Accessibility is important. As I’ve said time and time again, everyone should be able to use your website no matter what technology they use to surf the web.
But how do you make sure that your website is accessible? How do you know if what you’re doing is working?
Sure there’s the manual just tabbing through the keyboard on your website. And that’s a great way to check. But it does take a lot of time. It would be nice to have something that could check a web page in a minute or even a whole website.
Fortunately there are such tools. You can check your entire page in a minute or so. And some tools will even tell you how you can fix the problem.
So today let’s take a look at some of the best accessibility tools that you can use for your website.
And before we get started, if you want to see more videos about web accessibility, ecommerce, digital marketing and other website related topics, be sure to hit the submit button and to ring the bell for notifications.
Now let’s get started.
WebAIM Color Contrast Checker
One of the biggest things you can do to help out your website’s accessibility is to make sure that all of your colors have the right contrast. But figuring out what contrast works and what doesn’t can be a challenge.
The WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines, a pretty good goal to aim for, require a ratio of 4.5:1 for normal sized text (about 18px and below) and 3:1 for larger text (above 18px for bold text and above 24px for normal text). Except, how do you know how to hit those ratio marks?
The answer is that there’s a whole math formula to figure it out. But fortunately for you, the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker takes care of that for you. You can plug in the HEX color value for two colors and see if they have the right contrast. It’s that simple.
It’s free to use and pretty self explanatory. You really have no reason for your colors to not have the right contrast.
One of the best tools for accessibility testing in the browser is axe by Deque. In addition to catching accessibility issues, it also shows you how to fix the problem right there and how it affects users.
But the best part that I’ve found with axe is the browser extensions they have for the major browsers. That makes it super easy to scan pages, find problems and then fix them.
Plus, Deque is a leader in accessibility on the web and with apps. Outside of the extension, they have a ton of resources that can help you make sure your website is accessible for all people.
It’s definitely worth checking out and using it to make sure your website is as accessible as possible.
Next, a tool I love to use to quickly check accessibility on websites I’m creating is the HTML_CodeSniffer. It’s quick, easy to use and can point you in the right direction for fixing some of the biggest accessibility issues.
You can install it right from its website, and once you have it up, all you have to do is select it from your bookmarks bar to check the website you’re currently on. You can also filter results based off of the different guideline criteria, such as Section 508, WCAG 2.1 AA, etc.
Will it catch every accessibility issue out there? No. No automated accessibility tool is going to catch every single issue out there. That’s why it’s good to test your website manually as well.
But it catches a lot of things, and it catches the biggest issues. And considering I can check a page with just a couple of clicks, plus it’s free, makes it a must-have.
WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
Finally, we have the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. I haven’t used this one a whole bunch yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.
This tool scales for anything you need. At the basic level, it has extensions from both Chrome and Firefox so that you can easily check the accessibility of any webpage right from your browser. They also have services to collect accessibility data for your website and enterprise solutions for larger websites or agencies.
And it also tells you why something might have been marked as an error or warning, why it matters for accessibility and how you can fix it. That makes it much easier to fix problems, and keep you from making those mistakes in the future.
If you want to really take a deep dive into your site’s accessibility, this might be the tool for you.
So what questions do you have about the tools that I’ve listed today? Or even just web accessibility in general? Have you used one of these before? Have you used a tool that wasn’t listed here? What was that experience like? Be sure to leave your questions and answers down in the comments section below.
Next week we’ll be discussing page speed as we take a look into Google’s PageSpeed Insights and how you can speed up your website.
If you want to see those videos and more videos about accessibility, Google tools, digital marketing, ecommerce and other website related topics, be sure to hit the submit button and to ring the bell for notifications.
Until next time, I wish you and your business the best of luck.