What is Accessibility Testing? (Examples)

What is Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility Testing is defined as a type of Software Testing performed to ensure that the application being tested is usable by people with disabilities like hearing, color blindness, old age, and other disadvantaged groups. It is a subset of Usability Testing.

People with disabilities use assistive technology, which helps them in operating a software product. Examples of such software are:

  • Speech recognition software – Converts the spoken word to text, which serves as input to the computer.
  • Screen reader software – Used to read out the text that is displayed on the screen.
  • Screen Magnification Software– Used to enlarge the monitor and make reading easy for vision-impaired users.
  • Special keyboard made for users for easy typing who have motor control difficulties

Accessibility Testing

Why Accessibility Testing?

Reason 1: Cater to market for Disabled People.

Accessibility Testing

About 20% of the population has disability issues.

  • 1 in 10 people have a severe disability
  • 1 in 2 people over 65 have reduced capabilities

Disabilities include blindness, deaf, handicapped, or any disorders in the body.

A software product can cater to this big market if it’s made disabled-friendly. Accessibility issues in software can be resolved if Accessibility Testing is made part of the normal software testing life cycle.

Reason 2: Abide by Accessibility Legislations

Accessibility Testing

Government agencies all over the world have come out with legalizations that require that IT products be accessible to disabled people.

Following are the legal acts by various governments –

  • United States: Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990
  • United Kingdom: Disability Discrimination Act – 1995
  • Australia: Disability Discrimination Act – 1992
  • Ireland: Disability Act of 2005

Accessibility Testing is important to ensure legal compliance.

Reason 3: Avoid Potential Law Suits

Accessibility Testing

In the past, Fortune 500 companies have been sued because their products were not disabled-friendly. Here are a few prominent cases.

  • National Federation for the Blind (NFB) vs Amazon (2007)
  • Sexton and NFB vs Target (2007)
  • NFB Vs AOL settlement (1999)

It’s best to create products that support the disabled and avoid potential lawsuits.

Which Disabilities to Support?

An application must support people with disabilities like –

Type of Disability Disability Description
Vision Disability
  • Complete Blindness or Color Blindness or Poor Vision
  • Visual problems like visual strobe and flashing effect problems
Physical Disability
  • Not able to use the mouse or keyboard with one hand.
  • Poor motor skills like hand movements and muscle slowness
Cognitive disability
  • Learning Difficulties or Poor Memory or not able to understand more complex scenarios
Literacy Disability
  • Reading Problems
Hearing Disability
  • Auditory problems like deafness and hearing impairments
  • Cannot able to hear or not able to hear clearly

How to do Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility Testing can be performed in 2 ways, and they are:

  1. Manual
  2. Automated

Accessibility testing may be challenging for testers because they are unfamiliar with disabilities. It is better to work with disabled people who have specific needs to understand their challenges.

There are a different ways of Testing Accessibility depending upon the Disability. We will learn all of them one by one.

1) Vision Disability

OK now let us assume I don’t have vision ability. I am completely blind, and I wanted to access XYZ Website. In that case, what is the option???? Cannot I access the XYZ website? What the option do I have? There is one-word option which is termed as SCREENREADER. Yeah, you got it right. SCREENREADER. Now, what is this Screen reader? It is a Software which is used for narrating the content on the web. Basically, what is on your website whether it is content, Link, Radio Button, Images, Video, etc. A screen reader will narrate each and everything for me. There are numerous Screen Reader available. I have worked with jaws.

Basically, when you start jaws or any screen reader and then go to the website, then it will narrate you the complete content. For Ex: I have started jaws, and started the browser JAWS will announce that Mozilla Firefox starts page, now if I go to address bar then JAWS will announce that ADDRESS BAR and then type www.google.com on address bar, jaws will going to explain somewhat like this:-

Address Bar,w,w,w,period,g,o,o,g,l,e,period,c,o,m. Also, when the page loads completely jaws will again announce Google.Com Home page.

Now if I go to Google Search, then JAWS will announce that Google search. So it would be easy for a blind person to recognize things in an easy manner.

Vision Disability

The point I want to explain here a screen reader will narrate word by word if you enter something or in the text box. Similarly, if there is link it will pronounce it as a link, for Button it will pronounce it as a button. So that a Blind person can easily Identify things.

Now If a website is poorly designed and developed, then it might be possible (it generally happens) that jaws would not be able to narrate correct content which in turn result for inaccessibility for Blind Person.(Say if jaws are narrating a link as a content, then a blind user would never able to know that it’s a link and if that would be a crucial one for that website then ????).In that case, it would be a result into a high loss for Website Business.

2) Visual Impairment

There are two categories which I want to be mentioned under visual impairment.

The first one is Color Blindness. Color Blindness means not completely blind but not able to view some specific color properly. Red and Blue are the common colors which people not able to see properly if they do have color blindness. So basically, if I do have a color blindness of red color and I want to use website which is 80% in red then???Would I be comfortable on that website? The answer is No.

So a website should be designed such that a person with color blindness does not have any problem to access that. Take a simple example of a button which is in Red. To make it accessible if it is outlined with Black. Then it is easy to access. Normally Black and white are considered as universal.


A second thing is a person having poor vision (not clear vision) or having different eyesight problems (there are many eye problems related to the retina, etc.) for accessing any site.

1) In such cases, the best thing to do is avoid small text. Because it would be a great advantage for poorly vision people.

2) Also, people with vision problem would like to zoom text of website to make it comfortable for them. So a website should be designed in such a manner that if enlarging it, its layout is not breakable when zooming the text. Otherwise, it won’t be a good impression for them.

4) Other Disability

In Accessibility Testing for Disabled audience one very major point to consider is Accessing the Website without the use of the mouse. A person should be able to complete access the website the links, buttons, radio buttons, checkboxes, pop-ups, dropdown, all the controls should be completely accessible and operable through the keyboard.

For Example: If I am right handed paralyzed, and I am not comfortable with a mouse or say I don’t want to use a mouse then what? In that case, if I am not able to access link or checkboxes on site via keyboard then???? So a website should be completely accessible with Keyboard.

Alternative Text should be there for Images, Audio, Video so that screen reader reads them and will narrate them so that a blind person can easily recognize what the  image, audio, the video is all about. In addition, to it, keyboard shortcuts should be there to easily access website and navigation should be available with the keyboard.

Also, the focus should be completely visible. When we are pressing tab, then the user should be able to see where the control is moving. With visible focus, it becomes very easy for a user having poor vision or color blindness to identify the flow of a site and also an ease of access.

User with Hearing Disability (Deaf or hard to listen): The last ones are a person having a disability of Hearing. A deaf person can access the website as he is what able to see the content on the website. But when it comes to audio and video they face difficulties. So in that case, for any Video and Audio, there should be Alt text. Alt text means Alternative text. Suppose there is any Video about how to Book an airline ticket. In that case, the text should be there so that a deaf person can read that and get the idea what the video is all about.

Sample Test Cases Accessibility Testing

Following are the point’s needs to be checked for the application to be used by all users. This checklist is used for signing off accessibility testing.

  1. Whether an application provides keyboard equivalents for all mouse operations and windows?
  2. Whether instructions are provided as a part of user documentation or manual? Is it easy to understand and operate the application using the documentation?
  3. Whether tabs are ordered logically to ensure smooth navigation?
  4. Whether shortcut keys are provided for menus?
  5. Whether application supports all operating systems?
  6. Whether response time of each screen or page is clearly mentioned so that End Users know how long to wait?
  7. Whether all labels are written correctly in the application?
  8. Whether the color of the application is flexible for all users?
  9. Whether images or icons are used appropriately so it’s easily understood by the end users?
  10. Whether an application has audio alerts?
  11. Whether a user is able to adjust audio or video controls?
  12. Whether a user can override default fonts for printing and text displays?
  13. Whether the user can adjust or disable flashing, rotating, or moving displays?
  14. Check to ensure that color-coding is never used as the only means of conveying information or indicating an action.
  15. Whether highlighting is viewable with inverted colors? Testing of color in the application by changing the contrast ratio
  16. Whether audio and video-related content is properly heard by disabled people? Test all multimedia pages with no speakers on websites
  17. Whether training is provided for users with disabilities that will enable them to become familiar with the software or application?

Best Accessibility Testing Tools

To make your website more acceptable and user-friendly, it is crucial that it is easily accessible. There are various accessibility testing tools that can check the accessibility of the website.

Following are some of the popular Accessibility Testing Tools:

1) Wave


Wave is a free web accessibility tool created by WEBAIM. It is used to validate the web page manually for various aspects of accessibility. This tool can be used to check the intranet, pass-word protected, dynamically generated, or sensitive web pages. Major functions of Web Accessibility Toolbar includes identifying components of a webpage, providing access to alternative view of page content and facilitating the use of third party online applications. It ensures 100% private and secure accessibility reporting

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2) TAW


TAW is the online tool for determining accessibility of your web. This tool analyzes the web site in accordance with W3C web accessibility guidelines and shows accessibilities issues. Web accessibility test issues are categorized into priority 1, priority 2 and priority 3. The interesting feature of TAW is the ability to generate subsets of WCAG 1.0 to test against. In TAW tool, you can either choose to test a single page or multiple pages by “spider” a site. TAW also enable us to define additional checks via the “User Checking’s” dialog box

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3) Accessibility Developer Tools

It is a Chrome extension. It does and accessibility audit. The results of the audit show accessibility rules that are violated by the Page Under Test. The extension has high reviews and is frequently updated

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4) Quick Accessibility Page Tester

Since there are some excellent accessibility toolbars, Quick Page Accessibility Tester is a bookmark that you can click to get a quick analysis of the web page. It will figure out various issues with your page, warns about possible issues and highlight areas on the page which might benefit from ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications).

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There are various tools available in the market to perform web accessibility testing given below:

5) aDesigner

This is a tool developed by IBM which simulates the experience of visually impaired individuals so that the designer can better understand the needs of disabled people and develop applications accordingly.

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6) WebAnywhere

This is a browser based tool that works similarly to the screen readers like Jaws. It assists the readers how to read the web page.

Visit Here

7) Web accessibility toolbar

WAT is an extension of Internet explorer or Opera that offers web page designers with useful features in the analysis of web page. One best feature is GreyScale feature which helps to find low contrast spots in the design.

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Myths of Accessibility Testing

Following are the Myths of Accessibility Testing:

Myth: Creating Accessible website is expensive

Fact: It is not expensive. Take the timeout to think about accessibility issues in the design stage itself along with basic testing .This will save money as well as rework.

Myth: Changing inaccessible websites to accessible website is time consuming and expensive

It is not necessary to incorporate all the changes at one time. Work on basic needs which are most necessary for disabled users.

Myth: Accessibility is plain and boring

Myths of Accessibility Testing
Accessibility doesn’t mean text only page

You can make web pages attractive, but it should be designed in such a way that it can be accessible by all users. Also as per W3C web content accessibility guidelines – it strongly discourage the use of text only pages.

Myth: Accessibility if for the Blind and Disabled

Fact Following accessibility guidelines improves the overall usability of the software, which helps regular users as well.


In Software Engineering, Accessibility testing helps in making your application disabled friendly. If following accessibility guidelines is not possible due to complexity of your web application, build one version of the website for regular users and other for disable