The internet has gone breakthrough changes in the last decade. It has been home to innovation and technological advancements. There have been rapid changes in the technology, and this has pushed the website owners to continuously update and upgrade their websites to channel their target audience.
Creating a website that is accessible to everyone is a crucial part of attracting your audience. You might think your site has all the essential details. But human error is possible. A key image may be missing a description on your website, or maybe the newsletter sign-up pop up is missing a label, or the headings on the page are in an improper order. Issues like these can create difficulty for people to understand your web page. Recognizing these problems is very important, which is why there are a whole lot of web accessibility checkers available online to help you improve your website.
Manual Checking and Automated Accessibility Checking
Accessibility checking is crucial. You can carry out the checking process either manually or from a variety of online and offline accessibility checkers. Manual testing involves the execution of the process by analysts. It is a classical method, and an experienced tester conducts it.
Experts advise opting for automated website accessibility testing, rather than manual testers. Manual verification is a tedious process, and it is of human to miss out on something. Manual checking is preferable for small content, whereas automated tools can save a lot of your time and give you accurate results. The shortcoming of this type of testing is that you need trained testers who possess an adequate amount of knowledge about the barriers and the compliances. Also, the time factor becomes mismanaged in this type of testing. A significant reduction in time can hamper the evaluation process and can be a deterrent in acquiring the set level of test coverage.
On the other hand, automated website accessibility testing can be very beneficial. Automated accessibility checkers disclose numerous problems that would take a human tester much longer to discover. Let us explore the advantages of automated accessibility checker:
- Automated testing is faster than a manual approach
- High return on investment
- A reliable method, like scripts and tools, perform it. This keeps any testing fatigue at bay
- Test report visibility to all the stakeholders
- Offer batch testing
- Zero risks of missing out a vital part
- Helps to find more issues in comparison to manual testing
- Speedy process
- High efficiency
- Increases productivity on a large scale
- Accurate feedback about your webpage
However, no single tool can wholly fulfill all accessibility necessities, as the tools run on predefined algorithms, contrasting to the analytical approach. While they mainly help in the testing process, they are still not full proof. These tools can remove false positives that need additional manual intervention. Also, in terms of exposure, their intelligence provides limited visibility. For instance, the tool can raise a red flag if there is no alternate text for a graphic image. Although it will not raise a flag about an unfitting alternative text.
Before deciding what type of accessibility testing you need, you need to reflect on some key pointers and questions to make the best choice:
- Understanding Your Accessibility Goals
You need to evaluate the reason for conducting accessibility testing. Your goals have to be transparent and clear for you to understand what type of tools you need to invest. You need to identify whether you want to get the basics right on your web page. Or you aim to get a perfect site design to target a specific type of audience. You need to define your expectations and understand what exactly you want as your deliverables.
- Planning and Scripting
Planning is of utmost importance in every process. You need to make a plan that will ease the process of accessibility checking. You have to plan what type of screen readers you want to use. You also have to decide how many test experts you wish to run scripts, including sets for evaluating test scripts. Besides this high-level planning, you should not forget the necessary steps, whether if you want to test all pages or just some specific ones.
Some of the accessibility checking sites offers the best service in terms of specialized testing. Some sites test your internet presence with visually impaired specialists. They are accustomed to good as well as bad web design from their daily web use. Also, they constitute expertise in using screen reader technologies. Depending on your potential clients and target, you can choose what type of recruits you want.
- Conducting the Usability Tests
Most of the websites conduct tests with multiple testers and accessibility, and usability testing can take place for a week or two. The testing phase can be shorter or longer, varying on the type of requirement. Therefore, you should put forward your needs so that the process will run smoothly.
Choose a type of accessibility checker that will give you status on every phase and give you detailed reporting. Details will enable you to learn about the glitches and to be careful the next time. Before starting the agreement, make sure you have a look at the test plans and scripts that the reader site will provide you. The final reports should have the objective results of testing, the subjective comments of the testers, and any other additional insights. Any positive, as well as negative pointers, should be highlighted.
- Retesting and Reporting
Once you make changes on the web page, it might still show some technical issues. Therefore, a ritual of retesting is very vital. It is done to resolve any accessibility issues that are not yet solved. It is an optional step, but it gives you any added insights that were missed out. A simple verification test to see that the accessibility checker fulfilled all recommendations and requirements can create a significant impact.
The factors, as mentioned earlier, will help you in choosing the accessibility checker to best match your requirements from the abundant ones available in the market.