Test your website’s accessibility

1. Check your website's accessibility for people with visual disabilities using a tool like Check My Colours, WebAim's color contract checker, or Color Oracle.

Visual disability typically means blindness, low vision, or color blindness. In Check My Colours, you can enter your website’s URL to receive feedback on what your website can improve to be more accessible to people with visual disabilities. In WebAim‘s color contrast checker, you can provide two colors from your website to see if they pass accessibility guidelines for people with visual disabilities.

2. Provide captions in all multimedia content, and provide transcripts for all audio and multimedia content, to optimize your website for people with hearing disabilities.

This applies to anyone who suffers from deafness or is simply hard of hearing.

3. Optimize your website's accessibility for people with motor disabilities by making sure all functions are available from the keyboard and by providing a method for skipping over long lists of links or lengthy content.

Motor disability is most commonly the inability to use a mouse, slow response time, or otherwise limited motor control. This category covers an exceptionally wide range of disabilities including spinal cord injury, arthritis, ALS, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease. Make sure your pages are error-tolerant and check with users if they’re sure they want to delete a file. Don’t add small links or moving elements.

4. Check your website's accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities.

Cognitive disability includes everything from learning disabilities to distractibility and memory deficit. People might have difficulty with memory, problem solving, attention, reading, linguistic, and verbal comprehension, math comprehension, or visual comprehension. To optimize your website for people with cognitive disabilities, check the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) recommendations. Here are the 12 basic WCAG 2.0 guidelines: Guideline 1.1: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols, or simpler language. Guideline 1.2: Provide alternatives for time-based media. Guideline 1.3: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Guideline 1.4: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard. Guideline 2.2: Provide users enough time to read and use content. Guideline 2.3: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures. Guideline 2.4: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are. Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable. Guideline 3.2: Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways. Guideline 3.3: Help users avoid and correct mistakes. Guideline 4.1: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

5. Use automated web accessibility tools like WAVE or Accessibility Developer Tools to identify accessibility problems on your website.

6. Employ expert web accessibility reviewers who use the Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology to identify accessibility problems on your website.

Expert reviewers can identify most of, if not all of, the accessibility problems that exist on your site using the five-step Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG) 2.0 process: Define the evaluation scope, Explore the target site, Select a representative sample, Audit the selected sample, and Report the evaluation findings

7. Conduct user testing with people who have disabilities to support automated tools and expert reviewers.

Observe people with disabilities using and interacting with your website while they are commenting on their thought process out loud. Pay attention to what they say and experience. Conduct user tests in-person or remotely. When you test in person – you go to test users or have them come to you – make sure you film the process. However, testing remotely by using online user testing tools is the cheapest and fastest way. To conduct a user test, first create user testing protocols – tasks that you want the user to complete. Then recruit testers from your target audience. In most cases, 5 to 10 test users are adequate.