Although accessibility checklists are important, testing for web accessibility requires more than that. Some testing requires tasks which can only be done by a human including testing with a screen reader. It’s best for a regular screen reader user to do the testing, but it’s also good for a developer or designer to do at least the basics (there was a big discussion on this last fall in Should Sighted Developers Use Screenreaders To Test Accessibility?).
Here are some good articles to help learn how to use a screen reader to test for web accessibility:
More from comments:
I came across the article A quick Web Accessibility Checklist (published last July) and have some feedback. Some points were great, but others needed some work. I was going to leave a comment, but thought the points would be good to share in a blog post.
- “Skip-to” links help, but wouldn’t put first on the list. Proper tag markup and ARIA are also big navigation helpers.
- Font resize widgets are unnecessary as they add weight to a site, add clutter to the screen, and the behavior should be done by the browser.
- A site map is not needed if navigation is done well and is accessible; the tip is more of a usability issue in my opinion.
- Don’t know what “links have descriptive screen text” means. If it means tool-tips (title attribute), then I highly recommend not doing most of the time.
- Yes, keyboard accessible dropdown menus are good, but remember that the whole site must be keyboard accessible.
- People still use frames? iFrames also relevant to list here, and more up-to-date.
- A good basic point missing is color; ensure sufficient color contrast, no content conveyed with color alone; etc.
Update, Jan 11:
I submitted a blog comment that linked to this page, and it did not yet get accepted.
Shortened URL to this page: http://weba.im/commquick
Response to article by @vavroom Should Sighted Developers Use Screenreaders To Test Accessibility?
Good to test with screen reader, but best to have screenreader users themselves test a web site for accessibility.
Dennis and Ross speak to Dylan Barrell (VP, Product Development) and Brian Kerr (Software Developer) of Deque Systems/Deque Labs. The main topic is the newly developed Worldspace FireEyes plugin for the Firefox browser which is being released in Beta status. It is a web accessibility tool that works in conjunction with the widely used Firebug Firefox extension. You can follow Deque Labs on Twitter.
Download Web Axe Episode 82 (Deque Labs FireEyes)
[transcript of podcast 82]
NOTE: As of June 28, the Worldspace FireEyes add-on has not yet been released. It’s planned for end of June.
UPDATE: On July 1, the Worldspace FireEyes beta is released! Read the FireEyes announcement.
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