`Regardless of the type of industry you are in, the importance of digital accessibility for your website is immense.
Apart from widening your business opportunities by making your site accessible to a large number of populations with disabilities, it also helps your business follow required compliance, make your website SEO optimized, and much more.
This is where accessibility testing comes in.
Accessibility testing is a concept that ensures that your website and apps are easily accessible to a wider set of audience, especially people with various disabilities.
In this post, we will discuss accessibility testing, including what it is, how it works, and its importance.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making sure that everyone, including people with different impairments or disabilities, also enjoy complete access to websites and other digital products.
The key aim of web accessibility is to cater to the entire population of different abilities, such as:
- Physical disabilities
- Hearing disabilities
- Visual impairment
- Cognitive disabilities
- Learning disabilities
What is Accessibility Testing?
Accessibility testing refers to software testing procedures that enable digital or software products and applications to be easily accessible to users with various disabilities, as mentioned earlier (hearing issues, cognitive impairments, or color blindness).
A subset of usability testing, accessibility testing ensures the testing of the application to all users and verifies whether the software application is usable and easily accessible.
Put simply, accessibility testing is the process that should occur prior to addressing accessibility issues on any website. This is also necessary to ensure that the website is meeting the WCAG guidelines that require the web content to be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
Why is Accessibility Testing Important?
Poorly designed web tools, applications, and technologies not only impede communication but also exclude a large part of the population from availing of the benefits that are conveniently available to their peers.
A recent study suggests that over 15% of the entire population globally suffers from some kind of disability. Another research indicates that almost 3/4th of all US citizens with disabilities use the web on a daily basis.
Considering these data points, governments worldwide have put various legislation in place to ensure easy accessibility of web content. Some of the noteworthy acts in this area include:
- Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990
- Disability Discrimination Act – 1995 (UK)
- Disability Act of 2005 (Ireland)
Overall, accessibility testing is important to have an optimized app or website that will also keep your website free from any kind of service limitations, thus ensuring that your organization is open for business to everyone and also helping you steer clear of potential lawsuits.
Advantages of Accessibility Testing
Implementing web accessibility guidelines during accessibility testing not only makes the application easily accessible to disabled people but also offers several other advantages as well. Among these are the following:
Incorporating accessibility practices makes it easier for people with various impairments to access websites easily and also ensures a wider reach.
Accurate Search Results
If the website is made keeping accessibility guidelines in mind, it will have rich text making it easier for search engines to find the website easily.
Lower Website Maintenance Costs
Performing accessibility testing and making your website accessible from the start ensures that you do not have to worry much about development and/or maintenance costs.
Besides, it is much simpler and faster to make changes to a website that is already tested for accessibility.
Fulfills Legal Obligations
An increasing number of countries today are making it mandatory for websites to meet accessibility requirements.
Having done accessibility testing in such a scenario ensures that you fulfill all the legal compliance requirements as necessary by the law.
Improve Usability of the Website on Different Browsers and/or Devices
Accessibility-tested websites operate much better on different browsers and/or devices as compared to the ones that aren’t accessible.
Best Practices for Accessibility Testing
Here are some of the best practices for accessibility testing:
Alternate Text for Images
The first and foremost requirement is to use meaningful text to explain the context and meaning of an image.
Apart from this, it is important to put detailed descriptions or summaries to images that can enable e-readers to read out image descriptions.
Captions and Descriptions for Videos
Another accessibility testing best practice is to put proper captions and audio descriptions for videos. This ensures that audiences with any kind of hearing impairment also enjoy watching them.
Meaningful Descriptions for Links/Hyperlinks
All the hyperlinks and buttons in the text should have meaningful descriptions. This helps people with disabilities as they often find it hard to navigate the “Click here” and “More” actions.
Managing color sensitivity well is another important aspect of accessibility testing.
To make your site accessible to all, it is important to avoid extreme contrast colors as it can limit people with disabilities from accessing a page successfully. Likewise, it is best to avoid conveying the meaning of the text using color alone.
Some of the other accessibility testing best practices are as follows:
- Tables used should be aligned with column and row headers.
- All the forms used in the text must have the form label so users can fill them easily.
- All the documents present on a website (Word doc or PDF) should be tagged properly and made easily accessible.
In today’s ever-expanding web community, inclusiveness is one of the most important aspects to take care of. To be inclusive of all users regardless of their disabilities, accessibility testing plays an important role.
Verifying websites for inclusiveness and easy accessibility allows enterprises to not only promote their business to people with impairments but also avoid heavy penalties if they fail to fulfill various government legislations laid out to ensure an inclusive World Wide Web.
If you are looking for a robust accessibility testing and production service provider, Hurix is a well-known name to trust. We have been offering WCAG and accessibility testing services to a range of different industries to ensure that your websites and apps are fully compliant with recognized global standards such as Section 508, WCAG 2.1, and ADA.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.