Accessibility Testing Tutorial | A Complete Step By Step Guide

Accessibility Testing

In this post, we will learn what is accessibility testing and the following to the complete guide to Accessibility Testing.

Web applications or web tools should design and code well in a way that even people with disabilities can use them easily. Most of the applications in the market are designed in such a way that people with disabilities feel difficult or impossible to use them.

Websites should work the same for all people no matter their hardware, software, location, language, or ability.

Websites should accessible to people with various varieties of sight, hearing, movement, and cognitive ability.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the accessibility of websites, tools, and technologies to all people, regardless of their disability or impairment.

Web applications must support people with types of disabilities such as vision, physical, cognitive, literacy, and hearing.

What is Accessibility Testing?

The accessibility testing is used to verify if the software product satisfies the requirement of incapable people and also ensures that the developer builds a web application that can be accessible easily by everyone. (Both the ordinary and physically challenged users)

It is basically a type of testing to verify the application from the end user’s perspective (including people having hearing, and age-related issues, physical, visual, and learning disabilities, and so on).

It is popularly called the 508 compliance testing.

In short, it can be said as the type of testing designed to cater to the needs of all the users such as:

  • People not exposed to good communication resources like mobile phones, smartwatches, smart TVs.
  • People who are aged and also new individuals who do not have computer knowledge.
  • People with temporary disabilities such as lost glasses or a broken arm.
  • People using outdated software.
  • People who have inadequate access such as slow internet connection.

It is called a subset of usability testing. Some features of accessibility testing are:

  • Special keyboard which helps to type for the individuals having motor control problems.
  • Screen reader application which reads out the content visible on the screen.
  • Screen magnification application which magnifies the monitor display for people having vision problems.
  • Speech recognition application which translates the words spoken to test as an input to the computer.

Why Accessibility Testing?

The accessibility testing is done to meet the requirements of the physically challenged individuals having deafness, blindness, and other issues. This shall make the software product appealing to a large user group.

The accessibility testing also came into the picture following the legal acts proposed by the government to protect the interest of the people who are incapable. Moreover, accessibility testing is done to prevent lawsuits filed if the software product does not cater to the requirements of disabled people.

Some of the government acts are:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act in the United States in the year 1990.
  • Disability Discrimination Act in Australia in the year 1992.
  • Disability Act in Ireland in the year 2005.

Example of Accessibility Testing

The accessibility testing is performed as per the guidelines proposed by the W3C also called as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Some of the parameters of accessibility testing include checking the following:

  • Code
  • Dimension
  • Environment
  • Text
  • Mark-up languages
  • Development tools
  • Webpage title
  • Image alt attribute
  • Color
  • Contrast
  • Heading
  • Paragraph

It is always recommended to have the accessibility parameters implemented right from the start of the project to reduce the cost of fixing the accessibility issues later in the project.

Types of disabilities to support

Types Of Disabilities

Vision DisabilityComplete Blindness or Color Blindness or Poor Eyesight
Physical DisabilityDifficulty of using keyboards and mouse
Cognitive DisabilityPoor memory or difficulties of learning
Literacy DisabilityDifficulty of finding words and reading
Hearing DisabilityAuditory problems like deafness and hearing impairments. Difficulty to hear or hear clearly

Some myths about Testing Web Accessibility

There are multiple myths around accessibility testing. Let us discuss them:

Myth – It is a costly affair to build an accessible product.

Fact – It is not at all costly if we take care of the accessibility parameters right from the project design and planning stages.

Myth – Turning an inaccessible site into an accessible one takes time.

Fact – It is not essential to implement all the accessible parameters at one go. It can be prioritized and added one by one.

Myth – It is simple and monotonous.

Fact – It is rarely seen that the website contains only the text. Images can be incorporated to make it eye-catching ensuring. It is not advised to create text-only pages as per W3C web content accessibility guidelines.

Myth – It is only done for blind and physically challenged people.

Fact – It should be done keeping in mind to cater to the needs of a wide range of people and make it more usable for all users.

How To Perform Accessibility Testing?

We can perform accessibility testing both manually as well as with automation.

Perform Accessibility Testing

Manual Method For Accessibility Testing

We can perform accessibility testing manually in the following ways:

  • Verify whether the content is properly visible or not in high contrast mode. 
  • Verify whether the text justifies the content by disabling image files. Most of the time loading the images take a lot of time and also some users may not have access to the images.
  • Verify if the captions, labels, and headings are available and they are descriptive.
  • Verify if there are alternative keyboard options available for mouse actions.
  • Verify if the user manual is provided and it is described in simple words.
  • Verify if the tabs are in sequence for navigation.
  • Verify if there are shortcuts present for menu items.
  • Verify if the user knows about the approximate page load time.
  • Verify if the color and contrast of the product is soothing for the eye.
  • Verify if the images and GUI are properly designed so that it can be comprehended by everyone.
  • Verify if there are correct product alerts.
  • Verify if the font sizes can be enlarged.
  • Verify if the text within an image can be read on zooming it.
  • Verify that coloring of an element is not the only means to provide information about it.
  • Verify if the user has the control to adjust moving displays on the screen.
  • Verify if the user can access the video and audio controls.
  • Verify if the complete content of the page is easy, to the point, and easily understandable.

What are the tools Used for Web Accessibility Testing?

The Web Accessibility Initiative has proposed the ideas for initial and conformance reviews of the websites. It has given a group of software tools to perform accessibility testing like:

  1. WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
  2. Automated Accessibility Testing Tool (AATT)
  3. AChecker
  4. SortSite
  5. Accessibility Checker by CKSource
  6. Google’s Accessibility Test Framework for Android (GATF)

These tools mainly check the following parameters:

  • Examines the website’s code syntax.
  • Finds the web pages that have problematic elements.
  • Finds the web pages that have probable problematic elements.

Accessibility Test Checklist / Accessibility Test Cases

  • Verify whether the page title effectively describes the content of the page.
  • Verify whether the title is different from other pages on the website, and effectively distinguishes the page from other web pages.
  • Verify whether the images have alt with an appropriate alternative text.
  • Verify whether a page has a heading or not.
  • Verify whether headings are marked up as headings or not
  • Verify whether the color contrast ratio is maintained or not. Note: Web pages should also have a minimum contrast of at least 4.5:1 for normal-size text.
  • Verify whether you can navigate using tab to all the elements like links, buttons, form fields, and media player controls or not.
  • Verify whether you can tab away from the tab elements you can tab into or not
  • Verify whether the tab order is following the logical reading order or not.
  • Verify whether the focus is clear when you tab through the elements.
  • Verify whether you can do all the actions using the keyboard without the use of a mouse or not.
  • Verify whether you can use arrow keys to move through all the options in the dropdown list or not.
  • Verify whether the labels are left of text boxes and dropdown lists and right of radio buttons and checkboxes.

Given below are a few more points that need to be checked while performing accessibility tests. 

  • It should be able to meet the needs of the people who are visually handicap, physically handicap, facing cognitive issues, audio-related issues.
  • The link texts should be expressive and can be reached by the tab key.
  • The pictures should be available wherever possible since it can describe the content for the people having literacy issues.
  • The content should be designed such that people with learning disabilities can also understand it.
  • Avoid pop-ups as it creates problems for the users taking help from screen readers.
  • Split up large sentences into smaller ones so that it can be remembered easily for visually challenged users.

FAQ’s on Accessibility Testing


The accessibility testing is used to verify if the web application satisfies the requirement of incapable people and also ensures that the developer builds the web application that can be accessible easily by both ordinary and physically challenged users. It can be done both manually as well as with automation tools.

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