Using the Cynthia Says Accessibility Validation Service
Using the Test Your Site Now Section
To check your web content with Cynthia Says, simply go to the Cynthia Says Portal at http://www.cynthiasays.com/ - external link. On the Cynthia Says homepage, locate the Test Your Site Now section. This section is near the middle of the page.
In the Test Your Site Now section under the Web Page (Required) heading, type in the URL of the web site you would like to validate using Cynthia Says.
Under the Accessibility Report Mode heading, determine the guidelines Cynthia Says will use to validate your page. You can choose from multiple priority levels of the World Wide Web Consortium's WCAG 1.0 or the United States Section 508 guidelines.
Under the Accessibility Report Mode you can determine the following reporting options:
- Select whether or not Cynthia will fail pages for WCAG 1.0 Priority 2 and 3 errors or simply provide a warning
- Determine whether or not to include an Alternative Text Quality Report*
- Choose whether or not to include the file source on accessibility failures
Under the Emulate this Browser heading, you can determine which browser Cynthia Says will emulate when it access the web page.
Submit your site for automated validation by clicking on the Test Your Site button.
Understanding the Cynthia Says Report
As soon as you submit your page, a report is generated detailing the accessibility errors in the page. At the top of the report the name, date, pass or fail notification, and browser used are displayed. The top of the report looks like this:
- Verified File Name: http://www.amazon.com
- Date and Time: 9/30/2003 12:45:27 PM
- Failed Automated Verification
- Emulated Browser: Cynthia 1.0
Underneath the file name and other heading material is the verification checklist. This checklist is based on the accessibility guidelines you selected when you submitted the page. Each checkpoint in the checklist lists the accessibility guideline used to check the page and if specific elements of the web page passed or failed. The sample checkpoint of this report is 508 Standards, Section 1194.22 (a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).
If the page you are validating has errors, you can locate the specific instances of these accessibility failures by looking in the numbered page source code (if you selected this option under the Accessibility Report Mode). For example the graphic of the Cynthia Says report displays an accessibility failure on an image element on line 232 of the source code.
To examine this specific error, you will need to scroll through the Cynthia Says report until you locate the line number in the Source Code view that corresponds with line number listed in the checkpoint report.
After you have fixed all the specific accessibility errors and manually checked all of the accessibility warnings in report, have an individual with disabilities test the page. Remember that validators cannot catch all accessibility errors. Validating a page for accessibility is only a first step toward creating accessible web content.