For many of us, using the web and mobile is easy. However, it is not the case when we think about a different demographic set of challenges. Applications must be useful for this group of users as well. That’s why we have accessibility testing.
Read on to find out what accessibility testing is and what its benefits are.
- WHAT IS ACCESSIBILITY TESTING?
Accessibility testing is the process of ensuring that your web and mobile applications are used by as many people as possible. It makes the apps accessible to persons with disabilities like vision impairment, hearing disabilities, and other cognitive conditions.
Accessibility testing works even well when you incorporate it in your testing strategies – so, don’t make it an afterthought. Try aligning it with your testing cycle and sync your results all together.
- BENEFITS OF ACCESSIBILITY TESTING
Ponder over the following benefits associated with accessibility testing for you and your customers:
- Expand your user base
Due to tough competition, businesses try to reduce the time to market as much as possible. But it is no excuse for pushing accessibility features to the end of the development cycle. When you do so, you are inviting the problems and costs often associated with new features.
You can take a learning lesson from the Microsoft browser. Even after years of being launched, it is not accessible to blind users. Do you know why they are not ‘fixing’ it? They explain ‘fixing’ accessibility issues at the end is monstrously expensive. That’s why they recommend the blind community to use its Internet Explorer browser over Edge.
- Improving SEO
When you create an accessible website, you also make it more likely to be found by the search engine.
The goal of SEO is to bring more organic traffic to your website, and making your website accessible is amongst the best SEO practices that nearly all digital marketers can agree on.
- Enhanced quality
With accessibility testing, the quality of your web and mobile applications is enhanced to a great extent. For instance, it helps in transcribing the sounds and music into descriptions for people having hearing disabilities.
- Improved automation
Accessibility testing services for an application also takes care of efficient automation. When an application successfully passes during the test automation, we can say that it is also perfect for accessibility.
- WHAT IS WCAG?
WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that are published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It is basically a set of guidelines that specify the manner to be followed while checking the system’s accessibility, especially for disabled people.
- WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS IN ACCESSIBILITY TESTING?
The WCAG is organized by four main principles or standards, which state that the CONTENT must be POUR – Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
It ensures that the information and user interface components must be presented in a manner that users can perceive easily. That means users must be able to comprehend the information being depicted. Or you can say, information cannot be invisible to all their senses.
It states that the user interface components and navigation must be operable. That means the interface should not ask for interactions that a user cannot perform.
The information and operation in the application must be understandable. That means the end-user must be able to understand both the information and operation of the user interface without any difficulties.
Lastly, the content has to be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a vast range of user agents, including assistive technologies. Even when technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible.
- IT IS MANDATORY IN FEW OF THE COUNTRIES TO CERTIFY
If you are a web designer, manager, information technology (IT) professional, you must be aware of the legal requirements affecting websites.
Did you know the U.S. is not the only country to have an accessible web design law? Here are some of the other countries that ask developers to maintain certain web design criteria:
- European Union
- Hong Kong
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Around 25 countries or jurisdictions implement W3C WCAG 1.0 to ensure that the application is accessible to every section of people. Some countries impose penalties for noncompliance – with Italy imposing criminal sanctions as well as civil liability.
- HOW TO PERFORM ACCESSIBILITY TESTING?
Accessibility testing can include various things ranging from quick checks to full audits, based on the business owner’s requirements.
- Using checklists
Checklists are a crucial part of any accessibility testing process. A well-made checklist translates WCAG criteria into understandable language. They may also be role-specific – for editors, designers, or developers. Even though checklists are not an ideal substitute for understanding WCAG guidelines, they are essential.
- Automated scanning
Using automated tools is seen as a helpful step in the accessibility testing process. Automated tools can identify less than half of accessibility issues on a page. Moreover, they can generate false positives or raise warnings that need interpretation.
Although they are insufficient for confirming accessibility, they are a valuable tool in the developers’ toolkit.
- WHAT ARE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR ACCESSIBILITY TESTING?
Have a look at the list of most popular manual and automated accessibility testing tools for web-based and mobile-based applications.
- Wave (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool)
- Accessibility Valet
- JAWS (Job Access With Speech)
Accessibility testing explains how well one can navigate, access, and understand software, especially persons with disabilities. Therefore, the tester must keep in mind every user’s perspective while testing the application.
Just like other testing approaches, accessibility testing can be done both manually and with the help of test automation tools. A tester should ensure that the guidelines are met and also see how friendly a user can use the application.
I hope you find this article helpful.