Website accessibility is no small matter nowadays. Educational institutions large and small are increasingly involved in accessibility lawsuits due to inaccessible websites. Here is a list of the best accessibility tools to make sure your websites are fully accessible and compliant with Section 508, ADA, and WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
What is web accessibility testing?
Web accessibility testing ensures that all users can understand, navigate, and interact with a website. This provides valuable feedback for improving future designs for users with and without disabilities.
The importance of website accessibility
Website accessibility standards take into account auditory, cognitive, physical, speech, and visual needs of your students, faculty, and staff when assessing websites.
For educational institutions approaching web accessibility for the first time, all this can seem a bit overwhelming. However, these accessibility tools can help to help streamline your evaluation process along with a comprehensive audit and monitoring strategy in place to ensure your websites and web content are accessible to all students irrespective of their abilities.
WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
- WAVE is a tool developed by WebAIM that help authors make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
- It evaluates the accessibility of web contents by annotating the copy of web page.
- It performs the accessibility evaluation on the browser itself and displays a few recommendations to overcome accessibility issues in the system.
- codemantra is an Intelligent Document Processing solutions provider.
- Its automated digital platform automates digital document accessibility compliance, captures and extracts actionable insights from raw data, and transforms documents into any desired format
- Siteimprove scans individual web pages for accessibility issues.
- Monitors all broken links and spelling mistakes on your web page.
- Generates an accessibility report for you to analyze.
- Integrates seamlessly with your CMS and allows you to automate the accessibility checks.
- Tenon is an API-first automated website accessibility testing tool that evaluates web pages for WCAG 2.0 and VPAT (Section 508) compliance.
- Tenon creates reports of evaluation results and automatically checks single web pages, groups of web pages or web sites, as well as password protected or restricted pages.
- The support formats are CSS, HTML, and XHTML and report formats are HTML, XML, CSV, and JSON.
- The accessibility of a website is tested against WCAG 2.0, WCAG 1.0, Section 508, and U.S. federal procurement standards.
- Sortsite for desktop by PowerMapper is a website accessibility checker and validator that evaluates individual web pages or entire web sites.
- The tool evaluates the accessibility of a website against accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, and Section 508 15 checkpoints in one click.
- The tool is compatible with IE, Desktop browser, and Mobile Browser.
Intent Based – Accessibility Checker
- Accessibility Checker is a free web-based audit tool that scans your website for major legislations around the world.
- It presents the errors found along with detailed explanations to provide actionable insight on whom it affects and multiple options on how to solve it.
aXe: The Accessibility Engine
- aXe extensions for Chrome and Firefox are developer-focussed.
- The issues on a webpage can be filtered as clear violations or as issues needing review.
- The report shows the number of times the issue was found on the webpage, HTML selector of the element that caused the issue, and a link to that element in the Developer Tools.
AChecker – Accessibility Checker
- Accessibility Checker is an open-source accessibility evaluation tool that was developed by the Inclusive Design Research Centre of the University of Toronto.
- The user can submit a web page via its URL or by uploading its HTML file.
- The user can select which guidelines to evaluate it against, namely the HTML Validator, BITV, Section 508, WCAG 1.0 and WCAG 2.0.
- The Cynthia Says portal is a web content accessibility validation solution.
- It is designed to identify errors in the content related to Section 508 standards and/or WCAG compliance.
- It is an online test which only validates one page at a time.
Color Contrast Analyzer
- Colour Contrast Analyser is designed by the Paciello Group for Windows Mac OS and OS X.
- It is used to determine text legibility and color contrast for graphical and visual elements in the web page.
- This tool performs assessments for contrast elements according to WCAG 2.0 Colour.
- JAWS (Job Access with Speech) developed by Freedom Scientific is used by people who have lost their vision to test web page accessibility issues.
- The tool supports MathML contents of IE and its OCR feature provides access to the text and PDF documents.
- It provides Braille input from the Braille keyboard and also includes drivers for Braille display.
Colleges and Universities must carefully evaluate the website accessibility options that are currently available, since these tools have their own limitations. Institutions cannot rely on automated testing alone to ensure their websites are compliant. They must combine automated and manual web accessibility testing tools to stay on the right side of the law and provide an accessible experience for all.