Accessibility Testing Resources Needed

Hi everyone,
Does anyone have a good resource for learning accessibility testing? I’m interested in adding it to my skill set and would love to know if there’s a resource that someone found valuable.

3 Likes from @rightsaidjames would be the first thing I think of, which he showed at TestBash Manchester last year.

It gives a good overview, as well as links to tools and sites you can use for accessibility testing.


Thanks for the plug @nufenix! The slides for the TestBash Manchester version of the talk are here:

Feel free to make use of the content however you like. Not sure about some of the images though - I think fair use applies when I’m giving examples of products/websites that are relevant to my points, but I’m not 100% sure about that.


I’m assuming you’re talking about web accessibility (as opposed to an installable program or a mobile app or something?).

@rightsaidjames’ blogpost is :100: and I’d point to there if I’d not been beaten to it. I like just using the keyboard to try and find my way around sites, it’s a pretty quick/low key way of seeing how people can use your site.

Think about images and if you’re using images to convey information and how that works. Think about interactions that are fiddly (both in terms of the process and steps as well as the size and shape of any buttons people need to select) and how people might need assistance doing those.

Think about screenreaders and people who can’t use a mouse, but also think about usability as a whole and how much sense your website layout makes sense, and that will go some way to making sure a lot of people will be able to use your website (accessibility: also for the elderly, people with information processing issues, and people in a really distracting environment so they can’t deal with a high level, multi step process with little instruction, not just blind/deaf users).


Here, Joe Colantonio shared the list of accessibility testing tools. I hope it helps.

Onur Baskirt

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Hi Jenna, accessibility is a great subject and one with lots of facets. Here are a few things I’ve come across in my journey.
If you like to watch there’s a couple of things I’d recommend. A free Udacity course at and this series at

Microsoft inclusive design shows how accessibility doesn’t always equal disability

This article by Karl Groves from 2013 might be a good starting point if you are just starting out

I learnt a lot from and their free checklists are useful as well as which is Web Accessibility in Mind, has lots of information on ARIA and screen reader use.

A good introduction is on Medium by Emily Mears about getting started with accessibility here

If you are looking to make a case for doing this a recent post from late last year by Mark Rogers on the PowerMapper website lists different government standards for accessibility

In terms of tools I have the WAVE extension on chrome, and NVDA screen reader which is best used in Firefox. You can get a bookmarklet here that when dragged to your toolbar I believe on any browser can show you a list of links, landmarks and headings which is how a screen reader can see the page. But there’s also aXa, a11y, total11y or HTML_Codesniffer to check out too.

If you want to look at automation which is often hard to do with accessibility the article quoted by Onur is really good.

Gem above mentioned images and their use and it’s important to ensure they have alt-text.

Above all, if you have a site that is accessible it makes it better for everyone who uses it so I’d look into universal design. Oh and follow some experts on twitter like Karl Groves, Manuel Matuzocic, Carie Fisher amongst others.

Good luck on your journey Jenna

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Some good resources on Accessibility Testing, I have personally used are-
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

Hi Jenna,

To my knowledge, the WCAG-EM guidelines are good to reference as a methodology when approaching accessibility testing:

Otherwise, tools like Pa11y or WAVE are good for smoke tests to catch obvious accessibility bugs. As it stands though, automated tools will probably only capture 20% of the bugs out there so it’s really essential to go through it manually with a variety of assistive technologies. The other complication is that adhering strictly to standards like WCAG is not enough to make a website or application accessible. It is perfectly possible to build a website or application that meets WCAG standards but is otherwise unusable or inaccessible by someone with accessibility needs, so the approach really needs to be testing with those technologies.

Hopefully that helps. That’s just what I’ve picked up in my experience.

Hi @clyde I’m really interested if you could expand on this please? Are you referring to specific assistive technologies or something like formatting e.g. justifying text? Thanks.

I posted this a long time ago lol!

Clyde is correct though, an app can meet WCAG and not actually be accessible. This is usually when context for accessibility (ARIA labels, Alt-text, etc) are not meaningful for the user or when the app isn’t linear so the user gets lost.

The best way to ensure your app is truly accessible is to test for accessibility and then hold usability labs with disabled folks to ensure its actually meeting their needs.

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So long ago! I’ve learnt so much since I replied to this post!

Ah, ok. So I think that means that the guidelines are not wrong, just that they don’t cover everything / all scenarios.
I had an interesting conversation with someone who was proud that their images all had succinct descriptions like ‘a plant’ ‘a boat’ etc. but disagreed when I suggested that they would be better with no text and hidden as they were all decorative. The response was, ‘images must have alt-text.’

I just realized the date, haha.

There are other ways a website can meet the guidelines but be unusable. Having the required elements to navigate but the form controls be in a sequence that is confusing is one way. A great deal of the time developers may implement WAI-ARIA controls to make something accessible but with websites that are heavily scripted, the WAI-ARIA controls can slow the performance of the site so much that screen readers can’t function on them. So, although they technically check the box, these choices can render the site unusable by way of incredibly slow performance.

Facebook is a fairly good example of that. Up until this last year or so, the performance of Facebook was so awful with assistive technology that people would not use the site. Most people I know that use assistive technology go to mobile versions of the website by default because it’s stripped down to the bare information for the sake of performance.

I think the biggest thing is that the guidelines are open to interpretation and it’s impossible to establish accessibility in a purely programmatic way. It’s subjective and that’s why manual testing, especially from people who use assistive technologies as part of their everyday lives, is really essential to getting accessibility right.

Also, I definitely agree with your approach. Anything decorative really should be hidden.

Some great points there thank you Clyde :+1:

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