Accessibility refers to the ability for all people, regardless of disability type, to use your website effectively.
As time has gone one, the importance of accessibility has exploded— in some cases even leading to lawsuits due to inaccessible websites.
How to test your website’s accessibility
It’s important to know that website accessibility is a spectrum, not a binary test. There are hundreds of factors that go into how accessible your website is— but there’s no denying the more accessible it is, the more widely used it can be.
W3 provides a great introduction to accessibility, which for the sake of this article we’ll point you there for more information on what determines accessibility and the different standards.
For now, let’s talk about an easy way you can test: the Wave web accessibility evaluation tool.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to test accessibility, that provides easy instructions on what improvements you can make, there’s no better free test on the market.
Once you landing on the testing tool page, pop in your URL and hit the arrow to begin the test.
In the following screen you’ll see your website on the right hand side, along with results from the test in the left hand column. Each test will have an indicator on your website with some great tooltips that will tell you what you’ve done right, or what you need to improve.
Don’t let the number of tips on the page overwhelm you, they are extremely helpful in giving you guidance on each and every asset on your page.
Focus on the errors first, then the alerts. You’ll likely find that many of these suggestions can be implemented easily and quickly.
Keep in mind that you’re not testing your entire website, just the specific URL you entered in the search field. You’ll want to test all of your key pages to make sure you’re not overlooking any issues that could be easily fixed.
Here are a few more resources if you’re wanting to learn more about accessibility standards on the web:
Building Accessible Websites — The Admin Bar podcast, with Heather Gray
How People with Disabilities Use the Web — by W3.org
Website Accessibility & the Law — by Search Engine Journal