Initially, my view related to accessibility testing as a mere requirement to fulfill. However, upon completing the Trusted Tester certification program for 508 Section, my perception changed. The program provided valuable insights into the significance of accessibility testing.
It equipped me with the skills to assess the accessibility of digital products and websites, ensuring their compliance with the accessibility standards outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
In this blog post, I will be sharing my personal experience in accessibility testing:
Why is accessibility testing important?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2022, around 16% of the world’s population, or approximately 1.3 billion people live with disabilities. Therefore, complying with regulatory standards for accessibility testing can help our website get a larger audience.
With accessibility testing, we will not only be helping to ensure the inclusion of all users, but we will also be improving their experience in the digital world. And that, regardless of their capabilities, they can effectively access and use a given product. This ensures compliance with legal requirements and increases website traffic.
Accessibility testing ensures equal access to digital products for individuals with disabilities. It promotes fairness and ensures that no one is excluded from accessing information, services, and opportunities online. By prioritizing accessibility from the beginning of the project, we will develop products that are more user-friendly and usable for everyone, irrespective of their abilities.
We should adhere to various regulatory standards for Accessibility. These standards ensure that our products are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
I know that there are four commonly known accessibility standards which applies for websites:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): WCAG is a set of guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help organizations make their websites and digital content accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are divided into three levels: A, AA, and AAA.
- Section 508: Section 508 is a federal law in the United States that mandates that all electronic and information technology used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes software applications, websites, and digital content.
- European Accessibility Act (EAA): The EAA is a regulation passed by the European Union that requires all public sector websites and mobile applications to be accessible to people with disabilities. The regulation applies to member states of the European Union and covers areas such as public transportation, banking, and e-commerce.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA is a law in the United States that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas, including employment, transportation, and telecommunications. The law also requires that public accommodations, such as websites, be accessible to people with disabilities.
How to do accessibility testing
- Understand the requirement: As other kinds of test, we have to understand the requirement before doing the test. In Accessibility testing, we should understand Accessibility Guidelines and standard which are applied in the project.
- Select the suitable testing tools and techniques: There are many tools and techniques available for accessibility testing, such as screen readers, color contrast checkers, and keyboard navigation testing. (Ex: NVIDIA Screen Reader, Colour Contrast Analyzer, WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, Axe by Deque Systems)
- Plan & execute the test: priority the area to be test and use the suitable tool to scan the web page to have a quick check of the web page before conducting manual test the web pages to assess accessibility aspects that require human evaluation.
- Report: evaluate the results of your accessibility tests and document any issues, areas for improvement, and recommendations for remediation.