Web Accessibility Testing

Overview

A website accessibility test is a means of evaluating the accessibility of your website.  Because many accessibility principles reflect standard design processes and practices, site accessibility assessments can provide value beyond WCAG compliance.

Site accessibility assessments should occur at appropriate intervals throughout a website's lifecycle, but may be most useful in the early phases of the design process, when it is relatively easy to develop and manage site features at a global level.  Early implementation of accessible development principles can significantly increase access and improve usability for all users.  After deployment, site assessment can play a role in identifying maintenance and management tasks, and determining when the site is due for tweaks, high-level maintenance, or a complete reboot.

This section offers a list of tools and techniques for evaluating and improving the accessibility of your website.  These suggestions are derived from a variety of well-known sources and describe practices commonly associated with accessibility efforts.  Designers, developers, and site owners are encouraged to explore other accessibility resources, as well.

For more information on I.T. accessibility efforts at Iowa, please visit http://itaccessibility.uiowa.edu.

Testing Methodology

Testing methodology is determined by the unit webmaster and site owners.  Recommended testing issues include:

  • ALT text: alternate text for images and other non-text elements
  • HTML heading structure: properly nested H1-H6 elements, describing the outline of a page
  • Keyboard accessibility testing: all content and interactivity are available via keyboard-only input
  • Forms labeling: label or title elements for all interactive form fields
  • Color contrast: sufficient color contrast for low-vision and color-blind users
  • Tables testing: proper table structure and relationships between table components

An automated site assessment, using the Functional Accessibility Evaluator or a similar tool, can also expose opportunities to improve accessibility prior to a University-sponsored assessment.

The techniques described here are not exhaustive, but should help you to understand key accessibility issues that may affect your site.

Conformance

  • University of Iowa policy requires conformance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.0, Level AA