Do you test your web application for accessibility?

Published on
November 3, 2021
Monique Swanepoel
Content Specialist

It's important to be up to date with the latest standards in accessibility testing. Here's what you need to know - and how Virtuoso can help!

We ran a LinkedIn poll asking this question, and 71% of respondents answered that they test for accessibility manually. Of course, we’re very happy to hear that people are indeed testing for accessibility and taking active steps to ensure that the internet is accessible, usable, and enjoyable for everyone. There’s still some work to be done, though - and intelligent automation is a great way to speed up testing for accessibility at scale in the cloud. 

What is accessibility testing?

Accessibility testing is the process of running tests on your web application to make sure that it is usable for the widest possible audience, including users with disabilities. These disabilities include hearing loss and disabilities, visual impairments such as blindness and color blindness, and other conditions that affect a user’s ability to interact with a mobile or desktop device. Successful accessibility testing helps ensure that users can navigate and use the web application as intended without running into barriers.

Accessible web applications aim to improve the experience of users with disabilities by using processes, tools, and guidelines such as:

  • Plan for keyboard site navigation from the start of the design process
  • Limit the use of acronyms and abbreviations where possible
  • Avoid Unicode characters
  • Add labels to form fields
  • Use closed captions for dynamic content
  • Speech recognition
  • Text zoom
  • Color contrast
  • Comprehensive alt-text
  • Reduce flash content
  • Screen readers
  • Keyboard only access
  • WCAG principles
  • End-user testing by users with disabilities
  • Accessibility toolbars

Accessibility standards

There are numerous standards worldwide, and some governments may require minimum accessibility standards for web applications particularly when they are part of public services and offerings. Always check your local or state accessibility requirements to make sure that your web application is compliant! Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of web accessibility lawsuits, making it all the more important that you are up to date and compliant with the mandated web accessibility standards for your web application. With Virtuoso’s quality-first approach, incorporating accessibility testing into your quality assurance approach is easier than ever.

One of the predominant worldwide standards for accessibility is WCAG, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines published by the W3C WAI (World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative). The W3C WAI develops international web standards and provides documentation to help companies achieve accessibility for their web applications. You can read more about the WCAG standards here

I’ve never tested for web accessibility. What now?

The best way for first-time accessibility users to start testing is to first take a look at your market and customers. Are you aware of any users who require accessibility? What type of product are you working on, and how feasible is it for you to adopt accessibility testing within a reasonable amount of time? These are the types of questions you could raise with your team and product managers to get the wheels rolling. 

There are also loads of resources online to check out. YouTube videos that cover tips for accessibility testing like this one from Google Chrome Developers are a great place to start. W3C WAI also offers tutorials on accessibility for different roles including web developers, designers, content authors, and product managers. If you are overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and guidelines available on some of these sites, articles such as The 6 Simplest Web Accessibility Tests Anyone Can Do is a perfect place to start. Once you have a basic understanding of the topic, you can delve in a little deeper and see what would work for your web application.  

You can also follow Twitter channels for the latest trends and insights in accessibility for web applications:

Whatever your testing needs may be, Virtuoso is here to help. Once you’ve determined what you want to test, feel free to book a demo for a first-hand experience of Virtuoso’s quality-first test automation solution. 

Are you a seasoned accessibility tester? Please get in touch - we’d love to see how well Virtuoso holds up to your testing needs!

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