The following article looks at testing a websites accessibility by utilising online accessibility evaluation tools. For the sake of this exercise, a simple website has been created with HTML & CSS components. The site looks at a range of different technologies and devices that are used by professional photographers. The website has been provided along with submission with the files having been made accessible to assessors through the zip file titled “Accessibility Test Website”
There are many different online evaluation tools that can be used to check a websites accessibility. The W3C have an assortment of validators that check the source code against accessibility standards while user agents provide web browsers that allow plug-ins to be installed that enable users of different disabilities to access online material with ease. The plug-ins provide a good means for accessibility testing which allow for isolating source code and accessing the websites bare content. Listed below are the online testing tools that I will be using during the course of my accessibility testing and a brief description as to what it is they do.
The W3C‘s markup validation service checks the markup validity of web documents and identifies areas of the web page that could benefit and are recommended for adjustment to improve its accessibility. This service will help test the sites images and their accessibility for those that require an alternative descriptor instead of the image in its visual form. A set of alternative text descriptions are to be applied to all informational images that exist within the site.
Browser testing will be conducted to ensure that the websites information that is conveyed in colour, can also be accessed without colour. Many browsers offer this type of accessibility support so that the user can set different colours and fonts with the use of the browsers tools. This type of testing is quick as well as reliable and has been chosen because it is as close to the users commands and offers the tester insight into developer tools that are provided within browsers.
An important part of accessibility testing is checking the sites ability to read as content only and involves isolation of website content (HTML) by way of separating the applied styling elements (CSS). In order to separate the content and fulfill this testing we will be disabling the styling elements. Testing will be performed by using browser plug-ins to attempt to remove style formatting from the technology website
Vision impairments such as colour blindness are quite common but rarely spoken of. Those that are affected have difficulty distinguishing certain colours. Developers who make poor choices between background and foreground colours, are actually rendering there websites inaccessible to these groups. Accessibility testing will be carried out utilising colour contrast checkers that work on the basis of entering the hexidecimal numbers of foreground/background colours into an online checker which then grades your colour choices with a contrast ratio that will then receive an endorsed grading in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG, a recommended standard set out by the W3C