Accessibility Audit Process

Similar to security, privacy, UI and functionality testing , accessibility audit is an important aspect of digital content to be usable for everyone.

What is An Accessibility Audit

An accessibility audit is a systematic evaluation of a website, application, document, or digital product to assess its level of accessibility for users with disabilities. The process typically involves a combination of manual testing, automated tools, and expert analysis. The accessibility audit is commonly based on different standards / guidelines. The popular one is Web Content Accessibility guidelines (WCAG).

Accessibility Audit Process in Depth

Here’s a detailed overview of the accessibility audit process:

 Define the Scope:

Determine the scope of the accessibility audit, including the specific digital properties to be evaluated. This could be a website, web application, mobile app, or any other digital product. Typically when a website or an application is scoped for accessibility audit, different content types such as web pages, videos, PDF documents, web templates, common UI components, UI responsible for creating content, possible generated output have to be included.

Understand Accessibility Guidelines:

Familiarize yourself with relevant accessibility guidelines and standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or 2.1. These guidelines provide specific criteria for making digital content accessible to people with disabilities. This decision may be at organizational level. The common and globally accepted accessibility audit standards are W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Select Evaluation Tools:

Identify and select appropriate evaluation tools to aid in the accessibility audit. These tools can include both automated testing tools and assistive technology software. At Maxability we recommend a couple of industry best automation tools and have a standard set of assistive technologies for accessibility audits. You may request a sample report through our contact page.

Automated Testing:

Use automated accessibility testing tools to scan the digital properties and identify potential accessibility issues. These tools can detect common issues like missing alt text for images, improper heading structures, color contrast problems, and more. However, it’s important to note that automated tools alone cannot identify all accessibility barriers. One should also keep in mind that automation tools cannot provide accurate results and may throw false positives. Wherever the accessibility auditor is not confident on the results provided by the tool, manual inspection must compliment to ensure accuracy.

Manual Testing:

Conduct manual testing to evaluate accessibility aspects that automated tools may miss. This involves using assistive technologies like screen readers, magnifiers, and keyboard-only navigation. This step will give an experience  of how a person with disabilities would have on the product or website. Manual testing allows for a deeper understanding of the user experience and uncovers issues that require human judgment, such as the logical flow of content and keyboard accessibility. Manual audit only can identify and judge the accessibility problems that are content and design related.

Document Findings:

Document all accessibility issues discovered during the accessibility audit, along with their location and severity. Use a standardized format or accessibility audit report template to ensure consistency and clarity in reporting. Documentation is as important as the accessibility audit itself. At Maxability, we have a standardized report format. Our  reporting is based on WCAG success criteria that explains the

  1. Issue explanation.
  2. Disability category it impacts.
  3. Assistive technology / automation tool/ manual identified.
  4. Code snippet or screenshot or both for easy identification of the proble.
  5. Success criteria of WCAG against which the problem is identified
  6. Recommendation with a possible solution to remediate.
  7. Impact of the problem on a scale of 1 to 4 (critical, High, major, minor).
  8. Type of problem i.e., Code, design, content or others.

Summary Report:

An executive summary report with the information helpful for the management to take critical decisions. It can include:

  1. % of impact on each category of disability.
  2. % of critical, high, major and minor issues.
  3. % or top issue types.
  4. Tools, assistive technologies, operating system and other information helpful for reproducing the issue.

Collaborate with Development Team:

Work closely with the development team responsible for the digital product to discuss the audit findings, explain the identified issues, and provide guidance on how to fix them. Collaboration is crucial for effective remediation. If the development team is not familiar with fixing the accessibility problems, Maxability training portal can be a useful resource. Alternately the team can reach-out to Maxability for development support or training needs.

Re-audit and Verification:

After the development team has implemented the recommended fixes, conduct a re-audit to verify that the accessibility issues have been resolved. This may involve retesting both automated and manual checks to ensure compliance with the accessibility guidelines. Verification involves checking the previously identified issues while reaudit involves testing the website, application, mobile app, digital product again. The is required to ensure that the accessibility remediation effort has not led to new accessibility problems.

Ongoing Monitoring:

Accessibility is an ongoing process, so it’s important to establish a plan for ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Regularly assess and test new features or content to ensure continued accessibility and address any new issues that may arise.

Maxability Audit Support:

Maxability have experienced accessibility audit team. For your one time, continued or for on-going accessibility efforts Maxability can support. Use the Contact form for a sample report or setup a call or any other accessibility audit need.