To make sure a website is accessible (1) have well-trained web developers create it, (2) evaluate it with software tools, and (3) have end users test it. Information about the importance of involving end users in site testing can be found at the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative site. UC developers should set evaluation tools to analyze sites for the WCAG 2.0 level AA standards. If they wish, they can also test for the section 508 standards.
Some Options for Testing Tools
- Fangs (free): This Firefox extension displays a textual representation of a web page similar to how it would be read by screen-reading software. It also provides lists of headings and links on the page, which are popular features in screen-reading software.
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator 2.0 (free): This tool from the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign allows the user to enter a URL and get a quick accessibility evaluation of that one page. Users can opt to create a free account to evaluate multiple pages at a time and generate and save reports. FAE 2.0 tests HTML5 and ARIA techniques or HTML 4.
- SortSite (commercial): Generates site-wide reports for accessibility, broken links, device compatibility, SEO, privacy, usability, and validation.
- TAW (free): This application only tests for W3C standards, not section 508. It has an online checker, a Firefox plugin, and a Java based stand-alone application. The Java application has spidering capabilities and provides great detail into the page errors as well as a very nice correction suggestion system.
- Total Validator (free and commercial): Total Validator Basic tool is a free desktop testing tool for individual web developers to test single web pages. The Pro tool, which costs $40 per license, can report on entire websites. Total Validator is also available as an online testing resource and Firefox and Chrome browser extensions.
- WAVE (free): This toolbar provides a mechanism for running WAVE reports directly within Firefox and Chrome. WAVE is a free online tool from WebAIM.