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 for accessibility
Conduct automated and manual assessments of your website for conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.
The following checklists can help you through the process of evaluating your website:
- A11y Top 10 Checklist for Developers
- A11y Top 10 Checklist for Content Creators
- WebAIM Quick Reference – Testing Web Content for Accessibility
- Easy Checks–A First Review of Web Accessibility from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- WCAG 2 Checklist by WebAIM
Automated website evaluation tools can identify 30% to 40% of accessibility issues on a site.
The remaining 60% of issues can only be found by conducting manual keyboard and screen reader tests and applying human judgment. Some issues that must be checked manually include:
- Meaningful accessible text (e.g., alt text and link text)
- Accurate captions, transcripts, audio descriptions on multimedia content
- Reading order
- Not using color alone to indicate things like links and required form fields
Keyboard-only testing (some people can’t use a mouse)
- All content and functionality must be accessible using only the keyboard
- Keys used for navigation: Tab, Shift+Tab, arrow keys, space bar, Enter
Test content scaling and responsive layout
Test content scaling by zooming your webpage to 400% and confirm that all text is still visible and legible and content reflows without horizontal scrolling, unless required for the content (e.g., a complex data table or map). When a user zooms into a webpage by 400%, this is effectively equivalent to viewing the page on a phone or mobile device.
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.