Web Developer Tools

Is your site accessible to all?

Today’s Byte is for web developers. It’s about making your site accessible to people with disabilities. If you aren’t a web developer your interested might be limited. So for you folks I’ll just say – Beannachta Le Fhaile Phadraig – that’s Happy St. Patrick’s Day in Irish! Someone recently asked me about a resource that will test a web site’s accessibility in terms of ADA issues. Bobby has always been my standard answer. It is a free tool where you type in your URL and they will generate a report telling you if you have “passed” and showing where your page needs improvements.

Last week I had a chance to look at Bobby again. It is a great resource – but it is very strict. In fact I couldn’t find a site that passed their test – including some that I know target users with accessibility issues. So, I thought I’d find some other resources. The best case scenario is still to pass the Bobby test – but while you’re on your way here are some more attainable hurdles:

WebXact
Enter your URL and this tool will let you know how you do in regards to accessibility, privacy, and other issues. I found the priorities on this test easier to understand than with Bobby.

W3C Accessibility Checklist
This isn’t an automated check – but it is a prioritized list of things you should do to make sure that your site is accessible. If you know HTML, I think this list is straightforward and easy to understand. (I’m not saying the items are easy to do – just well articulated.)

Lynx Viewer
Enter your URL and this tool will show you what is look like through Lynx, a text-only web browser. This will help give some indication of what a user who cannot use visual cues will understand from your page.

Screen Reader Simulation
This tool simulates the speak-aloud software that visually impaired people use to surf the web. It’s a great insight

For more information, you might check out this recent article on the Web Accessibility in Mind site.

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