Tools and techniques
Here at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign we use the CITES/DRES HTML Best Practices. for testing and evaluating of websites/web applications.
These Best Practices are not a new standard, but rather a statement of techniques for implementation of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and United States Federal Government Section 508 standards. Following the best practices in developing web resources not only improves accessibility for people with disabilities, but also improves interoperability, giving everyone the benefit of having more options for accessing and using those resources.
The HTML Best Practices organizes the accessibility issues in the following 5 categories:
- Navigation and Orientation
- Text Equivalence
- Scripting and Automation
we use 3 tools and methods to test and evaluate the accessibility of websites/web applications:
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)
The Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) analyzes web resources for markup that is consistent with the use of CITES/DRES HTML Best Practices for development of functionally accessible web resources that also support interoperability.
- Firefox Accessibility Extenssion
The Mozilla/Firefox Accessibility Extension makes it easier for people with disabilities to view and navigate web content. A toolbar provides easy access to navigation, styling, and keyboard enhancement functionality. Developers can use the extension to check their structural markup from the browser window to verify that it matches the page content. The Accessibility Extension helps authors to meet these kinds of accessibility practices that are so important for the browsing experience of all users and vital to those with special needs.
- Manual testing and evaluation
Finally we test and evaluate the website/web application manually for its usability/accessibility. Many pure accessibility problems can be identified by the above tools but there are certain usability/accessibility issues than can be only identified by human testers.
We usually start with FAE report to get an idea about the magnetute of the accessibility issues with a web site/web application. Then we use Mozilla/Firefox Extenssion tool to nerow down the problems In all 5 major categories of the Best Practices and record them. This requires a lot of interactions with the website/web application and this gives us a good exposure into the usability issues as well.