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Evaluating Web Content

Evaluating web content for accessibility should involve a combination of automated tests and manual evaluations. For example, while automated tests can identify if there is an accessibility violation at a technical level (e.g., missing alternate text for images), such automated tests cannot accurately assess the quality of the alternate text when such information is included. Evaluating a website for accessibility requires attention to both automated and manual accessibility tests to ensure all individuals with disabilities have equitable access to information.

Automated Testing

Automated tests may include the use of enterprise accessibility tools or web browser testing tools to evaluate the technical accessibility issues of a website or web-application. Automated testing covers approximately 20-30% of accessibility tests and therefore should not be relied upon for an accurate evaluation of a website’s accessibility. Automated testing can be used during the development process and discovered issues should be resolved prior to manual testing.

Some automated tools offer accessibility monitoring for large organizations. These enterprise tools perform large-scale assessments by scanning and reporting on accessibility issues of websites in an organization. The CCC Technology Center has acquired a license for the Pope Tech Website Scanning Tool to assist colleges in monitoring and evaluating public-facing websites for accessibility issues.

Manual Testing

Manual (or human) testing evaluates a website or web-application using a combination of keyboard-only interactions, assistive computer technologies, and web browser plug-ins to ascertain the functional accessibility of the site. Because it is a resource-intensive process, it is not feasible to manually test every single page of a large website. However, focusing on certain pages where manual tests are applied can streamline the evaluation process. For example, manual accessibility testing could be performed on the following types of pages:

  • Site templates
  • Representational content pages
  • Interactive forms
  • Dynamic content pages
  • Dialog modals and alerts
  • Key entry and exit pages (including account login and recovery pages)
  • Help and assistance pages

Another option is to use website analytics to identify the pages that receive the most visits and traffic and prioritize that content for manual accessibility testing. This can aid in remediating the pages that site visitors use most often.

The CCC Accessibility Center has created a Website Manual Accessibility Checklist (.docx) to assist the CCC system in performing manual evaluations.