Thursday, September 19, 2019

Simple Way to Determine Your Website's Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 say the websites of all government agencies and those that receive federal funding must be accessible to everyone including those with disabilities. This means all public schools and schools that receive any federal funding.

Making your website accessible requires content contributors to know strategies such as using meaningful hyperlinks, proper color contrast, using alt text for images, and formatting with proper heading structure.

Determining your website's accessibility

Fortunately, determining a websites accessibility is quite simple using a tool call WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.  Simply visit the site and paste the url into the field.

Screenshot of the WAVE website at In the empty field is the website

The WAVE Report

Once you hit enter you will get a report with errors and alerts. 
Screenshot of the results of the Wall Street Journal. It shows 16 errors and 39 alerts.

Reading the Report

To read the report, simply click the red flag to determine your issues. In this example we see there are issues such as missing alternative text. To learn about the issue, simply click the "i" next to the issue for more information.
Screenshot of the WAVE report. The flag is selected to reveal errors such as missing alternative text. such as

More information

When you select the little "i" you receive more information about the error. You'll learn the following:

  • What it means
  • Why it matters
  • How to fix it
  • The standards and guidelines

Screenshot of "More Information" about the error: Missing alternative text.

Content Management Systems

This is the first step in testing a websites accessibility. After the automated testing, a human can take a closer look at the errors and alerts. When you do, you may find that the content management system hosting the website is not accessibility friendly. If that's the case, do your best to reach out to them to change that or switch platforms.

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