Is the color and contrast on your organization’s website usable by individuals with low vision? Do the images on your website include alternative text descriptions? Can users easily resize and enlarge the text on your site for improved readability? These are some of the accessibility checks that you can run on your website using a browser accessibility toolbar and automated web accessibility checkers.
While automated accessibility checkers can’t replace expert evaluations, there are a number of free tools that can help you get started analyzing and evaluating the accessibility of your website and identifying possible barriers.
Begin by installing the browser toolbar(s) of your choice, such as:
The W3C Easy Checks
resource provides descriptions and step-by-step instructions for using the toolbars and next steps after identifying accessibility errors.
Automated accessibility checker sites such as the WAVE Accessibility Tool
online web service or the Functional Accessibility Evaluator 2.0
(FAE) will crawl your website and generate automated reports for both static and dynamic content analyzing markup consistent with WCAG 2.0 Guidelines
and Section 508
It’s important to remember that no automated website checker can take the place of human interpretation of your site’s basic content and design. For example: is the navigation logical and easy to access, are headings properly coded, is alternative text for images both usable and functional? Help ensure your website is accessible for all visitors by performing basic accessibility checks. The tools described here will provide you with important information to get started.
Content contributed by Janet Sylvia, Digital Media Professional, and founder and leader of the University of Georgia’s innovative Web Accessibility Group (WAG).
View the recent webinar Tools and Strategies for Website Accessibility
featuring presenters Janet Sylvia and John Rempel. Janet demonstrates several of the tools referenced in the article above, while John discusses barriers posed by inaccessible websites and shows the advantages of a website designed with accessibility built-in from the start.
Assistive Technology Snapshot
This month's assistive technology snapshot features Liz Persaud of Tools for Life. Liz is the Training, Outreach and Development Coordinator for Tools for Life (Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program) and the Pass It On Center (National Assistive Technology Device Reutilization Coordination and Technical Assistance Center). View Liz's video on using the AT program Dragon Naturally Speaking
When Checking Web Accessibility, Involve Users
Design your website to meet standards and check your site with automated tools, but also be sure to involve users in the process of evaluating your site. Bringing users in early can be beneficial in identifying issues that automated checkers may miss and can help you understand real world accessibility issues that a variety of users with disabilities may face. Read the W3C's recommendations for Involving Users in Evaluating Web Accessibility
for information on more effectively designing your website for all users.
AccessGA, Georgia’s Accessible ICT Initiative, is a program of the State of Georgia ADA Coordinator's Office, AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Georgia Technology Authority's GeorgiaGov Interactive.