Accessibility is an essential part of website design and development. Over 1 billion people worldwide have some type of hearing, sight, movement or cognitive disability. So it simply makes good moral and business sense to offer the same inclusive experience online for everyone - whether or not they have a disability. But creating and keeping a website accessible against the current ADA guidelines can often be a challenge. When creating or maintaining a website, website owners should always use a combination of automated and manual website ADA testing.
Automated Website ADA Testing
Automated website ADA testing is helpful for quickly finding and fixing common accessibility issues. Additionally, automated testing software can be used to scan the website against pre-defined accessibility conformance standards. This type of testing will identify potential accessibility issues but also requires manual validation and verification by a Certified ADA Expert.
Here are a couple of examples of website ADA software that automatically scans your site to find any possible issues that may hinder accessibility. Fixing these issues of course is the responsibility of the website owner.
Monsido – Monsido’s platform gives you an overview of how your website is doing and recommendations on how to address possible accessibility issues.
Siteimprove – Similar to Monsido, this is a cloud base software that scans your website for accessibility issues.
Manual Website ADA Testing
Manual ADA testing is a more thorough approach that allows for deeper inspection and more detailed analysis. Manual testing by a Certified ADA Expert is necessary for identifying user experience issues, such as ensuring the website is easy to navigate and understand. Manual testing should include a comprehensive review of the website content, structure, and design elements to ensure that people with disabilities can access and use the website.
Let's look at a few examples of what manual testing is looking at:
Keyboard – Can the keyboard access all links and buttons on your site as it does with the mouse? And is the navigation set in a logical linear way?
Color contrast – Can you highlight the website's content using high contrast mode? And is the color palette of your design have proper color contrast ratios?
Captions – Do all videos have edited closed captions? And, do they offer transcripts?
Screen-reader – Does the screen-reader transcribe all the content on the page in a logical order?
Resize and Zoom – Can you zoom/ resize the website’s page proportionally for readability of content for all screen sizes?
Touch Functionality – Is all functionality available through touch such as activating links, buttons, and interacting with menus and custom widgets?
Visual Layout – Are page titles, headings, and forms labels clear and descriptive?
Quarterly ADA Testing
Accessibility testing should always include both automated and manual testing to ensure all potential barriers to access are identified and addressed. Any website should have quarterly ADA scans because by nature, sites are updated regularly and often by many administrators. If your website is very large and updated more frequently, consider monthly scanning and fixes.
By taking the necessary steps, you can help make your website accessible to all users and provide them with an enjoyable, seamless experience with your website and therefore your brand. ZAG Interactive has CPACC certified ADA experts on staff to help you with both manual and automatic scanning of your website. Contact us.
Sr. QA & Certified Accessibility Analyst
ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings