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Podcast #32: Testing for Web Accessibility

All about testing for web accessibility — the tools, methods, hows and whys.
Download Episode 32 (Testing for Web Accessibility)
[Transcript for Web Axe 32]



  • (Generally) Follow guidelines by WCAG, WebAIM, Accessify, this podcast
  • Follow any guidelines required by law (ADA, Section 508, DDA [UK])
  • Ensure multimedia and PDF are accessible
  • Use web standards
  • What CANNOT be tested by most automated tools:
    • Color contrast
    • Simple language
    • Tab order (tabindex) [tabindex no longer recommended]


  • Automated tools
  • Review site with keyboard only
  • Review site with screenreader, if available
  • Have impaired users test your site
  • Headings used appropriately


Cynthia Says
  • by HiSoftware
  • Returns long table, listed by checkpoint, if web page passed that checkpoint or not
  • Select WCAG levels or Section 508
  • Included in Firefox Developer Toolbar
  • Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
  • Computer application–Windows only
  • Performs automatic repairs
  • Select WCAG levels or Section 508
Watchfire WebXACT
  • Used to be known as Bobby
  • Besides accessibility checks, it gives:
    • Page download size
    • Metadata summary
    • Broken links
    • Browser compatibility
Firefox Web Developer Toolbar
  • turn on/off CSS
  • validate XHTML and CSS
  • disable javascript
  • hide images, display alt tags
  • resize browser
  • edit CSS
  • much, much more!
Accessibility Toolbar
  • IE only
  • validate XHTML and CSS
  • resize browser
  • toggle javascript, images/alt
  • heading structure
WAVE from WebAIM
Lynx viewer
  • by Yellowpipe Internet Services
  • Just enter URL and give your Lynx text-only rendering
  • Also can download and install Lynx application
  • “User Mode” with text browser emulator and more
  • Easily turn off images
  • Screen sizing
Firefox Speech Browser Extensions
Mobile Web Emulators

Free Recommended Web Accessibility Tools

Here are a few good, free, web accessibility tools:

Here are a couple good related tools:

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Accessibility Toolbar for Opera

Presenting, for Opera users, the Web Accessibility Toolbar for Opera. The teams from Web Accessibility Tools Consortium, Vision Australia and The Paciello Group have developed for the Opera browser the useful toolbar that they built for Windows IE.

Web Accessibility Toolbar for Opera

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WCAG 2.0 and Accessibility Testers

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Testing for Accessibility

So, you’ve done all you can to make your site fully accessible. And now you have to test it! There are many different methods and opinions of what the best way is, as Dennis explains, and auto-checker applications are only a small piece of the pie.

Download Web Axe Episode 8

Great tools for testing web accessibility: