Web accessibility testing tools & resources
Testing should include a combination of automated, manual, and usability testing.
Siteimprove Accessibility identifies and reports on accessibility errors on our website based on WCAG Success Criteria.
- Siteimprove basics - see Siteimprove's Support section
- Siteimprove Academy - self-paced learning on web accessibility, search engine optimisation and more. Log in to Siteimprove and then look for "Help Centre and Academy" in the site's menu.
Screen readers are used by blind individuals to access computers and mobile devices.
Most screen readers work by having a synthetic voice that reads text displayed on the computer screen aloud; others can also communicate data via a refreshable braille display.
Test how your page sounds with a screen reader.
- Apple VoiceOver - MacOS
- Chromevox - Google Chrome browser extension
- Narrator - Windows built-in software
- NVDA - Windows
- TalkBack - Android built-in software
- Computer Screen Readers - an overview by Vision Australia
Usability testing and focus groups are different
Usability tests are about watching one person at a time try to use something. They are good for identifying what does not work well (or at all) for users.
Focus group is about a small group of people discussing their opinions about something. They are good for getting a sample of user's feelings and views about things.
Run focus group before you start a project, to see if it is a good idea; run usability tests after the project starts and continue throughout the course of the project to find out if everything works.
Usability testing reminds us that everyone is not the same
The only way to find out if our website really works is to watch other people try to use it.
Testing one user is better than testing none
Usability testing does not need to be an expensive exercise; but not testing can prove expensive down the track. Even testing the wrong user will show you things you can do to improve your site.
Test early and test often
A simple test early is more valuable than an elaborate test later. Mistakes correct early in the site development process will save much trouble later on.
Do-it-yourself usability testing
For a full guide on run your own usability testing, refer to chapter 9 (pp 110-141) of Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability"; you can borrow the from UOW Library - Wollongong campus call number 025.04/135
In a nutshell, you need to do the following:
- Determine the top user goals on your site. The goals will be your success criteria.
- Write the tasks for participants to complete (e.g. Find xyz application form).
- Invite participatnts and organise testing venue.
- Run the test: one staff member to explain the process; another be there to take notes.
- During the test - ask participants to think out loud as they perform the tasks.
- Fix problems!
- Organise another test. Rinse and repeat the exercise.
Krug, S 2014, Don’t make me think, revisited : a common sense approach to Web usability [Rev. ed.]., New Riders Pub., Berkeley, Calif.