Making your website accessible is not only doing the right thing but is actually a valued investment that safeguards your business from legal risks.
Here, I’m talking about web accessibility for your website or web application.
It is doing the right thing because it helps people with certain disabilities to access your site without any trouble. The internet is available to all, and your site or app must not make an exception in this regard.
Besides, web accessibility protects your business by complying with local and global guidelines such as Website Compliance Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and ADA. Hence, web accessibility is something you must not ignore.
Now you know it is important, but you might be confused about what it really is.
Don’t worry; we’ll discuss this in the next section, and I’ll also introduce you to some of the tools that can test and monitor your site for web accessibility.
Here we go!
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility is a kind of digital equality where everyone must be given equal access to a website, application, or software irrespective of their individual abilities. If you want your site to be easily accessible by all, including by differently-abled people, you need to ensure you comply with the guidelines such as ADA, WCAG, and more.
For this, your site must include certain features like screen reader compatibility, keyboard-friendliness, proper color contrast, video captions, pre-recorded audio, and more.
You must modify your site or app in such a way that persons with disabilities such as dyslexia, autism, head injuries, deafness, paralysis, cerebral palsy, color blindness, low vision, etc., won’t feel difficulty in reading your content.
Why is it important for your business?
The mighty internet has become one of the most important things in our lives. Be it healthcare, education, employment, commerce, socialization, or banking, we need websites and applications to access information and leverage goods and services through it.
However, not everyone is created equal. A large fraction of humans suffer from certain disabilities; as explained above, they need extra care to access the available information and participate in society.
Hence, by complying with web accessibility, you are opening the door of possibilities to your business by involving everyone who wants to access your site and increasing your social responsibility. Ultimately, you get benefits in terms of:
- Reputation management by becoming more accommodating and accepting in front of your audience, which builds your brand.
- Delivering a better customer experience, so all your visitors can access your site across devices and browsers without being irritated.
- Improved SEO because web accessibility enhances the usability and functionality of your website, improving your SEO rankings
- Prevention from legal risks by complying with the set guidelines
Now that you know the importance of web accessibility, you can choose an efficient tool to monitor and test web accessibility to maintain compliance.
Note: the following tools help you test your sites for accessibility-readiness, and to comply with it, you can check out web accessibility solutions.
Aimed to facilitate wider web accessibility and educate people about its impacts on end-users, WAVE is a simple and straightforward way to test whether your website or applications are accessible to everyone globally.
It comes with a set of efficient evaluation tools to help businesses and authors increase their content’s web accessibility, especially to differently-abled persons.
WAVE identifies accessibility errors associated with your site so that it can adhere to guidelines such as WCAG. In addition to this, the tool also performs human evaluations, which ensures your content has high human readability. To use this tool, all you need to do is enter your web page URL into the field and check the results.
Chrome and Firefox extensions of WAVE are also available to make things easier for you so that you can use it directly from your browser. It also comes in handy for checking the locally stored, password-protected, or dynamic pages as well.
Moreover, they also offer the WAVE API as a stand-alone service, Runner service, or subscription-based service, making it easy to collect data on multiple pages. Besides, WAVE brings you the accessibility tool – Pope Tech to help with accessibility tracking and enterprise-grade reporting.
Deque’s axe is one of the leading accessibility toolkits trusted by tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and other testing and development teams in the world. It is built on a comprehensive library for accessibility testing – axe-core to provide accurate, robust, and efficient results.
The axe tools can cover the overall compliance and testing requirements of your business. By using it, you can find 50% more issues without being a web accessibility ninja. You can use it in Chrome, and it comes with features like intelligent guided and automated testing, plus saving and exporting the results.
Use axe DevTools to empower your development teams with a wide-ranging accessibility test. It has features such as guided and automated testing, CLI, CI/CD integrations, etc. axe Auditor helps you perform consistently and full WCAG audits across your applications and content.
Here, you get features like easy communication with issue filters and groups, predefined content issues, and comprehensive testing methods. Monitor, scan, and report the accessibility status dynamically using the ace Monitor. It includes drill-down dashboards, scanning past firewalls and authentication, and full site scanning, including PDFs and web pages.
You can also perform accessibility testing using the axe-core API available for web, Windows, and Android platforms.
Complying with the WCAG 2.1 standards, Web Accessibility by Level Access is a great tool to test your website accessibility, so persons with special abilities can access your site without difficulties.
Just enter your site URL and see the magic happen! It will show you the status of your compliance with a score ranging from 0-91%. Next, you could see a list containing accessibility violations and then best practices to remove them with actionable recommendations.
And if you want to test your application or a full website with deeper insights, they provide you with accessibility testing tools. They possess a resource library, basically a collection of web-related media types applicable to sites, documents, and web-based apps to make them more accessible.
Using the web accessibility testing tools, you can perform a complete site scan with additional tests, deeper visualization of critical violations, actionable data, and then download the detailed report. Next, you can work on those issues to comply with guidelines such as ADA and WCAG using a web accessibility solution.
a11y is a color contrast accessibility validator that helps you test whether your site or web application is compliant with the WCAG 2.1 Guidelines or not in terms of color contrast.
Color contrast implies how dark or bright colors appear on the screen against one another, especially in terms of the relative grey-scale luminosity that a human eye can perceive. It matters in website accessibility because the text and its background can be a great concern for visually impaired and color-blind users.
a11y is a FREE tool that you can use by entering your site URL and checking its color contrast. It will display certain issues related to the color contrast of your web page, app, or a chosen color pair.
AChecker is a simple tool you can use to test the accessibility of your HTML content. For this, you can choose one of these three methods:
- Enter the page URL, or
- Paste the HTML source code of a web page, or
- Upload an HTML file.
The tool will produce an in-depth report with the entire accessibility issues in terms of applicable guidelines. AChecker can identify three types of issues:
- Known issues: the tool identifies certain issues as accessibility violations with certainty. So, you must fix those problems to comply.
- Likely issues: AChecker identifies some problems as probable violations, but it needs you to make a quick decision about it. Most likely, you would have to fix those issues.
- Potential issues: These are some issues that AChecker can’t identify, and it needs you to make a decision. Here, you may or may not have to modify your web page to fix the issues. However, many cases need you to confirm that the issue does not exist at present.
AChecker provides you with a lot of options:
- Enabling HTML validator to send your HTML content over the W3C Markup Validation Service. It identifies the errors in the markup and displays the test results.
- Enabling CSS validator to send your HTML content with inline styles, linked style sheets, etc., to W3C’s Jigsaw CSS validator.
- Displaying the source to link the listed errors so that you can make modifications directly to the actual lines.
- Turn on or off the checkboxes to choose an accessibility guideline against which the tool can validate your content.
- View by a guideline and line number
There’s also a Web Service API available for AChecker, a simple REST API for validation review and save/reverse decisions made for web accessibility.
The web accessibility testing by Silktide is powerful yet simple that helps you achieve compliance with WCAG 2.1, ADA, AODA, and Section 508 to make your site accessible to anyone.
Silktide reports accessibility problems by displaying the total number of problems, their importance and risks associated, and where they lie in your site. The platform is also capable of performing the tests on your mobile devices, including 2D scrolling and pinch-to-zoom according to the WCAG 2.1 standard.
The test results that Silktide produces gives a human touch with insights such as whether or not a site is mobile-friendly, allows page scrolls, the text is big enough or not, etc. It automates these tasks and provides you with valuable recommendations with clear explanations.
It breaks down issues and then prioritizes important actions. The tool shows the pages with issues, and then you can filter it by WCAG Level A/AA/AAA. Apart from telling the errors, it shows their locations as well. You can also connect it with your CMS to retest the updated content automatically.
Monitor the progress of your team for WCAG compliance through historical graphs. They attribute actions with a difficulty rating, so it becomes easy for you to fix smaller issues and then gradually solve the bigger ones. You get the complete audit trail concerning the changes you have made to your site.
Test the web accessibility of your site or an online app using Dynomapper. It helps you review your web pages for accessibility problems and then isolate each one to resolve them while providing an awesome user experience to your visitors, including persons with disabilities.
It can test your site against a plethora of local and global guidelines, including BITV 1 Level 2, Stanca Act, Section 508, WCAG 1.0 A/AA/AAA, WCAG 2.0 A/AA/AAA, and WCAG 2.1 A/AA/AAA.
Visualize accessibility tests in your browser live to see the Known, Potential, and Likely issues highlighted with icons—test as many sites or apps as you wish without any limits per domain in a month. You can also access your online reports easily as they are saved on the platform.
You can test private and public sites and apps and utilize basic authentication, custom logins, and CMS authentication. Monitor issues using the feature Schedule that enables automatic testing as well as reporting per month.
You can also see your accessibility score, plus monitor the improvements through a graph. Get notifications of issues through emails if an increase happens with the known, potential, or likely problems on your site.
The internet is a sea of information from websites, software platforms, online applications, and more. Everyone needs this information, but sadly, not everyone is the same in terms of their individual abilities.
Hence, make sure those souls are not being left out from accessing the information you have made available on the web. Make your web applications compliant with local and global web accessibility guidelines to help everyone who needs information.