Exploring Accessibility Testing

What Is Accessibility Testing?

For websites and applications, testing is done to check the usability of the software by users who have a disability. This can also be interpreted as testing made to ensure the inclusivity of all kinds of users. Hence, accessibility testing falls under usability testing. It is important for any public or private entity to ensure inclusivity through accessibility.

Why Should You Implement Accessibility Testing?

On one side, it ensures the inclusion of each and every type of user, giving equal accessing opportunities for all. Further, this will also ensure the customer base is expanded as the inclusions happen. As more users get to use a website, the business of an organization increases. It is also mandated by laws through human rights acts in various countries to make public and private services inclusive.

Types Of Users Accessibility Caters To

Many elderly people suffer from age-related impairments that can affect how they use the internet, such as deteriorating vision, physical ability, hearing, and cognitive ability. It's critical to make the website and applications accessible to these individuals.

Visually Impaired

Millions of people across the world are blind or have low vision. In Canada, more than 500,000 are blind or partially sighted. To address this, screen magnification software or tools can be used and screen readers can be installed which will read the content aloud to the visually impaired user.

Physically Impaired

People with weak or limited motor abilities can include partial or total loss of muscular control. So hindrances in navigating are the critical part to be addressed here. The input devices can be altered. For example, if one cannot access a mouse then navigating through the keyboard can be made easier accordingly.

Hearing Impaired

An accessible website will attract potential deaf customers, and it will promote the company in a positive light because it shows that the company is aware and inclusive. Provide multiple contact options such as mail, Skype, online forms, or live web chat which are easier for the hearing impaired user to use. Provide Subtitles/captions for videos, Use simple English, use images wherever possible, and make navigation simple and straightforward.

Cognitive Impairment & Learning Disabilities

People with cognitive impairment or learning disabilities will be impacted in the ways they process information, perception, comprehension varies. People with ADHD and autism are some who fall under this.

To address these hindrances, content provided can be altered in a way the message remains the same but is conveyed better. This can be achieved by using images, gives enough time to read, or making software such that it can be used intuitively.

Accessibility Testing As A Legal Requirement

Accessibility testing is not just about expanding business but also opening the world of the internet and technology for differently-abled persons. There are various rules and regulations that ensure human rights and inclusivity in both public and private enterprises.

Canadian Human Rights Act which was enacted in 1985, is to monitor and ensure human rights is upheld in both public and private entities. Similarly, the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, which was enacted in 2016, is mandatory for the governmental sectors. It mandates WCAG 2.0 Level AA and all conformance criteria for website accessibility.

A comprehensive guide on enhanced web accessibility has been issued by the Canadian government. It describes how the standard will be implemented over the course of two years, as well as the roles and responsibilities of senior departmental officials, chief information officers, heads of communications, web managers, as well as the approaches and mechanisms that can be used to implement the Web Accessibility Standard.

Guidelines & Standards For accessibility Testing

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium developing web standards. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium aims to make the internet more accessible to individuals with impairments. The following are some of the standards that are particularly important for older users:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The WCAG resources contain rules and approaches for improving the accessibility of websites and web applications for people who are differently abled, as well as older users with accessibility needs due to ageing.

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)

The UAAG describes how to make web browsers and media players accessible to people with disabilities. Browser features are especially significant for elderly users who have accessibility requirements that should be met by browsers rather than necessitating the usage of additional assistive technologies.

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG)

Web content is created with authoring tools. HTML editors and content management systems are examples of authoring tools (CMS). Authoring tools include blogs, wikis, photo sharing sites, online forums, and social networking sites that allow users to add material. These must be accessible in order for older folks to use them.

Tools For Accessibility Testing

Below are a few tools used for accessibility testing:

WAVE: Developed by WebAIM, this evaluates the accessibility of web content, and it is available online and on a browser. It has the ability to evaluate the browser itself.

Dynomapper: this tool is used as a sitemap generator, and helps in planning and optimizing websites. It can use XML files to generate a sitemap and also use HTML contents to evaluate.

AChecker: This is an open-source web accessibility evaluation tool. This can be done just by uploading the URL or HTML file. AChecker also provides an option to choose accessibility guidelines before evaluating.

Tenon: Tenon uses APIs for evaluating, which can be easily integrated with already existing tools. It is also WCAG 2.0 and VPAT compliance (which is section 508). Tenon API gives back results in JSON format, which holds the list of issues found.

aXe: this is an open-source tool, which can be added as an extension. After evaluation, this gives out a list of accessibility issues that could be addressed. It also provides additional information on each issue. aXe also allows manual testing with the help of Screenreader.

How To Incorporate Accessibility Into Websites & Applications

  • Select a content management system for the website that has accessibility features.
  • To manage the structure of the website's information, use headings correctly.
  • Include appropriate alt text for images so that a screen reader can comprehend and explain the image's purpose on the website.
  • Use colour with care as some colour blind users can find it challenging to distinguish colours.
  • Design website forms for accessibility
  • Use CSS instead of a table for webpage layout design. Adding a table creates additional reading for the screener reader and the sequence of reading can get jumbled up.
  • Ascertain that all content can be accessed using only the keyboard in a logical manner, such as by pressing the "tab" or "arrow" keys.
  • Make dynamic content on a website accessible. Use ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), a complex but effective tool for implementing accessibility features. ARIA roles and alerts can be used to make dynamic information like stock tickers, search filters, and date pickers more accessible.


Website accessibility testing is one of the most critical parts of platform/application development. Accessibility testing has a number of benefits, including allowing businesses to expand their user base by providing online services and technologies to those who are blind, deaf, or have limited mobility.

Accessibility, on the other hand, isn't just about increasing market share or attracting more users; it's about guaranteeing that everyone has the same opportunities.

By increasing online accessibility, we can help to ensure that everyone may freely explore the digital world.

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Meet Deepa Sannappa

QA Analyst


Deepa is a QA Analyst who ensures that final products meet quality standards. She studied computer science and has a Bachelor of Engineering with over 5 years of experience in banking and e-commerce spaces. Deepa is passionate about yoga, meditation, and walking outside. She also enjoys solving puzzles. Overall she likes to engage in activities that energize both her body and mind.

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