Accessibility Testing Tools

WAI's Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) invites your comments on an updated draft of Easy Checks - A First Review of Web Accessibility.

Easy Checks helps you answer the question, "Does this web page address accessibility?". It provides simple steps for anyone who can use the web; no accessibility knowledge or skill is required. The checks cover just a few accessibility issues and are designed to be quick and easy, rather than definitive.

The updated draft posted today includes new sections on:

Dr. Don Martin addresses questions often asked by students with disabilities who have been admitted to graduate school in the May 17, 2013 issue of US News and World Report.  “If you have a disability and are planning to start graduate school soon, you are most definitely not alone. According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, students with disabilities were almost 11 percent of postsecondary students in 2008,” says Dr. Martin, USNews.com Negotiate Graduate School as a Student with Disabilities.

The Disabilities Services Offices at most universities assist students with a declared disability.  They might help students to find accessible housing or secure class materials such as books, articles, and notes in accessible formats like eBooks and braille.  They also supply assistive technologies like readers and real-time captioning services. 

Interactive Accessibility has a long record of involvement in secondary and graduate school accessibility.  Kathy Wahlbin, President and CEO, has been a frequent speaker at conferences educating people on the importance of accessibility and has provided accessibility training for many universities.  She has been a featured speaker at the CSUN and Accessing Higher Ground conferences.  She also teaches a college course on Universal Design and Accessibility for the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“Universities have been the proving ground for many web-based technologies.  Online classes where students download lessons and upload homework, participate on discussion boards, and view live class lectures have pushed the envelope for Web Accessibility.  Interactive Accessibility has been honored to be a part of this frontier.” Says Kathy, “Our team is dedicated to making the World Wide Web accessible for all users. We love being a part of the challenge of integrating web formats like smart phones and tablets in an accessible way. Educating the newest class of developers in accessible methods is one of the best ways to ensure accessible web content in the future”

While many websites claim Section 508 or WCAG conformance based on the evaluation of a tool, the truth is that at best the site passed the automatic accessibility features that can be judged electronically.

How do I test for accessibility?  In short, there are two ways to test the website’s user accessibility: human evaluation or digital evaluation tools. But the most successful approach is to use a combination of both. That’s because no single tool – no matter how expensive it is – can judge every component that affects accessibility. 

Have you been told that you must make a PDF document accessible? Assuming that you are either an old hand at this process or have now learned what it means for a PDF to be accessible, you now face the task of actually doing the tags work in Acrobat. If you have done this before with any PDF of more than a few pages you know that it involves developing a process and then settling in for a fun time of clicking, typing, and dragging.

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