In this post, we will learn what accessibility testing is and the following to the complete guide to Accessibility Testing.
Software applications should be designed in such a way that it is accessible by every differently-abled customer, understanding their needs and behavior so that they can use that product with ease. Sadly, it is not the case with most of the applications in the market, they are designed in such a way that users with disabilities find it difficult or sometimes even impossible to use them.
Websites and applications should be accessible to users with sight, hearing, movement, and cognitive diverse abilities.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility helps users with diverse abilities to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the website with ease. It focuses on breaking the barriers that make it hard for users with disabilities to use the web application.
Web applications must support users who are visually, physically, cognitively challenged.
What is Accessibility Testing?
The accessibility testing is used to verify whether a web application is built in such a way that it is accessible i.e easy to use by any differently-abled individual.
It is a type of testing to verify the application from the end user’s perspective that includes customers having a hearing, 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:
- Users with visible disabilities such as Low Vision, Blindness, and Color Blindness.
- Users with auditory disabilities like deafness or hard of hearing.
- Users with cognitive and neural disabilities such as Learning disability, memory impairment, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, Seizure disorder.
- Users who may have physical and motor disabilities such as Arthritis, Amputation, Reduce Dexterity, Muscular dystrophy etc.
- It can also enhance the experience of customers with small screens, slow internet, temporary disability, aged users and more.
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?
Accessibility testing is done to make sure that the quality standard of the website is on par with the accessibility guidelines given by the government and other web associations.
By making the web more accessible to more users, businesses can make their products and services accessible to a larger group of users.
We have rules and guidelines to comply with when it comes to accessibility, we have to follow established guidelines to prevent lawsuits against our software product.
There are some government acts, standards, and best practices in accessibility:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Disability Discrimination Act in Australia in the year 1992.
- Disability Act in Ireland in the year 2005.
- Section 508
- Assistive technology act
- WCAG 2.1
- Accessibility and usability best practices
- BBC Mobile accessibility guidelines
Example of Accessibility Testing
The accessibility testing is performed as per the guidelines proposed by the W3C also called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Some of the parameters of accessibility testing include checking the following:
- Mark-up languages
- Development tools
- Webpage title
- Image alt attribute
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 DISABILITY||DISABILITY DESCRIPTION|
|Vision Disability||Complete Blindness or Color Blindness or Poor Eyesight|
|Physical Disability||Difficulty of using keyboards and mouse|
|Cognitive Disability||Poor memory or difficulties of learning|
|Literacy Disability||Difficulty of finding words and reading|
|Hearing Disability||Auditory 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 #1: 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 #2: Turning an inaccessible site into an accessible one takes a lot of time.
Fact: It is not essential to implement all the accessible parameters in one go. It can be prioritized and added one by one.
Myth #3: 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. It is not advised to create text-only pages as per W3C web content accessibility guidelines.
Myth #4: It is only done for blind and physically challenged users.
Fact: It should be done keeping in mind to cater to the needs of a wide range of users 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.
Manual Method For Accessibility Testing
We can perform accessibility testing manually using the settings available in the OSs and devices. Here are some options available that might be in your device to make the device more accessible, using these features you can verify webpages and applications.
Some of the accessibility features you can use to perform Accessibility testing:
Vision disability-related features:
- Magnifier: It can zoom part of the screen , even the entire screen for better visibility and also it has the feature of having a lens that follows the mouse pointer/ finger movement around the screen.
- Text Size: It can expand the size of the text for better visibility.
- Cursors/pointer: It makes the touch feedback to be more visible by having a different colour, bigger size and even make the cursor easy to see while typing.
- Colour correction: It aids users with colour blindness, it makes certain colours in the screen more distinct and avoid certain combinations of colours.
- High Contrast: It makes the text and the background of the website in two contrast colours for better visibility.
- TalkBack/Narrator: It is a screen reader that describes what’s in the screen while navigating through it.
Hearing disability-related features:
- Sound amplifier: It intensifies the sound and decreases the background noise along as well.
- Mono audio: It merges left and right audio channels into one channel.
- Captions: It displays audios as text.
Manual Test scenarios for Accessibility testing :
- 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 takes 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 colour and contrast of the product are soothing for the eye.
- Verify if the images and GUI are properly designed so that they 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 by zooming in.
- Verify that the colouring 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:
- WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
- Automated Accessibility Testing Tool (AATT)
- Accessibility Checker by CKSource
- 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 colour 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 the 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 users who are visually , physically, cognitively , and aurally challenged.
- The link texts should be expressive and can be reached by the tab key.
- The pictures,icons or any visual indicator should be available wherever possible since they can describe the content for the users having literacy issues.
- The content should be designed such that users 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 they can be remembered easily for visually challenged users.
FAQ’s on Accessibility Testing
The web provides the public with extraordinary access to information, resources and helps users interact with other users with the same interest. So it is highly essential that the web is accessible to every individual to provide equal access and equal opportunities to users with diverse abilities.
Other than that it provides social accessibility to users in developing countries, older users, and users living in rural areas. Thus providing an inclusive environment for these users.
Hence it is crucial for a website to be accessible for a diverse population and as testers we have to make sure that quality standard by performing accessibility testing.