WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Testing for accessibility compliance


From: Kevin Miller
Date: Apr 27, 2010 2:42PM

All arguments aside about automated vs. human assessment (where I agree that
humans are needed to do it right), automated tests are helpful to catch the
easy, repetitive stuff as well as help point to where the biggest pain
points on a site are. Also, a good tool should be able to record tests that
should be reviewed manually and when that review was completed.

Trouble is, automated tools fail miserably on several fronts:

1. They assume end-users know HTML, which very frequently, they should
not need to know
2. They don't integrate with a CMS and know where an author's content
ends and a template begins
3. Their responses are highly technical and not helpful for end users
4. They are "reactive" in that they poll a site periodically for changes
and generate reports that someone has to wade through - in the meantime,
there's an accessibility problems out there.
5. Their reports look ugly and are unintuitive.

While WAVE is nicer, it's again going to suffer from first four problems

<Begin Shameless plug>

At CSU Monterey Bay we started an open-source project called QUAIL (QUAIL
Accessibility Information Library) - available at http://quail-lib.org - to
start writing a generalized PHP accessibility library that could integrate
with a CMS. There's a web service around QUAIL so it can run as a service
for other non-PHP CMSes.

Out of that came the Drupal module Accessible Content (
http://drupal.org/project/accessible_content). Now we can customize error
messages, check content on the fly, and even prevent pages with severe
(read: easily automated) errors from being published. It also allows
permissioned users to override tests after manual review and can do
reporting. There's a video at the QUAIL site.

</End shameless plug>

On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:50 AM, Mark Guisinger < <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> I'm working for a large company that is beginning to go down the road to
> making there website accessible. I'm starting to wonder about testing, as
> I'm not a tester. Do larger companies testing their websites for
> accessibility have a group of testers reviewing their pages with screen
> readers (one or more)? Or do they just validate that the code created is to
> spec? What tools are other companies using to test their websites for
> accessibility? Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Mark