Best Web Accessibility Tools as Developer

This list of web accessibility tools you can find is unusual. Some of those do not look like web accessibility tools. But usability and accessibility go hand in hand and some usability tests will help you improving and boosting web accessibility later.

Namaste!

Introduction

Web accessibility tools mean that tools make our development easy. tools such as SEO rank checker, page speed checker, Grammarly, and many more.

This list of web accessibility tools you can find is unusual. Some of those do not look like web accessibility tools. But usability and accessibility go hand in hand and some usability tests will help you improving and boosting web accessibility later.

I have collected some tools are below. For understanding purpose, let’s divide them into four categories:

  • General Accessibility Validation Tools – It can scan for technical issues
  • General Validation Tools – can be related to web validation
  • Color Contrast Checkers – tools to detect contrast issues
  • Screen Readers – programs that will traverse the screen to read its content

I have grouped them idly not either randomly as performing accessibility tests. Or if you want to start but don’t know how to begin from first and end at 4th.

General Validation Tools

This is the set of tools that are not normally considered to be related to accessibility, but will identify potential accessibility issues that are not normally detected by accessibility tools (e.g., incorrect HTML, image size recommendations, etc.).

Solving the problems reported by these tools will improve more than accessibility: performance, SEO, security … In this sense, they are the first step in ensuring that your website is not only built correctly but also correctly accessible.

W3C HTML Validator

The W3C HTML validation service will simply check the validity of your document’s markup. It won’t focus on accessibility, but many of the issues found can improve the current accessibility status (e.g., missing attributes like alt) and others that will help set the stage for a more accessible site (e.g., incorrectly formatted/nested HTML elements).

GTMetrix

It’s one of my favorite tools for testing HTML compliance and performance. Not only does it provide incredibly useful information and links, but it also creates solutions in some cases. For example, if an image is not the right size or format, it will process it and generate a new image that will fit better on upload, simplifying the correction process.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is integrated with Chrome (available in the Auditing tab of Developer Tools) and provides insight into performance, best practices, SEO, and accessibility at runtime. It provides valuable information on how to improve HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and even server configuration to make your websites more usable and interactive.

color contrast checker

Color Contrast Checkers

According to data researched by the WebAIM Million, Poor color contrast between text/images and their background was the most familiar issue. So, It should not come as a wonder to have contrast checkers as an autonomous section.

There are many tools that can help detect lacking contrast, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. It’s more about uncovering one that fits your needs or inventing one easily.

WebAIM Color Contrast Checker

This WebAIM tool isn’t particularly special. It looks like most other color contrast correctors online because it is easy to use and contains detailed help information.

Accessible colors

Accessible Colors

This site allows you to customize the color contrast test a bit (font size, colors, accessibility levels, etc.), but the cool part is that it goes beyond just calculating color contrast. If the colors do not match and pass validation, Accessible Colors will suggest new combinations that will actually pass the test.

Chrome Developer Tools

Google Chrome includes an interesting color contrast control with developer tools. It’s one of the few I’ve seen that allows multiple color formats and has a great GUI where you can see which values would be accessible and which would not. The only downside I have encountered is that it only seems to work if the element has the color and background properties set. (He does not infer them from ancestors.)

general accessible tools

General Accessibility Validation Tools

Finally, You will find these tools associate with accessibility and the ones that you were probably expecting. I said it was a strange list at first.

With these tools, you will be able to analyze a page, usually one page at a time, on the available elements: type problems, inaccuracies, empty links, alt requirements and much more. But always take the result with a grain of salt. While they are good at identifying technical difficulties, some technologies are not always technical and can get through the cracks in these weapons.

WebAIM Wave

This tool is probably my favorite accessibility app, in part because it’s the one I used to launch and learn the basics. I would use its online mode (and later its Chrome plug-in and Firefox add-on) to check my web pages and read any errors, their descriptions, and tips for fixing them. Another thing I love about this tool is the color contrast control which infers the ancestor background more accurately than the other tools.

Axe

Axe is a plugin/plug-in that works on Chrome and Firefox. It’s powerful and easy to adopt on a day-to-day basis (though you have to open up the tools to use it), and the analysis is well organized with full mobility and complex distribution.

HTML_CodeSniffer

This tool works in two ways: (1) directly online by parsing the HTML code on the tool’s website; and (2) as a bookmark that you can activate on any page regardless of the browser used. The results are valid, but sometimes the number of false positives reported by HTML_CodeSniffer (especially related to color contrast) is a bit high. You can save false positives as such and the tool will no longer detect them.

screen readers

Screen Readers

You have run the tests with the accessibility checks above and the results are all positive. Does this mean your website is fully accessible and compliant? Unfortunately no. All the tools above are great, but they mostly check the technical requirements or “theory”. But some real “practice” may still be needed.

And this is where screen readers come in handy. Knowing how to use them and navigate your site in a way similar to that of a disabled user would take time, but reaching a comfortable skill level doesn’t take long, especially when many screen readers have common commands or share instructions on the fly.

NVDA

NVDA is an amazing tool. It’s straightforward, easy to use, reliable, and really powerful. It is my go-to screen reader when working in Windows… which is its main issue: it only works with Windows machines (here the authors explain why). But, its usability and performance make it an incredible tool, able to compete with other screen readers that cost hundreds of dollars.

voiceover

VoiceOver

Mac users have the best reading software built into Mac OS. VoiceOver can be turned on by pressing Command + F5 and turning it off automatically. Like NVDA, this is a window reader of all the windows that can work up to the browser and read all the programs (which can be a little frustrating if you want to try this website).

ChromeVox

If you work with Chrome, this plugin is a must for accessibility. When activated, it will act as a screen-reader and present most of the functionalities that other screen readers include. (Keyword: “most.”) Its core functionality is really nice, and it is a good way to test things fast. A pass in ChromeVox may or may not indicate a pass in NVDA or VoiceOver, but fail in ChromeVox is most assuredly a fail with the other screen readers.

Conclusion

This list contains the tools that I have used and continue to use every day to test and verify internet availability on apps. All tools have their pros and cons (which is why I use them so often, even when others try the same tests), but the pros of all the tools outweigh their cons.

What tools do you use to test uptime? What can you create or add to this list? Drop a Comment below

Thank You!

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