As the concept of accessible websites continues to spread, more and more web developers are turning to automated tools to test their sites. There are many tools out there, from those that generate detailed reports to toolbar add-ons for Internet Explorer and Firefox. There is a bran new one just announced this week called AMP Express, which will generate a report based on the criteria you enter and test for compliances with Section 508 and WCAG 1 and 2.
But how accessible are these tools to potential web developers with disabilities? For example if I were a totally blind web developer and wanted to be sure my site complied with all guidelines, what tools could I use to help me along that path? Are there any at all that are accessible to me? Of course I can test my site using my screen reader, but that would only give me part of the picture and in many ways, it would be more of a usability test rather than one for overall accessibility.
I asked some blind web developers what if any tools they are able to use to make sure their sites are accessible. The only screen-reader accessible recommendation I got that tests for WCAG 2.0 is Total Validator. This tool will even check for spelling errors and provides a report that is fairly easy to read via JAWS. Another suggestion was Cynthia Says, which also tests for certain criteria. However, from what I can tell from just a trial of it, the tool seems a bit outdated, though it also provides a screen-reader-friendly report that is easy to read through.
I am very interested in your thoughts here. I would like to start being able to assess websites using more than just my screen-reader. I want access to the same information other testers can get via accessibility toolbars. Tell me what you think!