How do I Test my Website for Accessibility?
Testing your website for accessibility means you care about inclusion and want to open your site’s content, connections, and commerce to millions of additional people. It helps you uncover previously hidden accessibility issues, implement fixes, and produce a better website.
Why should you test your site for accessibility?
- Testing uncovers site issues that would damage the user experience for everyone, not just those people with disabilities. It can find broken links, poor navigational structures, and other technical issues that frustrate users.
- It’s a core part of compliance. You need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which detail the various ways sites need to offer content and processes to people with disabilities.
Manual accessibility audits involve looking at every individual page and spotting problem areas. This process could include your team or an outside auditor performing several functions:
- Create a list of every URL for the audit. Most sites feature recurring layout templates, and the audit results can apply the same for the identical templates.
- Review each page compared to the latest WCAG guidelines.
- Detail the problems for each page.
- Offer remediations for the issues, along with a grading scale for the severity of each case.
The market is saturated with comprehensive, fast, and free ways to test your website. With such tools, a site owner or administrator can enter their URL and receive an accessibility audit report in seconds.
Some of those tools are a downloadable audit that you can then share with your team to strategize the best options for fixing any issues.
The accessibility test should review a site in its entirety, including clickable buttons, orientation, menus, tables and graphics, forms and documents, and overall readability.
Find a tool that can produce understandable results for anyone who does not require developer experience and test a site with a “human” lens instead of using simple presets that often miss many site errors.
Once you understand the level of accessibility of your site, you can choose how to address it. You can choose to hire a professional developer that will fix the issues. If you don’t have the resources to hire a professional, you can also choose to install an accessibility overlay that will improve the status of your site. Just make sure to select an accessibility overlay from a vendor you trust.