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Eli H. Schei
Eli H. Schei

Posted on • Originally published at elischei.com

Accessibility evaluation tools

After learning about different accessibility principles, looking at more complex challenges, and going in depth on ARIA we have finally arrived at the last part of this series. And it is time to talk (write) about accessibility evaluation tools.

There are a lot of different tools to use for accessibility evaluation, in this post I will cover my personal preferences. If you know about an awesome tool I should try please let me know!

What are accessibility evaluation tools?

Like the name sugests accessibility evaluation tools are tools that help you evaluate how accessible a site is. These tools perform automated tests and gives you feedback on how accessible your site is according to the WCAG principles.

Remember to think for yourself.
These tools can be of great value, especially if you are new to accessibility. But it is important to remember to think for yourself as well. Focus on learning and understanding the different WCAG principles and how to implement them rather than relaying on tools only.

I use these tools regularly but they are not a part of my everyday workflow. Typically I run one of them when I have finished a new feature - before deploying to test - to make sure I havn't missed anything. Or if I refacor a component and I'm afraid my changes might "break" something I run an evaluation to make sure the content is still accessible.

The tools I use

As I mentioned above there are a lot of different accessibility evaluation tools, and they mostly cover the same things. The decision of which tool to use often comes down to personal preference.

Siteimprove

Screen shot of SiteImprove tab that lists detected accessibility issues.


The Site Improve chrome extension gives you a button in your browser that will run an accessibility test on the page you are currently on. The results of the test shows up as a panel to the left in your browser window. It displays issues sorted into different categories and gives you details about what should be fixed - and also hints on how to fix it.

I love siteimprove. It's easy to use, it gives you a quick overview - and also provides details if you need them. It gives you a lot of information about the different areas of accessibility.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is available as its own tab in chrome devtools

I mainly use Lighthouse to test the performance of a website (which is also an important part of accessibility - not everyone have access to a fast internet connection). But it will also give you an accessibility score and tell you what needs to be fixed.

Screen shot of LightHousetab that lists detected accessibility issues.

Axe dev tools

Like lighthouse Axe dev tools has its own tab in devtools. You can scan the whole site, or only parts of it (requires you to log in). It presents a list of issues and possible solutions to fix them.

Screenshot of Axe Dev Tools tab that lists detected accessibility issues.

Tools for checking colors

There are a lot of different color checking tools out there. Some browsers also have their own built-in version in devtools. But the tools I use most are WebAIM contrast checker and contrastchecker.com.


Other resources


Did you find this article usefull? Follow me on twitter to be notified when I publish something new!

Also, if you have any feedback or questions, please let me know in the comments below. :)

Thank you for reading, and good luck with your accessibility evaluation!

/Eli

Discussion (2)

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial • Edited

Great list, I do have one to add that I recommend to everyone

chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/...

Accessibility Insights is probably the best (free) tool out there. It guides you through a thorough audit.

Plus I think it is the only tool that tracks focus indicator order, so you get useful images like the one below to show clients etc.

visual focus order of abbreviations.com where the focus order jumps backwards and forwards all over the page. Focus order is indicated by circles with ascending orders in

You also get tools that visually show you the heading structure on the page, the landmarks / semantic HTML structure, anchors behaving as buttons (JS in <a> elements) etc.

Oh and as you like to work with Microsoft products - it is from them! πŸ˜‹

accessibilityinsights.io/

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elischei profile image
Eli H. Schei Author

Thanks for the tip, I will definitely check it out! :D