Tips for accessibility testing

Testing approach

  • Determine the accessibility standards and what level you are trying to achieve.
  • Conduct technical testing, incorporating a combination of automated testing and manual inspection.
  • Consider including user testing to appreciate practical accessibility and usability issues that may be experienced by people with a disability.

Automated testing

  • Automated accessibility checkers assist the accessibility testing process, particularly for web sites with a large number of web pages or for organisations with multiple web sites.
  • These tools can only test for a limited number of accessibility problems - about one third of the WCAG success criteria.
  • They can also support a manual inspection process by identifying specific aspects of a web page that need to be checked.

Automated tools

  • The WAVE by WebAIM is an automated accessibility checker used for testing individual web pages
  • Web Accessibility Checker by the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto checks single HTML pages for conformance with accessibility standards
  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator evaluates the functional accessibility of web pages

Manual inspection

  • Manual inspection consists of visual inspection of a web page and its code.
  • There are a number of browser functions, accessibility toolbars, and other tools that can be used to support the manual inspection process.

Typically manual inspection is based on a sample of representative pages on a web site:

  • Start with the Home page and any other main entry points
  • Include a page from each level of the navigation
  • Include a few content pages (with different layouts or types of content)
  • Include the search page and associated results page
  • Include an example form
  • Include pages that contain specific functionality (eg. shopping, maps, blogs)

Accessibility Toolbars

User testing


Click here to read more about User Testing
  • Including people with a disability in user testing allows you to appreciate the usability issues these people may face when accessing your web site.
  • While users testing web sites can provide their personal experiences, they cannot determine if the website is technically accessible, or if it will work with every type of assistive technology.
  • Users should be skilled, but not expert, with their assistive technology.
  • The web site needs to be technically accessible before asking users to test it.
  • Bear in mind that people with a disability may require more time to complete tasks and they may benefit from some time to familiarise themselves with the web site before attempting any tasks.