Testing for Accessibility

Don’t think of digital accessibility as a project, but rather an ongoing process that ensures that users with disabilities can navigate, perceive, and interact with your content.

Assess your website

Conduct automated and manual assessments of your website for conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.

Evaluation checklists:

The following checklists can help you through the process of evaluating your website:

Automated testing

Automated website evaluation tools can identify 30% to 40% of accessibility issues on a site. If you are a web developer, use a code linter to automatically flag programming errors, bugs, stylistic errors, and other coding defects during development. Free accessibility linters are available for a wide variety of code editors and programming languages.

Manual testing

The remaining 60% of issues can only be found by conducting manual keyboard and screen reader tests and applying human judgment.

When conducting manual testing, ensure that:

Keyboard-only testing

Because people with visual or certain mobility impairments are unable to use a mouse, it is crucial to test the keyboard accessibility of your website. To conduct keyboard only testing use the following keys to navigate your website.

  • Tab: Navigate interactive elements (links, form controls, etc.)
  • Shift + Tab: Navigate backwards
  • Enter: Activate links or buttons, submit most forms
  • Spacebar: Activate checkboxes and buttons, expand a select menu, or scroll the window
  • Arrow keys: Navigate radio buttons, select/dropdown menus, sliders, tab panels, tree menus, etc.
  • Esc: should close/dismiss all dialogs and menus

Screen reader testing

Assess your site using a screen reader. There are a variety of screen readers to choose from, and each takes a while to learn and configure before you can use it efficiently to evaluate the accessibility of digital content. Configurations include hotkeys, voice selection, rate of speech, and more.

Decide whether to remediate, replace, or retire inaccessible content.

Contact the UChicago Website Resource Center for valuable information on setting up a new website or updating an existing website. Resources are provided for website hosting, domain name requests, UChicago web standards, and technical support.

Remediate accessibility issues

Tackle the most serious barriers and critical content first. We recommend that you focus first on high priority issues:

  • Direct feedback from visitors to your website: Always respond in a timely way to requests for access to your content.
  • Impact for people with disabilities: Address issues that prevent users from perceiving important content or completing critical tasks.
  • Prevalence of repeat issues: You may be able to fix issues that are prevalent throughout your site all at once by tweaking your content or updating a few lines of code.
  • Ease and speed of repair: Achieve quick results by tackling issues that can be fixed with minimal effort.


After remediating your website, assess it again to verify that accessibility issues have been fixed. Repeat the cycle periodically to ensure that updated content continues to meet accessibility guidelines.

Still have questions? Contact the CDA to request a consultation.