Top 5 Accessibility Tools

My tilted reflection stares back at me as I ponder whether I’ll ever get around to hanging this full length mirror up on the wall. For months it has been leaning there next to the canvas prints that long for a nail to sit upon, far away from my clumsy footsteps.

Realistically, that isn’t likely to happen until my toolbox pries itself from between the lawnmower and empty shoeboxes I’m convinced I’ll find a use for.

What I want is for someone to bring my toolbox to me, hand me the best tools for the job and show me how it’s done.

If monitoring and assessing the accessibility of your websites is your mirror to hang, I’m about to bring you your tools.

Whether you’re just getting in to the accessibility swing of things or you’re well practiced in making a website accessible, this responsibility can be very daunting. There are so many reasons a website could become inaccessible and they’re not always easy to keep on top of.

Here’s where the tool talk comes in! There are plenty of accessibility tools available online. The W3C publishes a list of these at https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/ Currently there are 88 tools displaying for me but I’ll ease you in gently with a Top 5:

Colour safe palette generator

Really nice site where you can create stylish and accessible colour palettes based on WCAG Guidelines of text and background contrast ratios.

http://colorsafe.co/

aXe Chrome extension

The free aXe Chrome extension is an accessibility testing tool that returns zero false positives. You can run audits in the browser and it will show all accessibility errors along with an explanation of the broken rule (from WCAG 2.0 and section 508) and the corresponding standard.

http://bit.ly/2a1W6oJ

Accessibility Checker

Accessibility Checker is an innovative solution that lets you inspect the accessibility level of content created in CKEditor and immediately solve any accessibility issues that are found.

https://cksource.com/ckeditor/services#accessibility-checker

Dashboard for automatic accessibility testing

This web dashboard automatically performs daily tests of web pages. Graphs help you track improvements and regressions over time. It’s especially useful for non-developers to see how your sites perform.

https://github.com/pa11y/dashboard

Accessibility visualisation toolkit

tota11y helps you to visualise how your site performs with assistive technologies. Great for those with no prior accessibility knowledge as it help you to visualise accessibility violations (and successes), while educating on best practices.

http://khan.github.io/tota11y/

The best tool though? User research. There’s no better way of finding what needs fixing than by watching someone navigate your site with the use of a screenreader or other assistive technology. Just like looking in a mirror, you’ll never be able to see what someone else does.

If you want to find a digital agency with a background in web development, accessibility, usability, App design and build, feel free to get in touch with the friendly team at focusgov to discuss your project https://www.focusgov.co.uk/enquiries/new.

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