Site Accessibility Resources and Tools

The accessibility of a website must be directly proportional to the percentage of viewers who can actually see, read or hear the content. After all, if people can’t observe it, how are they going to get your message?

Since web developers don’t need to adapt the coding of sites for the majority of us to see the content, it may not come natural to them to include those who do need special consideration. It does take a little bit of extra time and thought to accommodate – or dare I say be helpful to – people with vision difficulties or those who use screen readers to use the Internet.

To get an idea if your sites pass muster, visit the accessibility links below for a little help.

Links for Accessibility

HERA accessibility testing provides reports that show exactly where a site should be improved. If any errors are found when your site is scanned, they’re clearly highlighted so that you can take corrective action. A really helpful part is the ‘Navigate by guidelines’ feature, where results are categorized by the accessibility guidelines. Stepping through the results under each guideline will show you exactly which parts of your site aren’t accessible, and it will help you learn more about the guidelines.

WAVE Accessibility test shows icons on the test results page where the guidelines weren’t met. Icons were extremely helpful in determining what parts of the page weren’t up to snuff. One feature to highlight is the ‘disable styles’ button in the upper right of the results screen. Click that button to see your site without style sheets applied. If your content can be read without too much trouble, then it’s probably ok.

Readability test provides results of three algorithms in judging the readability of text on the page. If your site deals with a technical subject, or if your content is too complex for the average Joe to easily understand, your site may not fair well on the readability tests. Keep in mind that Joe Public only reads at an 8th grade level. Sad, but true :(.

CSS Analyzer won’t give output until all CSS errors are corrected. It’s just not possible at this stage with WordPress sites due to partial implementation of HTML5.

UI Test Enter your URL at Site Test for handy direct links to accessibility and validation checkers. Very helpful when modifying a page to meet accessibility guidelines.

The guidelines we’re talking about are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the portion of U.S. Law for Section 508 which requires that information technology is accessible to people with disabilities, at least in federal agencies.

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