Testing

  1. Is there a checklist that I can use to evaluate my electronic information resources (EIR) for accessibility?
  2. Are there automated tools available to help me test my EIR for accessibility?
  3. Can automated tools ensure that my EIR meet the requirements of the accessibility policy?
  4. Can all types of EIR be tested using automated tools?
  5. What manual testing should be completed?
  6. What types of assistive technology should be used during manual testing?

  1. Is there a checklist that I can use to evaluate my electronic information resources (EIR) for accessibility?
  2. Checklists have been developed for use in evaluating HTML-based materials for accessibility. Additional checklists are being created for PDF, MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint documents and forms. Refer to Chapter 6: Testing and Validation and the Resources links on the HHS Accessibility Center Home Page.

  3. Are there automated tools available to help me test my EIR for accessibility?
  4. Automated tools are available to test HTML-based materials to Section 508, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), and custom standards. These tools include WebXACT and WebXM from Watchfire, LIFT from UsableNet, Cynthia Says (Free single-page testing), WAVE from WebAim and TAW from tawdis.net. There are also free HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets) validation tools available from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
  5. Can automated tools ensure that my EIR meet the requirements of the accessibility policy?
  6. No. Studies have found that only about 28 percent of accessibility problems can be uncovered through automated testing. Many accessibility issues require human judgment to evaluate. For example, an automated tool can determine if an element contains an ALT attribute, however it cannot determine whether the content of that attribute is appropriate.

  7. Can all types of EIR be tested using automated tools?
  8. No. Only HTML documents can be evaluated with the automated tools that are available. We recommend testing other types of EIR using the appropriate assistive technologies and using case scenarios.

  9. What manual testing should be completed?
  10. Manual testing should be completed for all accessibility issues that cannot be verified using automated means. Examples include but are not limited to appropriateness of ALT-text and link text, clearness of language and navigation, and appropriateness of form labels.

  11. What types of assistive technology should be used during manual testing?
  12. We recommend using a good screen reader. JAWS is DARS's agency standard and is recommended for testing internal Web pages. A free demo version is available through Freedom Scientific. For screen magnification, Windows 2000 and XP have built-in screen magnifiers, but the agency standard magnifier of ZoomText is a better solution.

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Page Reviewed/Updated: 3/22/2012