[Mailman-Developers] Acessibility Testing Tools (was Re: Hi! I'll be your intern for the summer :))

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Jun 22 16:23:02 CEST 2006

--On Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:15 AM +0200 emf wrote:

> If you know of a way that I can
> actually  test JAWS or another screen reader, I would be grateful for
> the pointer.

David Andrews already mentioned the demo versions of JAWS and 
Window-Eyes [1]. Thank you Dave for offering to help test! Dave can 
provide valuable insights and expertise. Human Evaluation is very 
important  [2]. Ethan please do download and try a screen reader. But 
like Dave said, it is best for inexperienced users not make design 
decisions based on their experiences with screen readers. It’s just too 
different from someone who uses the technology on a daily basis, 
because they have to.

Home Page Reader [3] is also a good tool for web developers and 
designers who are looking to try out a speaking browser. It will give 
you somewhat of an idea of how the blind or visually impaired would 
experience your pages. It presents a web page in two different views. 
It places the graphics view, a true rendering of the Web page, in the 
upper portion of the program window. Then, it shows a text view of the 
Web page in a window below that graphics view. Again, you'll gain an 
appreciation for what a blind user would hear when listening to your 
Web page. There is a free 30 day free demo available.  There is also a 
tutorial on Testing Web accessibility with Home Page Reader available 

One of the tools that I have my students use is to test forms is the 
WAVE. [5]  It will spot violations like missing labels, labels not 
associated with inputs, empty labels, etc. and notify you with icons. 

Cynthia [7] is also one online tool that every web developer should be 
familiar with. In the hands of someone trained to do accessibility 
checks, it's really no better or worse than any of the other tools. 
Cynthia analyzes web pages and checks for a set of accessibility 
problems that can be checked for automatically. Although it is a very 
limited program, it is also a good program. It can help with the 
checking process. The rest needs to depend upon human judgement.

There's a great little Colour Contrast Analyser Firefox Extension [8] 
by Gez Lemon I have found useful lately. It saves time and helps take 
the guesswork out of determining accessible color combinations. It can 
go through a page and check (give you pass or fail) on luminosity 
contrast ratios, difference in brightness, and difference in color.

Many, many more helpful accessibility tools exist. To get an idea of 
the number visit the Tool Section of the Web Design Reference. [9]

All the best,

[1] http://tinyurl.com/e9bno
[3] http://www-3.ibm.com/able/solution_offerings/hpr.html
[4] http://www-3.ibm.com/able/guidelines/web/webhprtest.html
[5] http://www.wave.webaim.org/wave/index.jsp
[6] http://www.wave.webaim.org/wave/explanation.htm
    (Scroll down to the forms section)
[7] http://www.contentquality.com/
[8] http://tinyurl.com/awlqm
[9] http://www.d.umn.edu/goto/tools
Laura L. Carlson
Information Technology Systems and Services
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN  55812-3009

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