skip to content
skip to content
Accessibility Testing

Accessibility testing: why it’s essential to make apps usable for people with disabilities


Accessibility testing: why it’s essential to make apps usable for people with disabilities

Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing with the goal of making your web or mobile app usable to as many people as possible. It aims to make the application accessible to those with physical disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments, cognitive or physical conditions, old age, and other disadvantaged groups.

In addition, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of the global population, approximately one billion people, identifies as having a disability. Individuals with disabilities use many kinds of assistive technology that help them carry out daily functions. These include speech recognition software, screen reader software, and special keyboards for those with motor control difficulties. Accessibility testing is used to test the software for such devices as well.

In this tutorial, you will learn about the advantages of accessibility testing, how to measure web accessibility, and the process to carry it out for yourself.

Why Should You Invest In Accessibility Testing?

Here are three accessibility testing benefits to help you understand the importance of the process:

  • Improve the Lives of People with Disabilities

Since approximately one billion people live with some form of disability, it is essential to cater to this large market. By making accessibility testing for web and mobile apps a routine part of the software testing life cycle, all new products can be disabled friendly. This also helps you expand your audience and market reach.

Some of the common disabilities challenges that accessibility testing aims to help are:

  • Vision disability which includes complete or partial blindness, poor eyesight, color blindness, and vision problems such as flashing effect problems and visual strobe.
  • Physical disability which includes difficulty to use a mouse or keyboard.
  • Cognitive disability challenges like poor memory or learning difficulties.
  • Literacy disability which includes difficulty in understanding words and/or reading problems.
  • Hearing disability problems such as deafness or difficulty hearing clearly.

Comply with Accessibility Legislations

Different countries have different legal laws stating that IT products must be made accessible to people with disabilities. Some of these legal acts include:

  • United States: Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990
  • United Kingdom: Disability Discrimination Act – 1995
  • Australia: Disability Discrimination Act – 1992
  • Ireland: Disability Act of 2005

By conducting accessibility testing, you can ensure that you comply with these laws and avoid damaging your company’s reputation.

Protect Yourself from Lawsuits

Many Fortune 500 companies have been sued in the past due to their products not being accessible for disabled people. Some of the more prominent cases include:

  • National Federation for the Blind (NFB) vs Amazon (2007)
  • Sexton and NFB vs Target (2007)
  • NFB Vs AOL settlement (1999)

By creating digital products that are usable by people with disabilities, you can avoid potential lawsuits and save your organization’s time and resources.

How Is Web Accessibility Measured?

Web accessibility can be measured with the help of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), created by the W3C. Many factors play a role in website accessibility testing such as mark-up languages, content, size, environment, content, and development tools. A few simple techniques to improve the accessibility of web applications are:

  • Verification of the page title
  • Providing text alternatives to images (“alt text”)
  • Adding headings
  • Having a high contrast ratio

How Can You Perform Accessibility Testing?

There are two types of accessibility testing: manual accessibility testing and automated accessibility testing. Let’s learn a little more about what both types of testing entail:

Manual Accessibility Testing

This type of testing is carried out by using assistive technologies, such as a screen reader, to access the content that is being evaluated. Popular screen readers include JAWS for Windows, Voiceover for iOS, and Talkback for Android accessibility testing.

Some other scenarios where you can test the accessibility manually are:

  • Modifying the font size to large
  • Testing for captions
  • Deactivating the style
  • Using high contrast mode

Automated Accessibility Testing

The automated method is used to carry out large-scale testing quickly. There are several automated accessibility testing tools including Hera, TAW, and Wave.

Common errors found in the reports from such tools include:

  • Images without any alt-text.
  • Buttons and form fields that are missing labels.
  • Web pages and page elements having low contrast.

Streamline Your Accessibility Testing Efforts With Oprimes

Accessibility testing works best when it is incorporated into your QA strategy, rather than being added as an after-thought. When looking for accessibility testing companies you must consider Oprimes, India’s largest crowdsourced TaaS platform. Oprimes, a product of Qualitrix, can help you align web or mobile accessibility testing with your test cycle and sync all results on one easy-to-use platform.

Oprimes’ 360 degree solutions help you conduct end-to-end testing quickly and efficiently while staying within budget. It’s easy to get started with Oprimes; fill in this form to contact us today.