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Category: Accessibility Testing

Tip for Developers: Get your website tested for accessibility -Part 1 Perceivable

April 10, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Quite often, I receive emails from non-profit organizations asking if I can help them with accessibility testing for their newly built website. I also see most of them do not get built accessibility in mind though many of them are for organizations who offer services to people with disabilities. This post illustrate a few tips that developers can use while building a website. While we intend to see many developers have knowledge on accessibility, it’s absolutely fine to start with a willingness to build an accessible product. This post illustrates advice in the form of question and answer in reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. This will be series of four articles to cover Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.

Question: Do you have images or any other non-text content?
Answer: When you have images, identify if they are informative images decorative images. If informative images, provide an alternate text. For decorative images, provide empty alt text i.e. alt=””; alt attribute must be present in any form of image; if not provided, path of the image gets exposed to assistive technologies such as screen reader, shown on text only browsers (or when images are turned off in the browser), shown to search engines.

Question: Do you have audio-only conent on the website?
Answer: Provide synchronized captions or text transcript

Do you have video only content?
Answer: Provide audio-description

Do you have a live audio / video event happening?
Answer: Ensure there is voice over when only visual actions are happening and captions are provided for audio. This will aid visually impaired users to know what’s visual actions are happening and hearing impaired users to know what the conversation is happening. If there is only music being played, show captions as “Music being played” and if possible what instrument is being played and some illustration.

Question: How my content should be structured and organized?
Answer: Ensure content is structured in a logical order, Headings are marked up appropriately using Hx values e.g. h1, h2 etc., Do not just decorate content as a heading, mark-up list items as ordered or unordered list, ensure all form fields do have associated labels using “for” and “id” attributes, radio buttons and check boxes have associated with their group label.

Question: My user tells me that my content is not read in right sequence, what could be wrong?
Answer: When content is presented in a sequence that is different than usual, it’s essential to ensure sequence of content is meaningful programmatically.

Question: Can I color code the information?
Answer: Yes, color can be used to convey information but color must not be the only form of presenting information. Example, accept is marked as “green” button and decline is marked as “red button”, same labels i.e. accept / decline must be provided as a text in addition to color code.

Question: Can I play audio or music automatically on my web page?
Answer: It’s a not a good practice to play audio automatically on a web page; reason being it would disrupt users with screen readers and people who do not expect an audio on loading of a web page. However, if audio has to played automatically and length is more than 3 seconds, controls must be provided to pause or stop the audio.

Question: How can I check for contrast of colors?
Answer: Simple way is to use Color Contrast Analyzer tools. See the list on Accessibility Testing tools section of Our Resources page

Question: How to meet resize text requirement?
Answer: User browser’s default zoom option (mostly CTRL and +) and zoom up to 200%

Question: Can I use images of text?
Answer: Where possible, it’s advisable to use text to convey the information rather than embedding onto an image.

Question: What’s graphics contrast?
Answer: It’s a new Success Criterion – 1.4.12 Graphics Contrast of WCAG 2.1. If information is conveyed only in the form of graphic e.g. charts etc., it must have minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1.

Accessibility Automation Testing Tool by PayPal

January 9, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula


It’s often true that a quality tester or anyone for that matter would look for robust features and possibly have all features at one place. When it comes to identifying automated tool to check for accessibility of a web interface, some of the questions that would come up with are:

  1. Does this tool be able to test as per standards?
  2. Does this tool be able to cover all segments like use of colors, forms, headings, tables etc.,?
  3. Does this tool be able to generate a report?
  4. Can I be able to export results for my own purpose?

One such tools that was recently open sourced by PayPal is Automated Accessibility Testing Tool [External link].

What is AATT?

AATT tests web applications regarding conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Find a list of the WCAG 2.0 rules checked on the HTML CodeSniffer WCAG Standard Summary page. AATT provides an accessibility API and custom web application for HTML CodeSniffer. Using the AATT web application, you can configure test server configurations inside the firewall, and test individual pages.

AATT includes HTMLCodeSniffer with Express and PhantomJS, which runs on Node.

For example, it can be used to test Java web applications using SeLion automation test frameworks.

For node applications, it can be integrated into NemoJS testing framework to run accessibility testing during automated unit testing.

Features of AATT

  1. There are two tabs in the interface; one is to test by providing a website address and second is to test by writing code into its editor
  2. Tester can choose if to see screenshots or not to see them. Good part is that it shows the screenshot of the element that has a problem
  3. Tester can configure to display errors, warnings and notices
  4. By clicking on “Test Page” button, an alert is displayed as loading and as the process gets completed, results are displayed in a table format that includes:
    1. Error level – this displays whether one is error, warning or notice
    2. Second column displays name of Principal hyperlinking to its documentation on ‘s documentation
    3. Then displays the description of error / warning / notice
    4. Next column displays the code snippet of the element; this would be very useful for developers to identify where the actual problem is
    5. Second last column displays link to technique from WCAG documentation to resolve the problem
    6. And the last column displays “Screenshot (if selected above)
  5. In the results table, first two columns (error type and Principal) are sortable
  6. Ability to export results as CSV file
  7. If web pages are beyond the firewall and require authentication, one can use “Login” feature and provide Web page address, user name and password so that tool will create a cookie and process the testing

Refer to AATT documentation for instructions for download and setup.

Happy testing!