What is Automated Testing For Digital Accessibility?
Several countries are adopting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 and 2.1) from the World Wide Web Consortium and putting parts of them into their own laws.
You probably already know about the many automated tools and services that can help you test how accessible websites are. If you’ve been keeping up with digital accessibility, it can be easy to think that you don’t need them. But access is just too big of a job to be fully controlled by hand, even if you pay close attention.
Can Testing For Accessibility on the Web Be Done Automatically?
Yes. Using automated accessibility testing technologies, you can check tens of thousands of documents, web pages, or even websites all at once. Manual accessibility testing, on the other hand, involves a person or group of accessibility experts going through a website’s content and code by hand to look for problems.
Automatic accessibility testing is helpful because it checks your material for compliance with accessibility standards all the time. This saves your company time and money. This frees up your time so you can work on preventing and fixing accessibility problems instead of looking for them on your website(s).
During an Automated Accessibility Test, What is Looked At?
Software made to find places that don’t follow WCAG rules can save you a lot of time and work, whether you’re just starting out with accessibility or trying to keep up with the latest standards.
Automated accessibility testing tools look at the code of your website to find potential problems and common accessibility errors. These programs check how easy it is for people to use your website by comparing it to internationally accepted standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). During automated testing, the following problems will be looked at to see how big they are.
How to Get Around and How Pages Are Set Up
- Identifying navigational or menu problems
- Helping people who use assistive technology have a better time
- Make sure the section headers are right
- Identifying the parts of the page that need to be marked for easy orientation
Readability and Color Difference
- Checking the font size and spacing to make sure the text is easy to read
- figuring out how to read fonts with complicated or unclear character sets
- Taking a look at the spacing and weight of the fonts
- making sure that the font and background have enough contrast
Links, Both Inside and Outside
- Identifying misleading link language, such as “click here.”
- Take a look at the focus and hover parts of links to make sure they are easy to see
- Find links that don’t work or are empty
- Links and text options
- Identifying pictures that don’t have text alternatives
- Checking symbols and emojis on the web to see if they have alt text-based inputs
Pdfs Are Easy to Use
- Checking to see if PDF images have alternate text
- How to find PDF files that don’t have bookmarks
- Making sure that PDF files have the right reading order and tabs
- Checking to see if PDF files use table elements for markup
- Checking PDF files for form controls that can be used to do things
- Make sure the buttons are big and easy to click
- checking the page for buttons that would make the text bigger and give it more space
- checking to see if there are reloading buttons
- Checking to see if the button names are correct
Looking at HTML and CSS
- Checking for problems with how HTML is read
- Make sure the HTML tag correctly identifies the language of the page
This is a list of some of the most common accessibility problems that automated testing may help you find right away on your website. The list is not complete.
Why It’s Important For Compliance to Automate Web Accessibility Testing
Manual testing for accessibility has many benefits, but it often takes too long and requires a lot of knowledge about accessibility. This leaves room for human error and could lead to non-compliance.
If you are on the fence about automated testing, think about the following benefits:
- Even people who don’t know much about accessibility can get there.
- Most of the time, it’s cheaper to do this than to hire an accessibility expert inside.
- Easily find problems with accessibility that keep happening.
- You can check tens of thousands of pages at once, giving you a full picture of how accessible your website is in just a few minutes.
- Find out which mistakes all have the same cause.
- With task-prioritizing tools, which are often built-in, the most important problems can be fixed first.
- Over time, teach your company about accessibility problems and how to solve them.
- With the reporting features that many platforms offer, you can keep track of your accessibility compliance and progress over time.
- Accessibility-related results and tasks should be shared among all departments, including website managers, designers, and people who make content.
In reality, the best strategy for many companies will be to use a mix of automated and manual testing for accessibility. Your first line of defense should be automated accessibility testing, which will help you find and fix most of the problems that can be fixed quickly. Then you can move on to areas that need more research and manual testing. Your choice will also be affected by how easy your content management system is to use and how big and how many websites you are in charge of.
Who Benefits from Automated Accessibility Testing?
Everyone is the quickest answer. In the US, important rules about accessibility, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), must be followed. This means that both public and private institutions must make sure their websites are easy to use. Check your website with our ADA compliance tester to find out more.
In addition to the financial costs of these lawsuits, websites that aren’t accessible do a lot of damage to their reputation and brand. This is why it’s important to use automated accessibility testing tools to check your site regularly for accessibility blockers.
Other big benefits of regular automated accessibility testing include making regular website maintenance easier. Accessibility upgrades don’t have to be a problem that slows down your digital team. Instead, you can keep them from becoming a bottleneck by finding urgent accessibility needs and less important solutions that can be added to current processes on a regular basis.
Websites that are easy to use often get higher search engine rankings. Automated accessibility testing is especially important for organizations that are planning major website redesigns or migrations. This is because it can find unexpected or unintentional accessibility mistakes that would drop them quickly in search engine results, like forgetting to copy over image alt text or using a new color scheme that isn’t accessible.
We offer automated accessibility testing and a lot of other services at QualityLogic. Visit www.qualitylogic.com to learn more about our services and to ask for a free consultation if you’re interested. Our team will help you figure out what you need and come up with a plan for your systems and processes. You won’t have to wait long to be able to do everything digitally.