What is Accessibility Testing

What is Accessibility Testing

A subset of usability testing, accessibility testing consist of a series of methodologies which ensures that the application being tested is usable for by consumers with disabilities like hearing, color blindness, old age and other disadvantaged group. There are now laws which protect the rights of such people and even the software companies are bound by law to provide the disable friendly application. Not doing do, is indeed a huge business loss for them, the following diagram depicting the revenue loss incurred-

 

 

About 20% of the population has disability issues, 1 in 10 people have a sever disability where as 1 in 2 people over 65 have reduced capabilities. A software product can cater to this big market, if it's made disabled friendly. Accessibility issues in software can be resolved if this testing is made part of testing life cycle. Also to ensure protection from potential legal law suits based on following acts –

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

It is advisable that the firms don’t make mistakes as done in past by some fortune 500 companies, who faced legal law suits and lost millions to such consumers.

Disabilities to cover for Accessibility Testing-

The applications developed, must cater to the following disabilities as described in the diagram below –

 

Test scenarios for Accessibility Testing

 

Let us have a look at the example test scenarios for accessibility testing –

  1. Does the application provide keyboard equivalents for all mouse operations?
  2. Are the instructions provided as a part of user documentation or manual?
  3. Is response time of each screen or page is clearly mentioned so that End Users know how long to wait?
  4. Is color of the application is flexible for all users?
  5. Are the images or icons used are easily understood by the end users?
  6. Does the application have audio alerts?
  7. Can the user override default fonts for printing and text displays?
  8. To test the color in the application by changing the contrast ratio
  9. To test all multimedia pages with no speakers in websites
  10. Can you change the text size to suit your vision?

 

Solutions available in market

There are a lot of solutions available in the market, both paid and open source which helps to test whether our application build are accessible to all or not. Some of the solutions are –

Tool

URL

AChecker

http://achecker.ca/checker/

WAVE

http://wave.webaim.org/

 

JAWS

http://www.freedomscientific.com/downloads/jaws/jaws-downloads.asp

Accessibility Valet

http://valet.webthing.com/access/url.html

FAE

http://fae20.cita.illinois.edu/

 

Axe

https://www.deque.com/products/axe-core

 

 

Conclusion

If included early in the test cycle, and if the business is sensitive to the needs of disabled people which form 20% of the total population of the potential customers, than accessibility testing is not an expensive item on a check list. If its not feasible to provide all end user friendly features in the main site for a generic end customer, then have another disable friendly version. After all if we follow the policy of inclusion not only will we gain goodwill we will gain good business as well. 

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