Updated April 12, 2023
Introduction to Accessibility Testing
Testing of an application or software is important to know whether it handles the usability purposes intended to work upon. Also, it makes sure that it can handle the stress, the access, and the power allocated. All the use cases are tested and known so that the application works fully and efficiently. There are many types of testing such as unit testing, integration testing, system testing, usability testing, and so on. Accessibility testing is a kind of usability testing that ensures the full usage of the application to all kinds of users. Let us discuss accessibility testing in detail in this article.
What is Accessibility Testing?
- The type of software testing used in the application where the testing ensures that the application can be used by all the people including those with disabilities is called accessibility testing. This is a subset of usability testing as it ensures the testing of the application to all users. The disabilities can be color blindness, hearing, old age or any kind of disadvantaged people. This verifies whether the application is usable and accessible.
- Disabilities can be considered as visual, hearing, physical, cognitive or learning impairment. All these are taken into consideration while testing the application. It is made sure that the application works not only for disabled people but also for all the people in any kind of infrastructure. The communication infrastructure may be poor, or the people may be computer illiterate. Also, the users with limited access are also taken into consideration for the accessibility testing.
- While web content accessibility is considered with four principles such as Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust, we can say that accessibility testing should also consider these principles. The application or software under testing must be perceivable by all who see it, operable by all who try to work with it, understandable by someone who likes to know more about the application, and does not fail easily with loads. All these considerations make the application workable in any situation.
How does it work?
- The accessibility testing takes help from the web to use different software tools to check the accessibility of the application. The main aim is to check the working of applications with disadvantaged people. Web Accessibility Initiative can be used for the reviews of the websites. Software tools are initiated here that can be used for accessibility evaluations. The tools are specifically designed to work for disadvantaged people ranging from color blindness to automated tools.
- Various testing tools used are AccVerify, Bobby, WebXM, Ramp Ascend, and InFocus. These tools help to check the accessibility of the application by using them in the application. These automated tools check the pages and codes for access-related issues in the application. Some of the uses are checking the syntax of the code and the known patterns of the code. Some pages may have factors causing access problems. These pages are identified in addition to identifying the actual accessibility problems. Also, some problems with logging are identified.
- If the automated tools are not used, testers should check the code manually for different pages. These tools help in checking the code of a page for vulnerabilities of access. Known patterns are good for access and they should be motivated in the application. These patterns are made known to the testers by the tools. Some elements in the pages might create a different pattern that causes the page to load again in between. These trends are being stopped by the tools.
- There will be some real accessibility problems in the page of the application that cannot be identified manually. This is done with the help of automated tools. Also, some potential problems can be identified with the tools. Experience in accessibility testing helps to understand the technical and usability issues of the application.
- Accessibility issues must be identified in the design stage. This helps to reduce the cost of the testing while doing it in the end-stage. Also, it is not necessary to identify and manage all the access problems of the application. It is better to identify the basic needs and categorize it accordingly.
- There are web accessibility guidelines that should be followed so that the accessibility of the application can be tested well before use. These guidelines help to prioritize the needs and manage the application well. Markup language and development tools are important while checking for access of the page in the application. The content of the application is also important for testing.
- Tools used for checking applications for disability include speech recognition software. This tool is specifically meant for blind people as they cannot type and see the keyboard. They can speak and notify the application of their needs and work well. The words are converted as text by the software and this is used as input for the application. It identifies the languages and enters the text in the language needed by the application. Also, screen reader software is used to read the text in the screen and notify the user.
- Some software can be used for increasing the size of the text in the screen such as screen magnification software. This helps people with vision problems. The specially designed keyboard is in use for people with movement difficulties so that they can use this software to type and enter the text in the screen as input.
- Disabled people should not consider their disabilities as a problem so that they cannot cope up with the world. It should be embraced as their characters and all these tools help in making them worth every moment of their usage of the application or web page.
- Accessibility testing is important for every application or web page. This makes sure that everyone can use the application and is not limited to certain users. Accessibility testing is made part of the software testing lifecycle so that separate costs are not considered in this testing. Governments have passed laws to do accessibility testing for every application.
This is a guide to Accessibility Testing. Here we discuss an introduction, what is Accessibility Testing, how does it work with examples with a better explanation. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –