In Poland, there are over 3 milion people with the certificate of disability, but in fact there are even more disabled people — between 4 and 7 million. They are a part of society that will be using our applications and, therefore, to provide them with opportunity and encourage them to use our product, it should be user-friendly and trouble-free.
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is the set of guidelines that dictate how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. In it, there are specified requirements for different levels of accessibility: A, AA and AAA, where A stands for accomplishment of essential level of expectations. All of the criteria that should be achieved in order to make our application friendly for people with disabilities are on dedicated website. It has a very useful feature there, which is a filter tab. It allows you, for example, to filter for role assignments: developing, interaction design, content creation and visual design. Missing tester? That is because a tester should have a good grasp of all the requirements 🙂 In “Contents” tab there are all the guidelines sorted into 4 main sections. Of course, not all of the requirements must be fulfilled, it depends on application content and on the level of accessibility you want to achieve. I present a few of them in the list below.
Required form fields which are not filled should be marked not only with color but also with asterisk or proper signature;
Bypass block — mostly skip links are used. Skip links are designed to be the first item encountered on a page and to receive Focus (when you hit the “Tab” key for the first time on your keyboard), and from there users are provided with links to jump the focus to content areas of the site;
In this section I would like to show you some tools that can be useful in WCAG tests and make you feel more comfortable with that scary long list of requirements on w3 website. All of these tools are free to use.
In both of them all you have to do is paste URL of particular testing site (it checks only that one site, not the whole application).
A program which allows to check the level of accessibility of PDF document.
Okey, so now gathering all these things together I would like to show you my way of accessibility testing.
There are a lot of requirements specified on w3 website, but probably not all of them will concern your site (for example that part about media files). In my work I use the table which I attached below. It is a checklist of all of the requirements with links to them, maybe it will be useful for you 🙂
What if the tools for comprehensive testing of accessibility show problems in place where there are none? In my work the most common is returning some problems with contrast when it is fine. For example, the tool sees a white element on white background while the background is actually red. In that case you just need to take the hex of these two colors (from foreground and background) and check it there (it was mentioned in the section with tools). Bigger problem arises when your background is a colorful image with some transparency (and what is more it is changes colors from time to time) and your foreground is a white text on it. In such a case, I recommend adding some dark shadows behind the text or place it inside a frame.
Meeting all the WCAG criteria often demands many hours of work of different people: developer, designer, content creator and tester, but it allows the product to reach a greater amount of users and makes the reception of our website more positive. This is also an aspect that can influence a decision whether to use the application or not. That is why, even if we don’t have enough time for accessibility testing for the whole application we should at least check sites where the problems are most likely to occur, for example sites with forms. Also if the application has sites with the same structure we can limit our tests to one of them.
While we are talking about WCAG criteria we should also remember about mobile applications, so if you want to get some info about that, there will be soon a new article on our blog about mobile apps testing 🙂
Written by Agnieszka Michnik
Software tester and business analyst at Evertop.
Sports, boardgames, travel, baking and Riesling lover.