Accessibility testing is described as a kind of software testing. It is ensured that an application will be usable by people with disabilities such as hearing impairments, color blindness, old age, and other disadvantaged groups. The term refers to a subset of Usability Testing.
Software products can be operated more effectively by people with disabilities when they use assistive technology. Some examples include:
The following are some reasons why Accessibility Testing is important:
Nearly 20% of the population suffers from disabilities.
The term "disability" covers blindness, deafness, handicapped, and any type of physical disorder.
Making a software product disabled-friendly and accessible could cater to this huge market. Software accessibility problems can be fixed if Accessibility Testing is incorporated into the software testing life cycle.
Government agencies around the world have enacted legislation requiring that IT products be accessible to people with disabilities.
Here are some of the legal acts passed by various governments:
Accessibility Testing is essential for ensuring legal compliance.
Previously, there have been lawsuits filed against Fortune 500 companies for not making their products accessible for the disabled. Some prominent cases can be found below:
In order to avoid potential lawsuits, it's best to design products that support disabled users.
There are two ways to perform accessibility testing:
The following points need to be checked for an application to be accessible for all users. Check out this checklist before signing off on accessibility testing.
Accessibility testing may pose challenges to testers due to their lack of familiarity with disabilities. The best approach is to work with people who have specific disabilities to understand their needs better.
Tests for accessibility can be performed in a variety of ways, depending on the disability. Let's look at them all one by one.
Now let's suppose I don't have vision ability. As a blind individual, I need to visit the XYZ website. What are my options here?
Screen Reader can be referred to as a one-word option. Now, what exactly is a Screen Reader?
It is a software program used to narrate the content on the web. Screen Reader narrates whatever is on your website, including content, links, radio buttons, images, videos, etc. You can do it through a number of software applications. JAWS is one of them.
As soon as you launch JAWS or any screen reader and then visit the website, it will narrate the entire content. If you enter something or place a text in the text box, the screen reader will narrate it word-by-word.
If there is a link, it will be pronounced as a link, and if there is a button, it will be pronounced as a button. In this way, Blind people will be able to recognize things easily.
It is possible that JAWS will be unable to narrate correct content on a poorly designed and developed site, resulting in inaccessibility for Blind people.
Under visual impairment, two categories must be mentioned. One of them is color blindness. Color Blindness refers to not being completely blind but having difficulty seeing some specific colors.
Red and blue are the most common colors that people with color blindness find difficult to see. For example, if I have color blindness to Red and wish to visit a website with 80% Red, would I feel comfortable using that site? Definitely not.
Therefore, it is necessary to design a website in a way that users with color blindness have no problem using it.
Let's look at an example of a button that is in red. In order to make it accessible, if it is outlined in black, it is easy to recognize. Typically, black and white are neutral colors.
Another visual impairment category is someone who has a poor vision (not clear vision) or has different eyesight problems resulting in a need for assistance accessing any website.
Small text is best avoided in such cases. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for people with impaired vision to read it. Additionally, people with vision problems may need to zoom the text of websites so that they can read them comfortably.
Therefore, websites need to be designed in such a way that their layout does not break when zooming in on the text. Otherwise, it will not be a good experience for disabled users.
A major aspect of accessibility testing for disabled audiences is ensuring that the website can be accessed without the need for a mouse. All controls should be easily accessible and functional from the keyboard, including website links, radio buttons, checkboxes, pop-ups, and dropdowns.
As an example, if I am paralyzed on my right hand, and I am uncomfortable using a mouse, or if I don't want to use a mouse, then what? Therefore, a website needs to be fully accessible with Keyboard.
There should be alternative text for images, audio, and video so that the screen reader can read and narrate it to the blind, and the user can easily understand the meaning of the image, audio, and video.
Additionally, keyboard shortcuts need to be available for easy access to websites, and navigation should be possible with the keyboard.
The focus should also be visible. It is important that the user can see where the control moves as they press the tab. Visual focus makes it easy for a user with poor vision or color blindness to understand the flow of a site and access it easily.
People with hearing disabilities are the last ones. A deaf user can access the website since he can see the content. There are, however, difficulties with audio and video.
In that case, there would need to be Alternative text for both video and audio. Consider a video on booking an airline ticket. There should be text included in the video so that a deaf person can read it and understand what the video is all about.
Accessibility is the key to making your website more appealing and user-friendly. There are several tools that can assess the accessibility of your website.
The following are some of the most popular accessibility testing tools:
Wave is an accessibility tool provided for free by WebAIM. Web pages can be tested manually for different aspects of accessibility using Wave. You can use this tool to check intranets, password-protected pages, dynamically generated pages, or sensitive pages.
The Web Accessibility Toolbar is primarily used to identify webpage components, provide an alternative presentation of page content, and facilitate the use of third-party online applications. A 100% secure and private accessibility reporting system is provided.
TAW is an online tool that determines your website's accessibility. The tool analyzes a website and shows accessibility problems based on W3C accessibility guidelines.
Web accessibility issues are divided into three priority categories: priority 1, priority 2, and priority 3. TAW has the interesting capability of generating subsets of WCAG 1.0 to test against.
TAW allows you to test one page or multiple pages by "spidering" a website. Additionally, Taw makes it possible to define additional checks through the "User Checking" dialog box.
This tool has an extension available for Chrome. It performs an accessibility audit. The report of the audit identifies accessibility standards violated by the Page Under Test. Accessibility Developer Tool extension has high ratings and is regularly updated.
Since many excellent accessibility toolbars are available, you can use Quick Page Accessibility Tester to get a quick read-through of any web page.
It will help you identify various issues with your page, notify you of any potential problems, and highlight areas of your page that might benefit from ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications).
aDesigner is a tool designed by IBM that simulates visually impaired people’s experiences so that the designers can better understand the needs of the people with disabilities and design applications accordingly.
It's a browser-based tool that is similar to screen readers such as Jaws. It helps readers comprehend the contents of web pages.
An extension for Internet Explorer or Opera that provides web page designers with useful features for analyzing web pages. One of the best features of WAT is the Greyscale feature, which allows you to find low contrast areas in the design.
Here are some myths about accessibility testing:
The process is not expensive. Take some time to consider accessibility during the design and testing stages. Taking this step will save time and money.
All the changes do not need to be incorporated at once. Focus on the needs that are most important for disabled users.
In order to be accessible, a page does not have to be text-only. Web pages can be attractive; however, they should be designed in a way that all users can access them.
Moreover, in accordance with W3C web content accessibility guidelines, text-only pages are strongly discouraged.
As a result of following accessibility guidelines, the software is more readable and usable, thereby benefiting regular users too.
The Accessibility testing process ensures your application is accessible to people with disabilities. If you are unable to follow accessibility guidelines because of the complexity of the web application, make a version of the website for regular users and another for users with disabilities.
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