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Automated open-source keyboard checking and related tools by IBM

taught by: Thomas Brunet
co-presented by: Josiah Hoskins

Session Summary

This session will give attendees an in-depth understanding of IBM’s approach to automating manual keyboard testing on various webpages. We will also demonstrate other features of the extension and related tools to integrate these checks into CI/CD environments.


Find Automated open-source keyboard checking and related tools by IBM on the Knowbility Learning Center

One of the major impediments of implementing accessibility for a web application or product before going to market is that there is a significant amount of manual testing. One such aspect, keyboard accessibility, is essential for users who are blind, who use alternative input devices, or use voice enabled command and control that emulates the keyboard interface. Keyboard features are also utilized by power users to accomplish tasks more efficiently.

Many UX designers are taught first about color-contrast and alt-text, so keyboard operability is often not designed in, not implemented and not checked (if at all) until the project is near completion. The perceived extra effort for manually checking for good keyboard operability leaves it up to developers to add it on the end of the project life cycle.     

IBM has been pioneering new features as part of our open-source IBM Equal Access Accessibly Checker to create novel yet effective user interfaces that will make manual keyboard testing easier, more comprehensive, and less error prone. During this talk we will discuss our state-of-the-art visualization approach to identifying errors with keyboard navigation and operability and why we made some of our design decisions. 

This talk includes the results of a multi-year project, a user research phase, and iterations on implementation.  We’ll explore the results on how it makes manual keyboard testing faster for auditors, designers as well as developers. And we will demonstrate the new features in our open-source checker. 

Practical Skills

  • Participants will learn about methods to automate keyboard-related tests, and how these methods compare to fully manual checking
  • Participants will learn how the IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker can help you assess your web content and applications
  • Participants will learn ways to integrate automated testing into the development and build processes