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Testing for Web Accessibility in 60 Seconds

Published on by David A. Kennedy

You want to make your website more accessible, but you don’t know where to start. If you have 60 seconds, I can help.

Recently, I gave a presentation on how to test for web accessibility with free tools. That was the 30 minute version, but you can also get a broad overview of a site’s accessibility quickly. It won’t tell you everything you want to know, but it will give you a baseline. Use it as you develop your site or application.

Focus on the Basics

  1. Install the Wave Toolbar or Chrome Extension.
  2. Use Wave to check your page structure using its “Outline” feature. Do you have a reasonable heading structure?
  3. Next, also using Wave, turn off CSS. Does your linear source order make sense?
  4. Again, with Wave, test for any errors. Your images should have alt attributes (icon fonts too). Your clickable elements should be links or buttons and your form elements should have labels.
  5. Next, test for keyboard accessibility by tabbing through your page or application. Can you get to everything with just a keyboard. Visually, can you see where you are on the page?

If you have any time left, start fixing bugs. 🙂 You’ll probably find some, and that’s okay. What you did doesn’t matter as much as what you do next.

The information I shared here isn’t new. Terrill Thompson wrote about his own 10-second accessibility test. Derek Featherstone penned a post about how to be a keyboard accessibility super hero.

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Tagged AccessibilityFront End Development