Accessibility Tools

I’ve had the opportunity recently to do some basic accessibility testing on some sites, and thought I’d share just a few of the tools I use to make certain aspects easier. There are many out there, with varying degrees of usefulness. This list barely scratches the surface.

Firefox Accessibility Extension
This toolbar gives you a handful of features that aid in accessibility testing. You can run a report that notes accessibility failures. You can easily identify important elements of a page such as title, headings, frames, and links. It gives you image options such as viewing alt tags in context, or viewing the page without images altogether.

There are also built-in validation offerings, as well as color contrast findings and keyboard navigational aids. It directs you to options such as the Cynthia Says Web Content Accessibility Report and WebAIM WAVE

Web Developer 1.1.6 add-on for Firefox
Another Firefox extension that enables you to check out aspects of accessibility is Web Developer for Firefox. You can easily disable elements such as CSS and images, as well as run automated tests such as Validate CSS, Validate HTML, and Validate Section 508, which utilizes Cynthia Says.

Juicy Studio Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser
There are numerous tools out there for testing color contrast, but I find myself in the habit of using the one at Juicy Studio. In determining if text on backgrounds (colors or imagery) meets the minimum WCAG 2.0 requirement of 4.5:1 (3:1 for larger text), all you have to do is enter the foreground and background colors and you’ll see how you’re doing.
This is an interesting tool that renders a site in grayscale. By pulling color out of the equation, it enables you to get a raw sense of visual contrast.
the art of accessibility as seen in grayscale on

Of course, none of these really do everything for you. Looking right in the code of a page, or carefully navigating through with your own senses offer invaluable insights as to how well a site has been set up.

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