Web accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing where the users under consideration have disabilities that affect how they use the web. The end goal, in both usability and accessibility, is to discover how easily people can use a website and feed that information back into improving future designs and implementations."
Accessibility testing is the practice of making your web and mobile apps usable to as many individuals as possible. It allows apps to be accessible to those with disabilities, such as vision impairment, hearing disabilities, and other physical or cognitive conditions.
Accessibility should be a crucial step when incorporating into your testing strategies. Once aligned with your test cycle and syncing results in one centralised place, further analysis and improvements can be made to ensure the best designs and outcomes for your users.
In this article, we're going to look at our favourite 5 tools to help you with your accessibility testing.
In 2022, according to the charity SCOPE, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, this includes:
• 8% of children
• 19% of working-age adults
• 46% of pension-age adults
However, according to a WebAIM accessibility report, 97.8% of home pages had automatically detectable Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AA failures.
Accessibility testing is a vital component in making sure that your website and services are available to the widest range of users.
Whilst using testing tools is no substitute for getting real users to test your software, it's a good start and can be easily embedded in your software development process. We are going to show you our top 5 testing tools, which we use as part of our testing regime.
Number 1 – Wave
Wave is a testing tool that tests against WCAG 2.1 compliance. It’s developed by the WebAIM organisation and you can either test directly via the website or by installing the browser plugin. We use the browser plugin so we can test sites during development without having them “live” on the internet. It will give you feedback on your web pages and is a really quick and easy tool to test your site with.
Number 2 – NVDA
NVDA is a free screen reader, developed by the fabulous NV Access charity. It allows blind and vision-impaired people to access and interact with web browsers running on the Windows operating system. NVDA has been translated by volunteers into more than 55 languages and has been used by people in more than 175 countries. NVDA can be used to see how your site and content can be navigated and used with a screen reader. It’s good for checking HTML elements such as buttons and links to make sure the user can navigate and use the website correctly.
Number 3 – aXe
aXe is a set of tools provided by the company deque. Testing is again done using a browser plugin and it gives a precise and detailed analysis of the page and its compliance. We find a combination of Wav and aXe really useful as they both pick up issues that the other doesn’t highlight.
Number 4 – Tenon
Tenon is the only tool on our list that provides accessibility testing functionality by using an API. Because of this, it’s perfect to integrate with your development pipeline and can give you quick feedback for any changes and modifications. This allows you to swiftly resolve any issues before you move on to more formal testing.
Number 5 – Lynx
Many people might be surprised that we are recommending the use of lynx for accessibility testing. Lynx is a text-based web browser that was first developed for Unix in 1992. We find that Lynx is helpful for us to check the layout and flow of our sites, making sure our information is well structured and easy to navigate. Whilst it will never replace testing with a screen reader, it’s a good option to use frequently during development.
We hope you liked our round-up of the top accessibility testing tools. Links to all the software and the organisations that have developed them are our Youtube video description here. If you use any other tools that we haven’t mentioned, please add them in the comments and tell us why you like them!
Also, if you liked this content and would like to see more of this in the future, don’t forget to like, subscribe and hit the bell, so you are notified of our Youtube videos when they get posted.
As always, if you are struggling with your accessibility and usability, or anything tech and digital-related within your charity or organisation, please do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help you.
We welcome charities, non-profits and purpose-led organisations of every size and budget, for a discovery call chat to figure out your pain points or challenges and provide solutions and advice. Book yours today, we'd love to help you.