HighEdWeb Alabama: Evaluating the Accessibility of Web Content with Free, Web-Based Tools

Welcome HighEdWeb Alabama attendees!

Sources referenced in our session, along with some related resources, are listed here. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s library tagged hewebAL.

A pdf of our slide deck is available here: Evaluating the Accessibility of Web Content with Free, Web-Based Tools. If this document is not accessible to you, please contact us so we can get it to you in a format that is.

Thanks for visiting!

The Case for Accessibility

Accessibility – W3C
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” -Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
“To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.”

Designing for accessibility benefits everyone

Shared Web Experiences: Barriers Common to Mobile Device Users and People with Disabilities
“People with disabilities using computers have similar interaction limitations as people without disabilities who are using mobile devices. Both experience similar barriers when interacting with websites and web applications. There is also significant overlap between the design solutions for both.”

Financial Factors in Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization
“This page provides guidance on addressing financial factors in a business case for Web accessibility.” See especially “Increases findability with search engine optimization (SEO)” and “Increases usability.”

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Helping users find mobile-friendly pages
“A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped”

In higher education

TLC Accessibility Update, Dr. Rachel Thompson

WebAIM: United States Laws – Introduction to US Laws
“The following sections cover key US laws pertinent to web accessibility. This information will help you understand the conditions under which you must create web content that is accessible to individuals with disabilities under US law.”

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

WebAIM: Accessibility Evaluation Tools
“Evaluation tools that can be used to determine whether or not web content is accessible.”

Strengths & Limitations of Automated Testing

Strengths and Limitations of Automated Tools
Strengths and limitations of automated accessibility tools, from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Free, Web-Based Tools

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List
“Web accessibility evaluation tools are software programs or online services that help you determine if web content meets accessibility guidelines. This page provides a list of evaluation tools that you can filter to find ones that match your particular needs. To determine what kind of tool you need and how they are able to assist you, see Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools.”

Accessibility Developer Tools – Chrome Web Store
“This extension will add an Accessibility audit, and an Accessibility sidebar pane in the Elements tab, to your Chrome Developer Tools.”

ChromeVox – Chrome Web Store
“The ChromeVox screen reader is an extension to Chrome that brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users.”

WordPress › Access Monitor « WordPress Plugins
“Access Monitor runs accessibility tests of your WordPress site, either on the front-end or in the administration. It runs an automated scan of your site using the Tenon.io web accessibility service.”

WordPress › WP Accessibility « WordPress Plugins
“This plug-in helps with a variety of common accessibility problems in WordPress themes. While most accessibility issues can’t be addressed without directly changing your theme, WP Accessibility adds a number of helpful accessibility features with a minimum amount of setup or expert knowledge.”

tota11y – an a11y visualization toolkit
“tota11y helps visualize how your site performs with assistive technologies. The process of testing for accessibility (a11y) is often tedious and confusing. In many cases, developers must have some prior accessibility knowledge in order to make sense of the results. Instead, tota11y aims to reduce this barrier of entry by helping visualize accessibility violations (and successes), while educating on best practices.”

Introducing aXe by Deque!
“Deque System’s aXe (The Accessibility Engine) open source library is a lightweight (~100 KB), fast, portable JavaScript library that executes automated accessibility testing inside your testing framework or browser of choice.”

WAVE Web Accessibility Tool
“WAVE is developed and made available as a free community service by WebAIM. Originally launched in 2001, WAVE has been used to evaluate the accessibility of millions of web pages.”


Redefining Disability according to the World Health Organization
Valerie Fletcher on redefining disability: “Disability is a phenomenon of the experience that occurs by the individual intersecting with the environment, including physical, information, communication, social and policy environments.”