and Firefox 

JAWS: (job access with speech) a tool developed by Freedom Scientific used as Blindness Solution 


  • This is the most popular screen reader for customers who have lost their vision 
  • Poplar features include two multi-lingual synthesizers Viz. Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive 
  • Compatible with IE, Firefox, and Microsoft Office and also supports Windows 

AXE: (the accessibility engine) a tool developed by Deque Systems for Chrome and Firefox 

https://www.deque.com/axe/ ] 

  • Can be added as an extension for both Chrome and Firefox 
  • Shows the exact piece of code that caused the issue along with the solution of how to fix it 
  • Allows performing manual accessibility testing using a Screen Reader for some areas 

SortSite: a popular one-click user experience testing tool for Mac, OS X, and Windows 

https://www.powermapper.com/products/sortsite/checks/accessibility-checks/ ] 

Evaluates accessibility of a website against Accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0 110 checkpoints, WCAG 1.0 85 checkpoints, and Section 508 15 US 47 checkpoints 
Compatible with IE, Desktop browser, and Mobile Browser 
Checks for HTTP error codes and script errors 
Validates HTML, CSS, and XHTML 

Lighthouse - A Google Chrome-only browser extension. This tool generates page reports that include, Performance, Best Practices, SEO, Progressive Web App, and Accessibility.  

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lighthouse/blipmdconlkpinefehnmjammfjpmpbjk ]