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Accessibility Testing

Wheel Chair Icon: Universal Icon Symbol of AccessibilityAccessibility testing for web sites is a service that can provide much more than the standard point-by-point testing techniques of most automated services.

It provides a more detailed analysis of the content and layout of the page elements, yielding optimization procedures for a variety of circumstances that can be used during the development process of a site, site remodeling, or ongoing evaluation and monitoring of an existing site.

Why don't rely on automated accessibility tools?

Several software tools which automatically test a web page, or an entire site, for accessibility guideline conformance have been available for some time.

These programs evaluate compliance with a variety of standards, including those of U.S. Section 508, the British Disability Discrimination Act, among others.

The use of these tools is a very valuable step in assuring that a web site meets these standards, but relying solely on their evaluation, neglecting to perform a "manual" check of certain accessibility aspects, can result in circumstances that may exclude some portions of the public from a site.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has this to say about manual evaluation:

Examine page selection using relevant checkpoints from the Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

Note relevant can mean: checkpoints that cannot be evaluated by automatic or semiautomatic tools; checkpoints that actually apply to the site (e.g. if site contains no audio content, skip those); and, as a minimum, those checkpoints that apply to the level of conformance you are evaluating.

Why perform real users testing?

Involving persons with disabilities in the evaluation process provides a much greater understanding of the accessibility issues of a web site, and allows us to implement accessibility solutions which have shown real-world practicality.

Internet users with disabilities provide valuable guidance during the development of a web site, but this alone does not determine the level of a site's accessibility.

Read what the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) says about involving real users in web accessibility evaluation.-

Notice:This article was written by John Britsios, Web Architect & Senior SEO Consultant here at Webnauts Net and SEO Workers - Expert SEO Company.

It may be reproduced on a web site, CD-ROM, e-zine, book, magazine, etc. so long permission is received from Webnauts Net and the authors names are included in full, and, if the reproduction is by electronic media, a link back to this web site is included.