Assessing Accessibility: A Simple Guide

Check Website is Accessible

Web accessibility goes beyond buzzwords; it’s essential for all digital platforms. It’s about ensuring everyone, including those with disabilities, can use websites without barriers. When websites are designed and developed right, they are open to everyone. It’s legal and affects a business’s reputation and how many customers it can reach. Putting accessibility first shows that a company cares about inclusion, which can make people think more positively about the brand and build customer loyalty.

Understanding Accessibility Guidelines

To fully grasp how to check if a website is accessible, it is essential to understand the guidelines defining web accessibility. These directives serve as a roadmap, outlining the specifications necessary to ensure an inclusive and user-friendly online platform.

WCAG, ADA, and Other International Standards

The WCAG, by W3C, sets global standards for online content accessibility, which is crucial for inclusive websites. ADA in the U.S. mandates web accessibility, with legal consequences for non-compliance. There are also country-specific regulations, like the EU’s Web Accessibility Directive and the U.K.’s Equality Act, to consider for a global audience. Understanding these standards is vital for web accessibility.

Automated Tools and Manual Testing

Automated tools are essential for fast, comprehensive website accessibility testing, scanning for issues against guidelines like WCAG and ADA. Manual testing mimics user experiences, uncovering obstacles, often using assistive technologies. Combining both methods ensures a comprehensive approach to check website accessibility.

Preliminary Checks for Accessibility

Before delving into detailed accessibility testing, performing some preliminary checks is vital. These initial assessments serve as a starting point, helping you identify glaring accessibility issues that need immediate attention on your website.

Using Browser Tools and Extensions

Web browsers provide tools and extensions for website accessibility checks. Web Developer Toolbar and WAVE Evaluation Tool identify issues. Accessibility Insights for Web offers automated and manual checks. NoCoffee Vision Simulator simulates visual impairments, and Color Contrast Analyzer checks text contrast. For a fully accessible website, manual testing and user feedback are vital.

Simple Checks Anyone Can Perform

Simple checks for website accessibility include testing keyboard navigation, checking for alt text on images, verifying text-to-background contrast, resizing text for readability, ensuring multimedia has captions or transcripts, and using clear and simple language. While these steps help, comprehensive web accessibility testing involves more in-depth examination and refinement.

In-Depth Accessibility Evaluation

An in-depth evaluation is fundamental to ensuring that your website is fully compliant with accessibility guidelines and provides an equitable user experience for all. This involves thoroughly examining your site’s various elements, from code and navigation to multimedia content and design aesthetics, scrutinizing them for potential barriers, and implementing necessary improvements.

How to Conduct a Thorough Review

When conducting a thorough review, engage both automated tools and human testers who can use assistive technologies. Analyze every aspect, from navigation, forms, and links to color contrast, text readability, and multimedia accessibility. Always ensure compliance with recognized guidelines like WCAG.

Tools and Resources for an In-depth Analysis

For a deeper website accessibility analysis, valuable tools include Pa11y for automation and reports, JAWS and NVDA for screen reader testing, and Axe by Deque Systems for in-depth code analysis. Real user feedback, especially from those with disabilities, remains essential for genuine accessibility testing.

Common Accessibility Issues and How to Address Them

Let’s delve into some common web accessibility issues that often plague websites, accidentally excluding many potential users.

Frequent Problems

Improving website accessibility involves tackling common issues such as missing alt text for images, making sure PDFs are accessible, optimizing color contrast, ensuring keyboard navigation, and adding captions to videos. These steps enhance inclusivity and create a more user-friendly online environment for everyone.

Guide to Resolve Issues

To resolve accessibility issues on your website, follow these steps.

  • Add ‘alt’ text to images for screen readers.
  • Convert essential PDF content to accessible HTML.
  • Check and adjust color contrast for readability.
  • Test keyboard navigation and improve as needed.
  • Add accurate captions to video content, considering automated tools but reviewing for accuracy.

Conducting User Testing for Accessibility

User testing is a crucial component in ensuring web accessibility. The feedback from real users, especially those with disabilities, can offer invaluable insights that automated tools or guidelines may overlook. Let’s explore how to effectively conduct user testing for accessibility, ensuring your website is user-friendly and inclusive for all.

How to Involve Real Users with Disabilities

To include users with disabilities in your testing, connect with relevant organizations and communities, request volunteers, and explain the process. Ask for honest feedback on specific tasks. Show appreciation with compensation. Their insights ensure genuine inclusivity and a respectful user experience, going beyond guideline compliance.

Interpreting Feedback from User Testing

When interpreting user feedback from testing, consider common themes and recurring issues, as they signal significant accessibility problems. Don’t disregard individual feedback, as isolated issues may still affect others with similar disabilities. The aim is to identify areas for improving website accessibility and user-friendliness.

Maintaining Accessibility in Web Design

Maintaining accessibility in web design is an ongoing commitment, not a one-time task. Let’s discuss the importance of regular evaluations and updates to ensure that your web accessibility standards are continually met, allowing your website to be user-friendly for everyone.

Best Practices for Ongoing Compliance

To maintain web accessibility, Perform regular audits using automated tools and manual checks. Keep up with evolving standards like WCAG and ADA. Provide ongoing training to your team on accessibility. Actively seek and incorporate user feedback for a more user-friendly and inclusive website.

Regular Updates and Audits

To maintain web accessibility, Keep new content accessible by providing alt text, captions, and readable contrast. Schedule regular accessibility audits to identify and address areas needing improvement.

These practices ensure ongoing compliance and a user-friendly, inclusive website for all.

Resources and Tools for Web Accessibility

The guide’s final section highlights vital free and paid tools and resources crucial for ensuring web accessibility and helping identify and resolve accessibility issues, enhancing your website’s inclusivity and user-friendliness.

Free Tools

WAVE: WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool that allows you to check your website for accessibility issues. It provides visual feedback about your website’s accessibility directly on the page, making it easier to identify problem areas.

aChecker: This tool gives you a detailed analysis of your website’s accessibility, highlighting potential issues and offering suggestions for improvements.

Paid Tools

Siteimprove: Siteimprove offers a comprehensive suite of tools for website accessibility testing, including automatic and manual checks, a dashboard for tracking progress, and resources for training your team in accessibility standards.

UserWay: UserWay provides a powerful widget that improves website accessibility in real-time. It’s a paid service with features like a screen reader and keyboard navigation enhancements.


Web accessibility is both a legal requirement and a social responsibility. Embracing it widens your audience and can boost your business. To check a website’s accessibility, utilize various tools and resources, from free options like WAVE and aChecker to comprehensive paid services like Siteimprove and UserWay. Making your website accessible is made easier with these resources.


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