WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Testing for accessibility compliance


From: Langum, Michael J
Date: Apr 29, 2010 7:09AM

This is a great discussion. But in addition to automated vs. manual testing, there is the practical matter that rigorous testing requires more time and resources that many have available.

If there is anyone who manually tests all content (HTML, PDF, et al) in a moderate to large production environment, and still keep management happy, I'd like to know your secrets.

-- Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Kevin Miller
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 3:43 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Testing for accessibility compliance

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 above.

<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