Checking Accessibility

When testing software accessibilitywe advise specifying a workflow of tasks that a user would be expected to complete.  Testing then involves taking 4 passes throught the application -  each time considering a different perspective and ensuring that the application is useable. 

The details of each of these passes will vary depending on the nature of the application (Web, native, or mobile).  

Pass 1: General Useability

Here we consider whether the application is predictable and consistent; if it presents time constraints; we check for inforamtion to determine where you are in the applicaition; examine the documentation and help; and check for text alternatives.

Pass 2: Visual Presentation and Characteristics

This pass considers how accessible the application is to those with visual and cognitive difficulties.  The focus is on checking whether colour is used approprately; whether text sizes can be increased; whether fields, forms and grids are labelled correctly.

Pass 3:  Navigation

For desktop applications this pass checks whether the applicaiton can be used without a mouse and whether keyboard traps exist.

Pass 4: Compatible with Assistive Technology (AT)

In this pass we use test the application with a subset of current AT products.  For desktop and web applications this includes: a screen magnification program; a screen reader and a voice recognition system.

Developers should be able to complete passes 1-3 (General, Keyboard Accessibility and Visual), support is available from the IT Service for pass 4 (Assistive Technology). 

During testing any areas of difficulty should be noted along with recommended actions.

Further information