top of page

Accessibility Testing Best Practices: Ensuring Inclusive Product Quality

Quality written on a chalkboard with various symbols and drawings of what quality might mean

This year, the theme for National AccessAbility Week is “Disability Inclusion: From Possibilities to Practice”. Technology is evolving faster than ever before and ensuring product quality is a crucial aspect of product design and development. As technology advances, it becomes even more essential to create inclusive digital experiences that cater to individuals with disabilities.

Accessibility testing plays a vital role in this process, allowing product teams to identify and address potential barriers that may hinder the usability of their products. So, let's explore some of the best practices for conducting effective accessibility testing, ultimately paving the way for a more inclusive digitally enabled world:

1. Understand the Guidelines - To create a comprehensive accessibility test plan and strategy, it's imperative to familiarize yourself with established accessibility guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 or the newer WCAG 2.2. These guidelines provide a framework for product teams to follow, outlining the standards for creating accessible solutions. By understanding these guidelines, you can ensure your tests cover the essential accessibility principles.

2. Involve People with Disabilities - Include individuals with disabilities in the testing process to gain valuable insights into their experiences and challenges. Usability testing with people who have disabilities can provide crucial feedback and highlight potential accessibility issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Their input is invaluable in improving the overall accessibility and user experience of your digital products.

3. Use Automated Testing Tools - Leverage automated accessibility testing tools to identify common accessibility issues efficiently. These tools can quickly scan your website or software application, highlighting potential violations of accessibility guidelines. While they are helpful, remember that automated tools can only detect certain types of issues, so manual testing is still necessary to uncover more complex accessibility barriers.

5. Conduct Manual Testing - Manual testing is essential for capturing nuanced accessibility issues that automated tools may miss. Write test cases and conduct a thorough manual review of your product, testing for keyboard accessibility, focus management, color contrast, alternative text for images, and semantic HTML structure, among other critical aspects. Manual testing requires a keen eye for detail and ensures a more comprehensive evaluation.

6. Test with a Variety of Assistive Technologies - Consider using a range of assistive technologies during testing, such as screen readers, magnifiers, voice recognition software, or alternative input devices. Each technology serves a different purpose and can help identify specific accessibility issues. By testing with multiple assistive technologies, you can ensure your website or application is compatible with various tools used by individuals with disabilities.

7. Test Across Multiple Device Platforms, Operating Systems and Browsers - Ensure that your product is accessible across different device platforms, operating systems and browsers. Each device platform, operating system and browser may have specific accessibility settings and features, and testing across them helps identify potential discrepancies and ensures a consistent experience for all users.

8. Document and Prioritize Accessibility Issues - Create a comprehensive report that documents all accessibility issues encountered during testing. Prioritize these issues based on their severity and potential impact on users. By providing clear documentation, the whole team can efficiently address the identified accessibility barriers and track progress towards achieving an accessible product.

9. Ongoing Accessibility Testing - Accessibility testing should be an ongoing process throughout the product development lifecycle. Conduct regular tests, especially when making significant changes or adding new features. Ensuring continued accessibility helps maintain an inclusive user experience as your product evolves.

Accessibility testing is crucial for ensuring that your product meets user standards and expectations. By following these best practices, you will build customer trust and loyalty, which will result in fewer customer complaints and it might even get you some positive customer reviews and recommendations. Prioritizing accessibility not only makes ethical sense but also creates business value by increasing your market reach to a wider audience. Let's all commit to building a more inclusive world, one accessible product at a time.


bottom of page