By Ray Parker
Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing that is performed to ensure that application being tested is usable by people with disabilities (physical, vision, cognitive, hearing, etc.). According to the World Report on Disability (WRD), more than 1 billion persons in the world have some form of disability. People with disabilities face numerous challenges and one of them is unemployment. A good website with accessibility features can help them understand. Not only that, with freelancing and online jobs, they can earn for themselves too. 1 billion out of the 7 billion people correspond to about 15% of the world’s population and people with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people. The employment rate of disabled persons is 44% and 75% for non-disabled persons. One is bound to think about a vast pool of human resource is going to waste? And how much it affects the economy as a whole? Since the tech industry has taken over every field and department of mankind it will be very unfortunate if disabled persons can’t use such software and systems to gain access to employment opportunities. Besides employment opportunities, people with disabilities can aid companies in generating ROI when they use their products. It is, therefore, very important to create websites and apps that have good accessibility features.
Now let’s have a look at common disabilities and their respective remedies:
- Vision Disability: Let us assume a person doesn’t have the blessing of vision. They can’t easily access a website and in order to do so, they will require a screen-reader. Yes, you got it right. Screen-reader is a software that can narrate the content of the screen. Basically, website content such as a link, Images, video or radio buttons, etc. all can be read by a screen reader.
- Physical Disability: For a physically disabled person it is very difficult to access the web using a mouse. For example, if a person’s right hand is paralyzed they may not be able to easily access the website. In this case, the website should be completely accessible and controllable with the keyboard.
- Hearing Disability: A deaf person can access and navigate through all kinds of websites and systems but when it comes to audio or video, they face difficulties. For example, if they need to see any tutorial or any training video they will face difficulties. In that case, alternative text should be present and all the videos should have subtitles so a deaf person can read that and get the idea of what the video is about.
Check out the following quick checklist to make a website accessible. Check:
- Whether application provides keyboard equivalents for all mouse operations and windows?
- Whether application provides text narration and alternative text for audios and subtitles for videos?
- Whether instructions are provided as part of user documentation or manual book? Is it easy to understand?
- Whether training is provided for users with disabilities?
Accessibility testing is very challenging and difficult for testers because they are unfamiliar with disabilities. So, it is recommended to work with test groups to address maximum issues.
In software engineering, accessibility testing helps in making applications disabled-friendly. If following accessibility guidelines is not possible due to the complexity of web applications and its features, build one version of the website for regular users and another for disabled users.
Ray Parker is a senior marketing consultant with a knack for writing about the latest news in tech, quality assurance, software development and travel. With a decade of experience working in the tech industry, Ray now dabbles out of his New York office.