Accessibility testing is an important component of the user experience (UX) process. It covers a range of activities, focusing on providing web and digital content that can be used and understood by everyone regardless of differences or impairments. In practical terms, this means helping people with disabilities to fully interact with websites and technology without any kind of hindrance.
Put simply, accessibility testing is like peering through a magnifying glass to examine the broader picture and make sure it is available to all users. Imagine looking up at the night sky in hopes of viewing twinkling stars – if you've got access issues, perhaps due to vision difficulties, there's a good chance you wouldn't be able to get an accurate view of what's out there. This is where accessibility comes into play; thinking about how to create better experiences for such uses in day-to-day browsing so they don't have their vision impaired once they reach the page or hover over certain elements related to those pages.
From ensuring alternative text descriptions are provided for all images to avoiding audio cues where possible, accessibility testing puts the focus on reaching wider audiences who may not otherwise find it easy to use platforms as most others do. It’s not just about making amenities accessible either; UX deems information design accessible as well - meaning producing documents in special formats that can suit various needs including sight loss or reading difficulties for example - allowing more individuals to benefit from them than ever before!
As such, understanding industry standard requirements relating to different levels of disability must be taken into account when creating optimal access solutions - making sure each individual has the same opportunity (or close enough) as others when it comes down accessing whatever content they need. Accessibility testing effectively serves as a key which unlocks new paths within our techy cosmos – simulating real life scenarios so conversely no one feels left behind in everyday navigation!
- Running automated accessibility tests via tools like WAVE, Axe, and Tanaguru
- Testing for colour contrast compatibility between text/graphics to ensure clarity for colour blind users
- Ensuring graphic elements are also provided with meaningful labels to support screen readers
- Conducting manual navigation through a website using keyboard-only navigation
- Evaluating UI screen design controls and buttons accessibility (including tabbing) compliant with WCAG standards
- Applying built-in assistive technologies such as voiceover into the test setup
- Testing software usability on different platforms such as iOS, Windows, or Android operating systems
- Verifying all forms have suitable alternative options or methods to fill information (such as autocomplete inputs)
- Checking that user control preferences e.g timeouts aren’t neglected
- Examining relative positioning features for disabling interactions where needed
- Use accessibility testing as a Best Practice by identifying potential usability issues for users with disabilities before development begins. This will save time and resources on revisions later.
- Conducting regular Accessibility testing during the UX design process can result in improved user experiences for everyone in your target demograhpic, and could increase traffic, sales, or other key metrics.
- Implementing Accessibility Testing into the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) process can ensure that products are accessible to all intended users prior to launch, ensuring success when released to marketplace.
Sweet facts & stats
- Up to 70% of websites do not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Nearly 49.3 million users in the US identify as having a disability—making accessibility testing an essential part of UX design and development.
- 30-40% of individuals with disabilities don’t purchase products or services on business sites due to barriers to website accessibility.
- In 2017, there was a total of 3,000 complaints filed with The United States Department of Justice regarding website accessibility issues for people with disabilities.
- Using alt text for images inside websites can make them accessible for up to 488 million visually impaired people worldwide.
- Stronomers estimate that there are seven billion trillion stars parsecs away, making “Accessibility testing" and "UX" relative cosmic trivialities!
The evolution of
Accessibility testing has been part of the UX landscape for a long time. While it wasn’t initially recognized as a priority within design practices, its importance to usability gradually gained traction, leading to increased awareness and adoption across all sectors.
It began with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which identified how people with disabilities or limited abilities interacted with websites. This initial engagement saw accessibility features become integrated into design processes, forming a core element of UIs and digital products. As user expectations kept rising, so did the value placed on creating experiences that could be accessed by everyone – regardless of their ability or background.
Since then, accessibility testing has gone from strength to strength. It's no longer seen as something ‘nice-to-have’ but rather an essential tool for best practice redesigns - allowing developers and designers to identify glitches and create more robust systems overall. The list of available tests is also continuously expanding, enabling teams to quickly detect issues ranging from contrast checkers to keyboard navigation tools and beyond.
Looking ahead, there are still gaps in this realm that will need addressing – such as improving standards for audio descriptions or finding more sophisticated ways to communicate complex interactions through text narrations - not least since accessibility must remain at the forefront of modern app development cycles if they want to meet user needs over time. Ultimately though given its current rate of growth, it'll likely be only a matter of months before new breakthroughs come out onto market; making accessing digital services easier than ever before!