What is Accessibility Testing in Software Testing?

Accessibility Testing in Software Testing

Accessibility testing in software testing is used to test an application from the perspective of a person with a physical disability. There may be physical disabilities such as old age, hearing, color blindness, and other disadvantaged groups. Accessibility testing is also known as 508 compliance testing. In this, we will test a web application to ensure that every user can access the website.

In software testing, accessibility testing is widely used to examine applications for people with disabilities and to ensure that the developer will create an application that is accessible to all types of users such as regular users and physically disabled (color blindness, learning disabilities, and so on).

For accessibility testing, we have certain rules and regulations, which also need to be followed.

Accessibility Testing Law:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: These policies have been established to serve one purpose, which is to help us enhance the user-friendliness of the website.

Rehabilitation Act, Section 504, and Section 508:

Section 504: This section will help people with disabilities by providing access to workplaces, education, and other organizations.

Section 508: Section 508 will help these people by providing access to technology.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA principle states that all domains, such as schools and organizations, and public buildings must create tools that everyone can use.

Individuals who are physically disabled will use assistive tools that help them operate the software product. Let’s look at some of the tools that are available in the market:

Special keyboards: We have some special keyboards where users can type quickly, and these keyboards are specially designed for those who have motor control problems.

Screen reader software: This type of software is used to read the text, which is displayed on the screen.

Speech Recognition Software: Speech recognition software will convert the spoken word into text and serve as input to the computer system.

Screen Magnification Software: This type of software is designed to help the visually impaired as it will enlarge the screen and make reading easier.

Accessibility testing Purpose

The main accessibility testing purpose is to accommodate people who have disabilities such as:

Hearing loss: In this, a person is unable to hear or hear clearly and has sensory problems such as hearing impairment and deafness.

Learning Disabilities: People who have reading difficulties.

Physical disability: In this type of disability, people are unable to use a keyboard or mouse with one hand and have problems with hand activities, muscle inhibition, and reduced motor skills.

Visual Impairments: Visual or visual impairments are defined as when a person experiences total blindness, visual impairment, color blindness, and problems with glare and visual strobes.

Cognitive deficits: In this, the person will have poor memory, will not be able to recognize more complex scenarios, and will have difficulty learning.

How to Perform Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility testing can be done in 2 ways, and they are:

  1. Manual
  2. Automated

Accessibility testing can be difficult for testers because they are unfamiliar with disabilities. It is best to work with people with disabilities who have specific needs to understand the challenges.

There are different ways of testing accessibility depending on the disability. We will learn them all one by one.

1) Vision Disability

let’s assume I don’t have the ability to see. I am totally blind, and I wanted to access the XYZ website. In that case, what is the option? Can’t I access the XYZ website? What options do I have? There is a literal option called Screen reader. Yes, you got it right. Screen reader. Now, what is this screen reader? It is software used to describe the content on the web. Basically, what’s on your website whether it’s content, links, radio buttons, images, videos, etc. A screen reader will explain everything to me. There are many screen readers available.

2) Visual Impairment

There are two categories that I would like to mention under vision impairment.

The first is color blindness. Color blindness means not being completely blind but not being able to see certain colors properly. Red and blue are common colors that people with color blindness cannot see properly. So basically, if I have red color blindness and I want to use a website that is 80% red, will I be comfortable on that website? The answer is no.

Therefore, the website should be designed in such a way that a person with color blindness does not have any problem accessing it. Take a simple example of a button that is in red. To make it accessible if it is outlined in black. Then it is easy to access. Black and white are generally considered universal.

3) Poor Vision Disability

Another thing is that a person is visually impaired (with no clear vision) or has various vision problems (lots of retinal problems etc.) to access any site.

1) In such cases it is best to avoid small text. Because it will be a great benefit for visually impaired people.

2) Also, people with vision problems may want to zoom in on website text to make it comfortable for them. So a website should be designed in such a way that if it is enlarged, its layout does not break when zooming the text. Otherwise, it will not be a good impression on them.

4) Other Disabilities

A very important point to consider in accessibility testing for a disabled audience is the accessibility of the website without the use of a mouse. A person should be able to fully access the website Links, buttons, radio buttons, checkboxes, pop-ups, and drop-downs, and all controls should be fully accessible and operable via keyboard.

For example: What if I’m paralyzed in the right hand, and I’m not comfortable with a mouse, or say I don’t want to use a mouse? In this case, if I am not able to access the link or check box on the site via keyboard? So a website should be fully accessible with a keyboard.

In addition, attention should be fully visible. When we press the tab, the user should be able to see where the control is moving. With Visible Focus, it becomes much easier for a user with poor vision or color blindness to identify the flow of the site and ease of access.

Users with a hearing impairment: Last is a person who is hard of hearing. A deaf person can access the website because he can see the content on the website. But when it comes to audio and video, they face difficulties. So in this case, for any video and audio, there should be alt text. Alt text means alternative text. Suppose there is a video on how to book an airline ticket. In this case, the text should be there so that a deaf person can read it and get an idea of what the video is about.

Tools Used in Accessibility testing

To make your website more responsive and user-friendly, it is very important that it is easily accessible. There are various accessibility testing tools that can test the accessibility of a website.

Following are some popular accessibility testing tools:

1) Wave

Wave is a free web accessibility tool developed by WEBAIM. It is used to manually correct a web page for various aspects of accessibility. This tool can be used to check intranet, password-protected, dynamically generated, or sensitive web pages. The main functions of the web accessibility toolbar include identifying web page components, providing access to an alternate view of page content, and facilitating the use of third-party online applications. It ensures 100% private and secure access reporting.

2) TAW

TAW is an online tool to determine your web accessibility. This tool analyzes a website according to W3C web accessibility guidelines and reveals accessibility issues. Web accessibility test issues are categorized into priority 1, priority 2, and priority 3. An interesting feature of TAW is its ability to develop subsets of WCAG 1.0. In the TAW tool, you can choose to “spider” either a single page or multiple pages. TAW also enables us to define additional checks through the “User Checks” dialog box.

3) Accessibility Developer Tools

This is a Chrome extension. It does an access audit. The audit results show the access rules that have been violated by the page under test. The extension has a lot of reviews and is updated frequently.

4) Quick Accessibility Page Tester

As with some of the best accessibility toolbars, Quick Page Accessibility Tester is a bookmark that you can click to get a quick analysis of a web page. It will detect various issues with your page, warn of potential problems, and highlight areas on the page that could benefit from ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications).

5) adesigner

It is a tool developed by IBM that simulates the experience of visually impaired people so that designers can better understand the needs of people with disabilities and develop applications accordingly.

6) WebAnywhere

It’s a browser-based tool that works like screen readers like Jaws. It helps readers understand how to read a web page.

7) Web Accessibility Toolbar

WAT is an extension of Internet Explorer or Opera that provides web page designers with useful features in web page analysis. A great feature is a GreyScale feature that helps find low-contrast spots in a design.


Finally, we can say that Accessibility testing is testing where every user can use the software or application. A test engineer can perform accessibility testing from each user’s perspective because the test engineer’s objective in testing an application is to verify that all strategies are met. All users should have easy access to this application.

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