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Top 5 Web Accessibility Checking Tools

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Why is web accessibility needed?  

Web accessibility means making the web accessible for all regardless of disability or impairment. As of 2016, approximately 3.8 million people in the US between the ages of 21 and 64 were either blind or had some type of vision impairment (Statista, 2018). For people with disabilities navigating the internet can be challenging and, in most cases, impossible because of the inaccessibility of websites. To combat this issue the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the primary internet standards organization, developed a set of international web accessibility guidelines called WCAG  to outline what is needed for websites to be accessible to users with disabilities. Tools exist to make sure business owners and web developers adhere to these standards. Below we have outlined the top 5 free web accessibility checking resources so that you can ensure your website is accessible to all.  

1. CommonAccess Website Scanner 


The CommonAccess website scanner is a web-based, online platform that checks your site for and WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 violations. The CommonAccess report initiates a full scan of your entire website and provides a breakdown of each accessibility issue that should be addressed. Out of all of the free scan tools in this article, the CommonAccess web scanner is the most comprehensive. The CommonAccess scanner breaks down each issue into two different priorities (Level A and AA) to let you know which issues are the most important and which ones need to be addressed first, as well as how to resolve these issues. Each problem is also hyperlinked to the Section 508 or WCAG guideline it correlates to, for the user to better comprehend the issue and everything it entails.  

2. WAVE by WebAIM 


WAVE by WebAIM is a web accessibility evaluation tool developed by WebAIM.org. It provides visual feedback about the web accessibility of your web content by creating icons onto your page where any errors may be. No automated tool can tell you if your website is accessible because it can never cover the human element that is needed for a full evaluation. However, WAVE encourages human assessment through the visual component and educates about web accessibility issues. WAVE is completely free and is very user-friendly. Simply click on the icons to learn more about the issue.

 3. A11Y Compliance Platform 


The A11Y Compliance Platform by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility gives reports and services to adhere to WCAG standards This platform is a web-based, online, service. With over 17 years of experience and a team of 150 accessibility professionals, The Bureau of Internet Accessibility is well versed in internet accessibility and give comprehensive reports on the accessibility of thousands of sites in over 60 countries. The report also comes with a free 30-minute consultation as one of their accessibility professionals go over all WCAG and Section 508 issues that appear on your site.

 4. Adobe XI Pro 


A credible and well-known name in web development, Adobe has their own version of a web accessibility platform called Adobe XI Pro. Many businesses, mostly restaurants, upload their menus as a PDF on their website. However, there are certain actions that need to be made to make sure the PDF is accessible. Adobe XI Pro fixes these issues by identifying accessibility issues in PDF documents and offering the ability to fix these issues (which many platforms do not offer). Adobe XI Pro covers WCAG guidelines and generates a report of all accessibility issues and explains the issues to prevent them in the future. 

5. Cynthia Says 


Cynthia Says is a free service offered by HiSoftware that guides users through any web accessibility issues on their site. Cynthia Says provides feedback of WCAG violations in layman’s terms for the business owner that doesn’t know all of the complex terms that come with web accessibility and web development (we get it, we’ve been there). This service is a collaborative education program of Cryptozone, ICDRI, and the Internet Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter. Cynthia Says is an online portal and is free to use. 

Conclusion

All five of these platforms are great resources to use to check if your website is WCAG compliant and accessible for all users, regardless of disability or impairment. However, no web accessibility tool has been created that can completely replace a human being. This is because current technology cannot imitate human behavior and thought processes. This shortcoming means the results from these tools should be analyzed with the context of the website in mind and a human analysis should always accompany the technological aspect to ensure full accessibility.   Scan your website for user accessibility today. For more information on web accessibility solutions and how your business can become compliant, schedule a demo. 


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