Tips for assistive technology testing

Testing for keyboard users

Many users with mobility impairments, people who are blind or have low vision and those who are older, have difficulty using a mouse.

Try using the following keystrokes to test how keyboard users experience your web pages:

  • TAB and SHIFT TAB – to move between interactive elements (e.g. links, form fields and buttons)
  • ENTER or SPACEBAR – to select or activate an element once it has focus
  • ARROW keys – to scroll the page up and down
  • BACKSPACE – to go ‘back’ (or you can use ALT+

Testing checklist

  • All functionality on the web page is available using the keyboard.
  • Keyboard focus is never trapped by a particular element on the page.
  • The order in which the focus moves between elements makes sense.

Testing for low vision users

 Many older people and some users with low vision need to make the text bigger or use different colours to make the web easier to use.

Try using the following IE browser settings to experience how low vision users see your web pages:

  • Increase the text size – Open the View menu, select Text Size, and choose Largest
  • Use zoom – Press CTRL+PLUS or CTRL+MINUS to adjust the zoom
  • Use high contrast colours – Press (left) ALT+(left) SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN keys together to turn on high contrast (repeat this keystroke to turn it off)
  • Change colours in the browser – Open the Tools menu, select Internet Options and press the Colours button. Uncheck the Use Windows Colours option to apply your own colour settings

Testing checklist

  • All of the text on the page increases in size.
  • Text does not overlap.
  • All areas of the screen change foreground and background colour.
  • Colour alone does not communicate information.

Testing with a screen reader

Many users who are blind, and some users with reading disabilities such as dyslexia, will use a screen reader to access your website.

Try downloading one of the free screen readers below to get an appreciation of how a screen reader will interact with your website:

Some of the basic navigation keys which will work for any of these screen readers are:

  • CTRL – stop the screen reader when it is speaking
  • UP and DOWN ARROW keys – read the web page line by line
  • H and SHIFT+H – move between headings on the web page
  • F and SHIFT+F – move between form fields on the web page
  • INSERT+F7 – display a list of links available on the web page

Note: You can also use the general keystrokes described under ‘Testing for Keyboard Users’ to move around the webpage

Testing checklist

  • The screen reader announces all of the information on the page.
  • Images are described and the descriptions are meaningful.
  • Headings are included in the content of the web page.
  • Link text makes sense when read as a list.
  • The order the screen reader announces the information is the natural reading order.
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