The best place for any company to start in making their products accessible is with an accessibility assessment and audit. The initial assessment will give both you and TestPros a good idea of your product’s initial accessibility. The audit will then assess your products current state of accessibility against current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards.
Our test process is based on the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Tester methodologies. Making use of these two accessibility testing methodologies help to ensure that every aspect of your product will be thoroughly tested.
When Do You Need Accessibility Testing
There are a number of circumstances which may require accessibility testing.
Some of the top reasons for making your information technology accessible includes: desire to be more inclusive and increase your potential audience, decrease the risk of litigation and negative publicity, building a competitive advantage, as well as improvement in search optimization / page ranking.
Design Audits and Assessments
Getting an audit during the first phases of a new product is an excellent way to ensure that you are accessible from the start. We highly recommend that you perform an audit early.
If you are attempting to partner with a government, educational, or other client that receives federal funds, and audit along with an independently prepared Voluntary Product Accessibility Template ( VPAT ) is an excellent way to show them how accessible your product is. Having an ACR ready is a proven method of putting yourself ahead of other vendors vying for a contract.
ADA Risk Mitigation and Legal Compliance
The legal landscape for accessibility is constantly changing. Over 2,000 lawsuits were filed in 2019 that pertain to accessibility. Allowing TestPros to perform and audit will allow you to assess your overall risk, and work with us to help mitigate that risk.
Regression and Verification Testing
You may already have a team that is responsible for accessibility of your product, but it is always a good idea to have trained professionals give it a second look.
Since the laws and standards are constantly changing, using an independent and experienced third-party, such as TestPros, is a great resource to ensure no element is overlooked, and to provide guidance to your team.
Accessibility Testing Deliverables
We generate three standard reports that outline your accessibility:
- VPAT - which is also referred to as the Accessibility Conformance Report ( ACR ) – is a report card used to provide a high level overview of an application’s level of accessibility conformance.
- The VPAT may include success criteria from WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 A, AA, and AAA. However, other versions of the format include the Section 508 functional criteria, as well as other standards.
- Some of the other standards that can be included in a VPAT, or other similar reporting formats, includes but is not limited to:
Automated Accessibility Testing
Automated accessibility compliance testing can be a great way to begin an accessibility assessment. Automated tools can be helpful for identifying common accessibility issues (e.g., missing alt tags, color contrast issues, etc.) and we use them as part of every assessment.
However, automated accessibility testing tools can only test for approximately 20-30% of the necessary success criteria (see our article on Automated vs. Manual Accessibility Testing), some of which are the most important to test for (e.g., usability issues such as keyboard traps, logical ordering of content, proper semantics for screen readers, etc.).
In addition to the lack of test coverage when using only automated tools, they are also more prone to false positives and negatives. For example, automated tool may detect that an alt tag on an image is present and as a result, not report it as a failure.
If we were to inspect the image more closely, we may find that the alt tag was not actually descriptive of the content in the image. As a result, a developer or platform manager may not be aware that their application is not compliant with WCAG 1.1.1 – Non-text Content.
Manual Accessibility Testing
While automated tools can only provide test coverage for 30% of the WCAG success criteria, manual testing can provide for the other 70%. Manual testing consists of the use of a variety of tools and sometimes complicated methods.
Accessibility Testing Tools We Use
TestPros uses industry standard tools to assess your products for accessibility. Some of the tools we use are:
- Screen Readers – JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, ChromeVox
- Magnifiers – Built in OS tools, Zoom Text
- Contrast Checkers – Colour Contrast Analyzer, Accessibility Insights
- Navigation – Keyboard only navigation, Dragon naturally speaking
- Code checks – W3C Markup Validator, Accessibility Insights, ANDI (DHS Trusted Tester Tool)
- Software Checks – Microsoft ACCEvent, Java Ferret, Accessibility Insights, aXe, WAVE, HTML Code Sniffer, and/or IBM Accessibility Checker
- And many more...
TestPros offers full life-cycle services for accessibility compliance, to include but not limited to: initial accessibility assessments and audits, accessibility regression testing, integration of automated testing solutions in CI/CD pipelines, remediation of non-compliant ICT, training, and more.