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
- Accessibility Management Platform (AMP) (commercial): SSB BART Group's web-based testing tool analyzes pages and/or sites for adherence to WCAG 2.0 level AA and Section 508 standards. The product includes a desktop testing tool and browser plug-ins for Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as an extensive training library.
- A-Prompt (free): This desktop testing tool from the University of Toronto analyzes one page at a time for adherence to accessibility and WCAG 2.0 level AA standards. A-Prompt produces an error report, briefly explains the errors, and can even correct the errant code in the local file.
- 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 Website (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. Some of its reasons for failing a page do not conform to established accessibility standards, so it should only be used as a general guide.
- HiSoftware Products (commercial): HiSoftware offers Compliance Sheriff for centralized testing and reporting of web domains and server solutions.
- RAMP (free and commercial): Testing tools from Deque Systems provide a cross platform (Java) application that runs on your local computer and has user-friendly reporting. The free personal edition allows you to manually evaluate one page at a time. The commercially provided versions (Ramp Ascend and Ramp Grade) spider an entire web site.
- 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.
- WAT-C Accessibility Toolbar (free): This extension for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera links to a variety of accessibility resources, including color analyzers, an image flicker rate analyzer, and HTML and CSS validation tools.
- WAVE Firefox toolbar (free): This toolbar provides a mechanism for running WAVE reports directly within Firefox. WAVE is a free online tool from WebAIM; it has a somewhat cryptic reporting method that utilizes colored symbols.