Accessibility means that your content must be available and understandable for all your visitors. Different disabilities present different barriers, so we run a multitude of tests to make sure your visitors of all abilities don't run up against those barriers.
After entering your website, we do an exhaustive scan of your site, going through all the pages we can reach to find any accessibility issues. Once the scan is completed, you receive a complete report of the issues found, starting with a top level summary, continuing with a rule by rule report of each issue found, with the ability to view violations in context, including a source view of your pages, with the accessibility issues found highlighted for your convenience.
Testing for Broken Links
Websites are constantly changing, so an address that worked last year may not work today, which is an accessibility barrier for everyone. We test all links on your site to make sure they're still working, and provide a very comprehensive report for all broken links indicating where the links point to, and where to find them on your site.
Testing for Alternative Text
Most sites use a variety of images, which is a problem for people who can't see them. Some images are just decorative, but others, such as navigational links, buttons, and diagrams, definitely convey meaning, which has to be available in an alternative fashion to users who use assistive technology.
We test for images missing alternative text. The way to provide alternative text is via
longdesc attributes on the
img tags. The
alt attribute should be present on all images. If the image conveys meaning, a short summary of the meaning should be placed in the
alt attribute; if the image is decorative, an empty
alt attribute should be provided to prevent screen reading software from reading out the name of the image file. The alt text should be short and to the point; if a longer description is necessary, the longdesc attribute should be used to point to a longer description of the image content.
Because many people are colorblind, color can't be the only key to a page's meaning. In addition, some people find low contrast color schemes hard to read. To address both these issues, our tests check to see if text color is being changed from the defaults. If it has, we report it as a potential concern; the accessibility officer can then double check the pages found to see if there's a problem.
Testing for Style Dependence
The structure and meaning of your page should be conveyed via the HTML structure of your page, not by the visual presentation of your content. For example, headers on subsections should be denoted by heading tags, not by making the font text bigger, bolder and on its own line. Screen readers can recognize and indicate header elements; they can't recognize your special visual treatment as conveying meaning. Our tests look for this and flag pages with potential problems.
Testing for Table Troubles
HTML tables can present two types of accessibility problems. First, if the table is used to lay out the page, as was very common a few years back, the table structure may require the author to present the page content in a less than optimal order. For example, all the navigation may be presented before the content of the page, which is a problem to people listening to the page content via a screen reader. Our tests will detect this, and suggest alternatives, such as providing a link from the top of the page to the content.
Secondly, while a data table can be easily comprehended visually, it can be a real problem to understand which cell goes in what column if the table has not been marked up properly. Column headings should be marked up with header elements so they can be properly associated with their data cells by a screen reader. Our tests will spot this, and flag improper table markup. Our tests also flag tables without proper
summary attributes or caption elements.
We test for several types of issues that can make forms less usable and comprehensible for users. It can be hard to tell sometimes which label is associated with a form control, especially if the label is not adjacent to the control in the HTML source. We look for form controls without associated
label elements. In addition, large forms can be hard to understand if they're not organized into logical groups; we look to see if forms are grouped into sections using the
Testing for Dexterity Problems
People who have trouble with manual dexterity find it difficult to click a link or select a form control. We test to see if keyboard shortcuts have been provided, and if the
tabindex attribute has been used on the page to make it easier to jump from section to section by pressing the tab key.
Testing for Scripting Dependence
Many sites nowadays use scripting to make their pages more interactive and interesting. That's great, but the content itself must still be accessible without the scripting. Some assistive technology doesn't run scripting at all, while other types may run some scripting, but cannot emulate the user events necessary to invoke the scripts. Our tests check for pages that use scripting and flag them as a possible issue.
Other Accessibility Tests
Other issues we test for include:
- Flickering and blinking content
- Pages that auto refresh
- If other media are used, alternative content must be provided
- If a browser plug in is required, we check to make sure a link is available to obtain it.
- Client-side rather than server side image maps.
- We check to make sure redundant text links are provided for image based links
- We test to see whether relative units of measurement (which can be scaled by the user) are used rather than absolute units.
- Screen readers need to know which language is being used; we test to make sure the document identifies this.