Top 20 Accessibility Testing Tools for Web Applications

Overview of the best web accessibility testing tools and techniques in the market:

Accessibility is the term which refers to the accessibility of any software system to people without or with physical disability or impairments.Such impairments include the following

  • Visual Impairments – Color blindness, low vision, complete or partial blindness etc
  • Hearing Disabilities- Hyperacusis, Deafness etc
  • Learning Disabilities – Dyslexia
  • Cognitive Impairments – Autism or any kind of head injury
  • Deftness, paralysis, cerebral palsy etc

Accessibility Testing Tools

There are some dedicated software tools which are used so far to check the Accessibility of the software system.

After reading this article you will be in a position to have information of most popular Accessibility Testing Tools.

What is Accessibility Testing?

  • Basically, Accessibility Testing is the subset of Usability Testing.
  • Accessibility Testing is performed to check whether the system is accessible even by people with physical disabilities mentioned above.
  • There are some good applications which are one step ahead to check for,
    • The performance of a system in areas with poor communication infrastructure
    • People with less computer literacy and restricted access
    • People who are still using old systems without advanced equipment

=>Recommand Read Web Accessibility Testing

What is WCAG?

  1. WCAG  is an acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines published by  Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
  2. WCAG is a set of guidelines that specify the manner which has to be followed to check the system accessibility especially for people with disabilities.
  3. The current version of WCAG is 2.0 published in December 2008 till now.
  4. Some Principles defined by WCAG for system accessibility are as follows
    • Perceivable
    • Operable
    • Understandable
    • Robust

Following tasks are being verified by Accessibility Testing Tools:

  1. Descriptive Link Text
  2. Avoid Pop-ups
  3. Small and simple sentences
  4. Simple language
  5. Easy navigations
  6. Use of CSS layouts instead of HTML

According to working specifications, Accessibility Testing Tools are categorized as:

  1. Screen Reader Software: Read out the contents on the screen
  2. Speech Recognition Software: Converts the spoken words into text
  3. Special Keyboard: Ease of typing using this keyboard especially people with motor impairments
  4. Screen Magnification Software: Dedicated to vision-impaired users thus it is used to enlarge the display such that the reading will be easier

Now we will review some Accessibility  Testing Tools one by one that makes this process easier to perform.

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Best Web Accessibility Testing Tools and Solutions

Here is the list of best manual and automated accessibility testing tools for web-based and mobile applications.

#1) WAVE

Wave Logo

  • WAVE is  a tool developed by WebAIM for evaluating accessibility of web contents
  • WAVE tool is  available online as well WAVE toolbar is for Firefox browser
  • It is web accessibility evaluation tool which evaluates the accessibility of web contents by annotating the copy of web page
  • It performs the accessibility evaluation on browser itself and do not save anything on server
  • WAVE also show some recommendations to overcome accessibility issues in the system

=>Want to learn more about this tool we have a detailed description here

Official Link: WAVE

 #2) JAWS

JAWS Logo

  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is tool developed by Freedom Scientific used as Blindness Solution
  • It is the most popular Screen Reader for the customers who have lost their vision
  • Some of the good features of JAWS includes two multi-lingual synthesizers Viz. Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive
  • Works with IE, Firefox and Microsoft Office and also supports Windows with its touch screen gesture
  • Fast Information Access and time-saving using Skim Reading
  • Supports MathML contents of IE and its OCR feature provides access to the text and PDF documents
  • Provides Braille input from the braille keyboard and also includes drivers for braille display

Official Link: JAWS

#3) Dynomapper

DynoMapper Logo

  • Dynomapper is Visual Sitemap Generator of 4 types Default, Circle, Tree, and Folder
  • It evaluates HTML contents of the website and can create sitemap from any URL
  • It imports XML files to generate sitemap
  • It also provides content inventory and audit for filtering pages, files, images etc.
  • Possesses Advanced Crawler Options to arrange links and follow subdomains
  • You can edit and customize sitemaps using colors and set it to its maximum level

Official Link: Dynomapper

#4) SortSite

SortSite Logo

  • SortSite is a popular one click user experience testing tool for Mac, OS X, and Windows
  • Evaluates accessibility of a website against Accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0 110  checkpoints, WCAG 1.0 85 checkpoints and Section 508 15 US 47 checkpoints
  • Compatible with IE, Desktop browser, and Mobile Browser
  • Checks for English and French Spellings and custom dictionary for words out of the box
  • Checks for HTTP error codes and script errors
  • Validates HTML, CSS and XHTML

Official Link: SortSite

#5) Accessibility Checker by CKSource

Accessibility Checker Logo

  • Accessibility Checker is created in CKEditor that inspects the level of accessibility
  • Helps to solve accessibility issues quickly with optimized user interface
  • Evaluates accessibility in 3 steps such as Content Validation, Report Issues, Fix the issue
  • Issues are categorized as Error, Warning, and Notice
  • Provides Accessibility Checking Engine for flexibility
  • The Quick Fix feature automatically fixes common problems and saves time
  • You can also add changes manually as per requirements, This can be done  using the Listening Mode feature

Official Link: Accessibility Checker by CKSource

#6) Accessibility Valet

AccessibilityValet

  • Accessibility Valet comes with free as well as paid subscription and allows accessibility check against W3C  WCAG standards or Section 508
  • One URL at a time can be accessed with free subscription
  • If you want to evaluate multiple URLs then you should go for paid subscription
  • Supports HTML reporting represented in normalized form, highlighting valid and fake markup for better differentiation
  • Also, helps to recognize misplaced contents
  • Reports show necessary accessibility warnings

Official Link: Accessibility Vallet

#7) EvalAccess 2.0

EvalAccess 2.0

  • EvalAccess 2.0 is a tool for evaluating web accessibility for WCAG 1.0 as well as Section 508 compliance
  • This tool is designed and developed by the University of Basque Country in Spain
  • If you want to evaluate multiple URLs then you should go for paid subscription
  • EvalAccess 2.0 can evaluate a single web page as well an entire website
  • It provides 3 methods for evaluating web accessibility such as
  • Evaluate Single URL
  • Evaluate an entire website
  • Evaluate HTML Markup
  • Displays the end result in easy report format and does not require ant installation

Official Link: EvalAccess 2.0

#8) AChecker – Accessibility Checker

AChecker

  • AChecker is an open source web accessibility evaluation tool designed by Inclusive Design Research Center which was initially known as Adaptive Technology Resource Center
  • You can evaluate accessibility by simply entering URL or by uploading HTML file
  • AChecker provides option for choosing accessibility guidelines such as follows
    • WCAG 2.0
    • WCAG 1.0
    • Section 508
    • HTML Validator
    • BITV 1.0
    • Stanca Act
  • You can also choose report format as per your requirements
  • AChecker can be used online as well as you can download and install the same

Official Link: Achecker

#9) Cynthia Says

CynthiaSays

  • Cynthia Says is free online solution to check web accessibility for WCAG 1.0 and Section 508 compliance
  • It is simple to use as you just enter the web address of the site to run the accessibility test
  • The report shows the list of Section under 508 guidelines along with the status that your website passes or fails each of the guidelines
  • Cynthia Says trace the exact location of the element where the test gets failed
  • It currently test the website for WCAG 1.0 and not yet updated for WCAG 2.0

Official Link: Cynthia Says

#10) aDesigner

aDesigner


  • ACTF aDesigner powered by Eclipse is popular as Disability Simulator for evaluating the accessibility of the website for visually impaired users
  • The text on web page is read clearly with the combined use of Voice Browser and Screen Reader
  • This tool checks accessibility of Flash Contents and ODF documents (Open Document Format for Office Application). ODF is generally XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts etc.
  • But there are some limitations come across its use when it deals with high-quality graphics
  • aDesigner is packaged with Accessibility Information Inspection Function
  • This tool is dedicated to users with low-vision or blind

Official Link: aDesigner

#11) aViewer (Accessibility Viewer)

aViewer

  • aViewer is an accessibility inspection tool designed by Paciellogroup for Windows which display the Accessibility API Information
  • Accessibility API includes HTML DOM(Document Object Model), MSAA, ARIA, iAccessible2 and UI Automation
  • UI Automation properties are only for supporting browsers such as Internet Explorer only
  • IA2 properties are supported in Firefox and Chrome but not in Internet Explorer
  • You can download aViewer from GitHub for free

Official Link: aViewer

#12) Colour Contrast Analyser

Colour Contrast Analyzer

  • Like a Designer, Colour Contrast Analyser is also designed by Paciellogroup for Windows Mac OS and OS X.
  • It is used to determine text legibility and color contrast for graphical and visual elements in the web page
  • The Visual Simulation functionality is supported only for Windows
  • This tool performs assessments for contrast elements according to WCAG 2.0 Color Contrast Success criteria
  • The tool is dedicated for users with low vision and color blindness
  • This tool is available on GitHub for free download

Official Link: Colour Contrast Analyser

#13) Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)2.0

FAE

  • FAE evaluates web accessibility of web pages for WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA compliance
  • Rules specified in FAE 2.0 are based on OpenAjax Evaluation Library
  • FAE rules follows accessibility specifications According to W3C Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) and HTML5
  • FAE is used in combination with AInspector Sidebar for Firefox
  • This tool comes with Accessibility Bookmarklets to understand accessibility issues easily

Official Link: Functional Accessibility Evaluator

#14) Tenon

Tenon

  • Tenon evaluates web accessibility for WCAG 2.0 and VPAT (Section 508) compliance
  • Tenon uses some APIs which can be easily integrated with the tool we are using for Unit Testing, Acceptance Testing, System Testing and Issue Tracking
  • Currently, Tenon APIs are available for following accessibility issues
    • TEN-850 State/ Province field on checkout screen does not have a label
    • TEN-1726 Results charts alternatively is unstructured and confusing
    • TEN-1861 No effective alternative for charts on Dashboard
    • TEN-1862 Keyboard trap trying to shift+tab out of the “Test Now” field in the Dashboard
    • TEN-1860 No visible focus provided on the “My Account Menu”
  • At the end, Tenon API returns the result of the test in JSON String format which contains ResultSet node that holds array of issues

Official Link: Tenon

#15) Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT) for IE

WAT

  • It is the web accessibility testing tool designed by Paciellogroup
  • It is used To identify the web contents and web page components
  • The WAT toolbar is being accessed on Windows and Vista 7 or 8 but dedicated to Internet Explorer(IE)
  • Some of the toolbar functions are is based on online resources such as Javascript, CSS, and images
  • It provides alternative views of current web page and also allows use of another 3rd party online application
  • This tool is available for free on GitHub but not in active development at present

Official Link: Web Accessibility Toolbar

#16) aXe

aXe

  • aXe is free, open-source accessibility testing tool by Deque Systems for Chrome and Firefox
  • You can add the aXe extension for Chrome or aXe extension for Firefox to analyze web contents
  • The final output of test is displayed as list of accessibility issues with a link on which you can click to have additional information regarding each issue
  • aXe shows the exact piece of code that caused the issue along with the solution to fix it
  • It shows the severity for each of the issue found and analyzed the accessibility violations for WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 compliance
  • aXe tool allows performing manual accessibility testing using Screenreader for some areas

Official Link: aXe

#17) Inspector Sidebar (Firefox Accessibility Extension)

AInspector

  • AInspector Sidebar is basically Firefox toolbar which is used to check web contents for its accessibility
  • This is web accessibility evaluation tool for Firefox that evaluates accessibility for web contents for WCAG 2.0 compliance and ARIA standards
  • It shows Text Equivalent menu and generates the list of images and links to check accessibility standards
  • Third party applications such as W3C HTML Validator and Link Checker can be launched through this extension

Official Link: AInspector Sidebar

#18) TAW

TAW

  • TAW is accessibility testing tool developed by CTIC Centro Tecnólogico that evaluates web accessibility based on WCAG 1.0  and 2.0 like other accessibility testing tools you can just enter the URL of your website to analyze the accessibility
  • TAW offers TAW3 Analysis Engine multiple tools with different uses such as TAW3 Standalone for Desktop, TAW3 Web Start for Java-based  software and TAW3 With a Click is online service used as Firefox extension
  • TAW marks accessibility issues clearly along with recommendations to resolve it

Official Link: TAW

#19) Web Accessibility Inspector

Web Accessibility Inspector

  • Web Accessibility Inspector is accessibility testing tool developed by Fujitsu for desktop application
  • You can specify the site URL or the destination of the file where it is located
  • You can see the web page on browser screen with marking on elements where the accessibility issue has occurred
  • It supports Windows and Mac OS X and dedicated to elderly or visually impaired users

Official Link: Web Accessibility Inspector

#20) Accessibility Developers Tools by Google

Accessibility Developer Tools

  • This is a Chrome Extension which adds accessibility audit and sidebar to Chrome Developer Tools
  • To use Accessibility Audit you can find it in audit tab and run it
  • To use sidebar pane you need to inspect elements of web page
  • This extension is updated with new version which includes new audit rules, Generalized ARIA attributes, improved logical representations for clear link text etc

Official Link: Accessibility Developers Tools by Google

Apart from these tools there are some other tools popular as Accessibility  testing tools so far, let us have look towards them

#21) Check My Colours

This tool is used to check foreground and background colors of your website and its DOM elements. This tool is especially used to determine color defects of websites for people having color vision deficiency.

Official Link: Here

#21) Color Oracle

This is a free tool used as color blindness simulator for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It shows some predictions of color defect when viewed by users having color vision impairments.

Official Link: Here

#23) Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver comes with Accessibility feature that offers Screen Reader support, operating system accessibility support and keyboard navigation.

Official Link: Here

#24) OCAWA

Consists variety of accessibility rules to evaluate web accessibility either page by page or using programmed scenarios, It consists of 3 modules such as Ocawa Automatic, Ocawa Assistant, and Ocawa Eclipse Plug-in.

Official Link: Here

Accessibility of the software application widely tested as it deals with the use of it by even physically impaired users. Such activities help to increase market capture of the software product or we can say the website for our concern. Tools listed above make this task easy for makers of software products and this is the need which causes tools to be proven more efficient and innovative with different aspects of accessibility.

Conclusion

Accessibility of any software system is a much important element to be tested as it avails the product to be used by everyone, especially users with physical disabilities.

Today the large ratio of physically disabled people are considerably using software products for their day to day work and Accessibility Testing Tools are making websites more and more accessible for them.Accessibility Testing Tool should be chosen as per requirements of your site and budget.

In future there may be more accessibility concepts to be taken into consideration as per that more innovative and improved tools are supposed to be introduced. For time being we have gone through some widely used Accessibility Testing Tools along with the brief idea about what does Accessibility exactly mean.

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=>> Let us know if you want to add any other tool in the list.

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