Testing for Digital Accessibility

Some products are more accessible than others, but very few products are totally accessible. This is why it is important for all vendors that we work with to be willing to make a commitment to address their products accessibility issues. 

It is important to have some knowledge about how to test their product—whether it’s a database, a publishing platform, or a tool. You don’t need to be an expert.

Come up with a list of concerns and questions and send them to the vendor ahead of time. You are opening a dialogue about your accessibility concerns, you can even ask them to demonstrate the accessibility of their product. 

Sample Questions to Ask Vendors

Responses to the following questions can help reveal the depth and breadth of a vendor’s commitment to inclusive design and accessibility. You may also request an Accessibility Roadmap from the vendor. This will show the priority of the product becoming more compliant.

  1. Can users perform all functions without a mouse?
  2. Has the tool, product, or site been tested using assistive technologies?
    1. If so, which assistive technology tools were used in testing?
    2. What methods were used?
    3. What were the findings?
    4. Who did the testing?
  3. If the product supports video and/or audio, does it support captions?
  4. What other accessibility documentation is available?
  5. What are common accessibility-related issues with the products?
  6. What are your plans for improving accessibility and do you have a timeline?

Tools for Automated Testing 

Note: Resources are listed from “easy to use” to “requires specialist knowledge”

Third Party Browser Extensions

Automated Accessibility testing cannot replace manual testing by an actual human being, but it can be a good first step.

Browsers’ Built-in Accessibility Tools

Modern versions of major browsers have their own accessibility tools built into their developer tools. For more information, see the documentation for the tools available in your preferred browser.

Color Checkers

  • Colour Contrast Analyser
    Easy to use free application, available for Windows and Mac. Check foreground & background color combinations using an eyedropper tool from anywhere on the screen, including non-web based applications
  • WCAG Contrast Checker for Firefox
    Firefox extension displays color contrast ratios in a sidebar, and flags the color combinations that fail WCAG contrast requirements.
  • WebAIM Color Contrast Checker
    Online tool includes a feature to “lighten” or “darken” existing colors until you find a combination that meets WCAG 2.1 requirements. 
  • Color-reliant Link Contrast Checker
    To check the contrast of web links
  • Chrome High Contrast extension
    High Contrast lets you browse the web with your choice of several high-contrast color filters designed to make it easier to read text.      

Tools for Manual Testing