Web Accessibility Recommendation for Business and Organizations
The focus of this page is to provide web accessibility information to web developers and web designers.
Contemporary web browsers provide built-in accessibility features. Unfortunately, not everyone who could benefit knows how to use their web browser’s accessibility utilities. Many others don’t even realize the functions exist. To learn about your browser’s accessibility options, we encourage you to visit:
- Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Resource: Change Text Size or Colors In Your Browser (external link)
- BBC’s Accessibility Resource: My Web My Way (external link).
For a list of steps we have taken to make this website accessible, please review our website accessibility statement.
Web Accessibility Testing For Web Developers & Designers
The first web accessibility testing tool listed below (next section), TAWDIS, provides an easy way to test any web page for compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines, known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). TAWDIS also tests compliance with United States Federal Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. TAWDIS is my favorite accessibility testing tool because it provides a quick summary in the top right corner for each page you test. TAWDIS is available as a Firefox add-on.
The second link will take you to Cynthia Says, another popular free web accessibility testing tool. “Cynthia Says” enables you to test a site for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 compliance. It is a bit less user-friendly and more technically oriented than the TAWDIS accessibility testing tool.
Follow the third link to the free tool called Functional Accessibility Evaluator from the University of Illinois. It has a simple, clean interface and provides an easy-to-read summary of test results.
No automated tool can provide thorough testing. Many elements will always require human review. Each testing tool has its way of alerting you to items that require human review. Tawdis (first link) shows these elements in the Human Review Column of the page summary box, and with color-coded question marks positioned adjacent to the part that requires human review. Cynthia Says shows human-review elements as warnings.
The World Wide Web Consortium recommends testing with a minimum of two tools. If every page on your site passes automated testing for Section 508 and WCAG Level AA, you’re well on your way to providing an accessible web experience for handicapped visitors. If your pages pass WCAG Level AAA, give yourself a pat on the back. But, don’t forget to do the human testing for whichever level you are targeting.
(Free) Web Accessibility Testing Resources
- Test any page for Accessibility: WCAG Level A, AA or AAA and also Sec. 508 compliance — free tool provided by tawdis.net (external link)
- Free web accessibility testing tool: WCAG Level 1,2 or 3 and Section 508 by Cynthia Says (external link)
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator – University of Illinois (external link)
WAVE Accessibility Testing Tool
Effective January 2010, I added WAVE to my list of recommended accessibility testing tools. Previously, I had been concerned about false positive readings, which they subsequently corrected. I did not receive a reply from WAVE tool provider, WebAIM, to my question about one yellow caution that appeared when I recently tested this site with WAVE. Specifically, WAVE indicates a blockquote tag may be missing on my Home Page, but the tag is not missing. Overall, WAVE provides a clean and simple user interface. If you aren’t already using WAVE, I’d recommend trying it. Just be sure to check any apparent false flags with another accessibility testing tool. WebAIM provides integration tools for WAVE, and there’s a Firefox toolbar add-on as well.
- WAVE free web accessibility testing tool (external link)
Graphics-Free Browsing — Simulating Lynx
The Lynx View Tool is an easy-to-use online tool intended to approximate how a web page will appear when accessed with the text-only, Lynx browser.
- Lynx View – See how your pages look in text-mode browsing. (external link)
Suggested Reading: Web Accessibility
- Is Your Web Site Handicap-Accessible? — Business Week article, Dec. 17, 2007 (external link)
- Introduction to Web Accessibility (external link)
- “World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative”; (WAI)
- “W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines”; (WCAG) (external link)
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: web accessibility law (external link)
- American Bar Association web accessibility resources (external link)