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How to Develop an Efficient Accessibility Testing Process

taught by: Lyssa Prince


Web accessibility testing can seem like a big scary monster that you don’t want to confront for fear of being eaten alive. There are so many questions surrounding it, such as:

  • Which testing tools should I use? (It depends! This is an accessibility professional’s favorite answer.)
  • Do I need to test every single page of my website? (No, thank goodness!)
  • Do I have to perform manual testing? (The answer to this question is yes, always yes.) 

In this session, we’ll answer these questions and more as we discuss how to develop an accessibility testing process that is manageable and is much more impactful than handing over a set of automated test results. We’ll break down the process into these six steps:

  1. Define your testing checklist(s)
  2. Choose your tools
  3. Define what you will test     
  4. Perform the assessment     
  5. Create a digestible report      
  6. Provide ongoing assistance

Along the way, we’ll dive into the specifics of each step, from looking at sample checklists to talking about the pros and cons of various testing tools like WAVE, Axe, Accessibility Insights, and some bookmarklets. We’ll also discuss where enterprise testing tools may fit into the process. 

We’ll focus on a component-based approach to defining the scope of the assessment, which leads to a much more efficient assessment experience. A component, or pattern, is a piece of functionality commonly used across a website, such as an accordion or form, or a process, such as a cart checkout. Testing by component rather than by page can not only lessen the cognitive load of assessment work, it can also lead to a better experience working with your audience to review and correct any issues found. This session will also stress the importance of creating a report that provides all the issues found in your assessment in a method that will be digestible for your audience. Finally, combining your report with ongoing support in the form of training or one-to-one assistance will help you avoid overwhelming your audience and lead to a higher chance of correcting the most accessibility errors.

Practical Skills

  • Explain why component testing is more efficient than page-by-page testing
  • Compare 3 automated accessibility testing tools
  • Translate component-based testing into a easy-to-read report