What Is Accessibility Testing? Everything You Need To Know

Every software is developed for making things easy for everyone regardless of his/her disability, and that’s what makes that software comply with the accessibility standards.

Anything that a normal person can easily use, cannot necessarily be simple to be used by a person with disabilities like blindness, color blindness, hearing loss, old age issues, etc. As a result, they often need to use special assistive technology to use a normal tech product. Some of the popular assistive software are -

  • Screen Reader Software: People with blindness or very poor eyesight use this type of software that reads out the text being displayed on a screen.
  • Speech Recognition Software: This is a type of assistive technology that converts spoken words to text that can be provided as input to the computer.
  • Special Keyboard: It is something that provides easy typing capabilities to users who have motor control difficulties.
  • Screen Magnification Software: This is a type of software that is used by vision-impaired people so that the screen gets enlarged and they can easily read the content on the screen.

What Is Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility testing is the practice of checking your software applications to verify that they are easily usable for every person whether they are normal or have any kind of disability (e.g. vision impairment, hearing issues, or any other physical and cognitive conditions).

It is best performed when included in your default testing strategies. That way you will get ease in accessing the results of both types of tests together.

Why Is Accessibility Testing Important?

Accessibility testing is much more important than you might think, and avoiding it can cause problems for you in many ways. Let’s check out the prime reasons to perform these tests to get a clearer idea.

Creating Availability For Disabled People and Capturing The Larger Market

You must know how huge the percentage of disabled people is. Some statistics from authentic sources show that about 20% of the entire population of the world has disabilities. That means the ratio looks like this -

  • 1 in every 10 people has a severe disability issue.
  • 1 in every 2 people over the age of 65 has reduced capabilities.

These disabilities can be anything such as blindness, physical disabilities, deaf, or mental abnormalities. But, those issues should not exempt those people from getting benefits from the amazing tech products, and on the other hand, people’s inability to use them makes the tech companies lose out on reaching a huge portion of the market.

That’s why accessibility testing can make the apps available to everyone by helping you make them disabled-friendly, and you must always have it included in your software testing life cycle.

Must Follow Accessibility Guidelines

Now, it might be a common misconception that making every tech product accessible to every person is not mandatory for tech companies. But, in reality, it actually is. Different governments across the world have strict guidelines for building applications that must be accessible to everyone. Not following those legal conditions will get the tech companies into strict legal pursuits.

Some of the most popular legal acts in this field are -

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act was brought into action by the United States in 1990.
  • The Disability Discrimination Act was brought into action by the United Kingdom in 1995.
  • The Disability Discrimination Act was brought into action by the government of Australia in 1992.
  • The Disability Act was brought into action by the government of Ireland in 2005

Except these, most of the world nations have active guidelines for every app to be equally accessible to every person regardless of any disability. Hence accessibility testing is a highly important practice that can help you make sure that your tech product abides by the legalizations that you are required to follow.

Staying Away From Lawsuits

From the previous points, you might have already got the idea about how important it is to comply with the accessibility guidelines set by respective governments throughout the world. Yes, it indeed is, and not satisfying those legalizations can get any tech company involved in complex lawsuits.

Being an esteemed company, no one will ever want to get that black mark of lawsuits on them. The legal actions are so strict that previously Fortune 500 companies had to face lawsuits because their products did not fulfill the criteria of being disabled-friendly. Some of the most famous cases are mentioned below -

  • National Federation for the Blind (NFB) vs Amazon (2007)
  • Sexton and NFB vs Target (2007)
  • NFB Vs AOL settlement (1999)

Hence, it is always the best choice for you to build products that are equally accessible to everyone regardless of whether he/she has any disabilities or not. Maintaining this practice will keep you away from potential lawsuits.

Types of Disabilities That Your Product Must Support

We have jotted down a few common disabilities and some details about them to acknowledge you that your product must support them.

Type of Disability


Vision Disability

  • One might have complete blindness or color blindness or only poor vision.

  • One may suffer from other visual problems like visual strobe and flashing effect problems.

Hearing Disability

  • One may be completely deaf i.e. absolute hearing impairments.

  • One may have partial auditory issues i.e. he/she may hear sounds but cannot hear everything properly.

Physical Disability

Some physical disabilities can make someone unable to use tech products. They can be -

  • Unable to use the mouse or keyboard with one hand.

  • They may have poor motor skills such as abnormal hand movements and muscle slowness.

Cognitive Disability

This type of disability may cause someone to face learning difficulties or have poor memory or be unable to understand complex scenarios.

Literacy Issues

This is a type of disability where one suffers from reading problems.

How To Perform Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility testing is commonly performed in 2 ways that are -

  1. Manual
  2. Automated

It is a common issue that normal persons cannot completely understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities. So, if the tests are solely created, run, and managed by testers who are normal people, the tests will probably remain incomplete.

Hence, it is always a good idea to involve disabled people in the tests so that they can better understand their specific needs. Here we have jotted down a few effective ways of performing accessibility tests for different categories of people having different forms of visual disabilities.

Vision Disability

Vision disabilities are very commonly seen in people, and it is a very crucial one. If you cannot see anything or can just see it as a light, it will be extremely difficult for you to understand what you are dealing with.

Now, how do persons with visual disabilities use websites? Well, as we previously mentioned, they use screenreaders that read out everything present on the screen. That means it will read out every single thing such as content, button, link, image, videos, etc. that is present in the website’s user interface.

Here we are adding an example where a screen reader jaws is reading out Google.com’s homepage. So, it will be like this -

  • As you go to the address bar, JAWS will announce “ADDRESS BAR”.
  • Then as you type “www.google.com” in the address bar, JAWS will explain it like this -

Address Bar,w,w,w,period,g,o,o,g,l,e,period,c,o,m.

  • When the page gets loaded completely, it will again be announced as “Google.com Home page”.
  • Now, if you go to Google Search, then JAWS will announce it as “Google Search”.

Such detailed announcements will help a blind person easily understand what is present in the website’s UI and what you are doing with it. So, if a website is clearly designed, the screenreader will easily narrate everything letter by letter to you.

Now, the thing is if a website is poorly designed and developed, the screenreader may not be able to understand and narrate the things present on the screen. For example, it may end up reading out a link as a piece of ordinary content. That way a blind person can never understand & use the website properly, and the consequence will eventually lead to significant losses in that website’s business.

Visual Impairment

Now, except for complete blindness, there are two other common forms of visual impairments that many people suffer from. So, let’s check them out here.

1. Color Blindness

Color blindness is a type of disability where people become incapable of seeing some specific colors. Red and Blue are the two most common colors that people with color blindness cannot properly see.

Such an inability to see colors may make it hard for that disabled person to use a website, and that’s what website developers have to take care of. For that, if the website’s UI has components that have a majority of Red or Blue colors in them, the design should include black borders or other measures to make those components visible and recognizable to people with color blindness.

2. Poor Vision

Poor vision is one of the most common and even natural disabilities that the majority of the population suffers from. Now, the reason for calling it a natural disability is that it is a disability that can naturally occur in persons due to old age or reading for long durations or long exposure to electronic devices, and so on. Hence, this can be considered an extremely common disability.

Poor vision may be caused by several other reasons such as retina problems, etc. To make the website accessible to people with poor eyesight, you can take steps like -

  • Avoid small text. Larger texts can help a lot to see them with poor eyesight.
  • Provide zooming features. People with poor eyesight like to zoom texts on websites to make it comfortable for them to see. So, make sure to provide such zooming features that do not cause the text to break. Else, it will create a bad impression on your website.

Hearing Disability

A person with a hearing impairment or deafness might not have issues with dealing with the visual aspects of a website but he/she will be unable to listen to any audio or video that is present in the website’s UI.

To make those audios or videos accessible to persons with hearing disabilities, you must make sure to add Alt texts for them. Alt texts are alternative texts for those media contents that should be shown in a way that describes the same.

Now, if proper Alt texts are present on the website, deaf people can easily read them and use the website normally.

Other Disabilities

As you previously saw, except for visual and hearing disabilities, there can be many other forms of disabilities that may make one incapable of normally using tech products. For example, one may have such physical disabilities that make him/her unable to use a mouse. In such a case, that person has the only way to use the website through a keyboard but will the website allow it?

Well, the website must allow the user to access everything on its UI by using the keyboard only. For example, if a person who is right hand paralyzed wants to access your website, how will he be able to do that? He is incapable of using the mouse or can use either the mouse or the keyboard at once.

For such situations, there must be keyboard shortcuts available to access everything on the website. That means no matter how many buttons, text fields, dropdown menus, etc. are present on the website’s UI, there must be effective keyboard shortcuts present to access each one of them.

So, the overall point is that a successful website must take care of all the necessary steps such as providing proper alternative text for images, videos, and everything present on the website’s UI, and effective keyboard shortcuts for using anything on the website. These are the essential measures for a website to satisfy accessibility guidelines.

Sample Test Cases of Accessibility Testing

For complete accessibility testing, you must have a full-fledged list of the things that you need to check in the app. Here we have jotted down the most important ones for an effective accessibility testing experience.

  • Whether a product provides effective keyboard shortcuts for every operation that is traditionally performed by using the mouse?
  • Whether there are shortcut keys available for menus?
  • Whether tabs are in proper logical order so that one can navigate smoothly?
  • Whether proper instructions are provided as a user document or manual? And, if it is provided, is it easy to understand the instructions and follow them to operate the application?
  • Whether the response time of each screen or page is properly mentioned so that the user gets to know how long to wait?
  • Whether the application supports all operating systems?
  • Whether the design leads to the proper use of images or icons so that the end users can easily understand it?
  • Whether the color of the application is flexible for all users?
  • Whether the application has correctly written labels?
  • Whether the application allows users to adjust audio or video controls?
  • Whether there are audio alerts in the application?
  • Whether the application allows users to adjust or disable rotating, flashing, or moving displays?
  • Whether the application allows users to override default fonts for printing and text displays?
  • Whether one can view the highlighting with inverted colors? The color in the application can be tested by changing the contrast ratio.
  • Whether the color-coding is used as the only means of conveying information or indicating an action?
  • Whether proper training is provided to the users with disabilities to make them more familiar with the application?
  • Whether disabled people can properly hear audio and video-related content? You can test all multimedia pages with no speakers on websites.

Myths and Facts About Accessibility Testing



Accessibility testing is exclusive to physically challenged people.

Everyone can perform accessibility testing regardless of any disability because it will eventually improve the credibility of the software.

Accessibility testing is a costly approach.

If you can properly figure out the accessibility issues at the design phase besides the extensive testing, the accessibility testing will not turn out to be costly because it will help you save a lot of resources and rework.

Accessibility testing means modifying an unapproachable application to make it usable, so it will cost a lot of time and money.

You can limit your work to only the typical requirements of physically challenged users because it is not always a wise choice to integrate all the modifications at one time.

Accessibility testing is a basic and tedious process to perform.

It is a super important step as here you make your application suitable for all types of users.


This article clearly shows you how important it is to make your application accessible to everyone irrespective of his/her disabilities. Most of the governments across the world have set strict guidelines for tech businesses to build applications that everyone can easily use.

Here, you get to know what accessibility testing is, why it is so important, and how you can follow an effective step-by-step approach to perform it. This article also provides you with some more important information about accessibility tests. Hence, make sure you carefully read everything in it so that you become able to build software applications that can reach the entire market without any boundaries.

Though we will surely come up with a detailed article on the best accessibility testing tools, we must now mention that Preflight is by far the simplest and most effective codeless test automation tool that can solve all your testing needs within seconds and the users don’t even need to have any coding skills to use it. All you have to do is get started with us and enjoy an amazing testing experience.

To know more about our awesome products and solutions, you are always welcome to our website. And, if you have any queries, feel free to reach out to us. Also, if you love to read informative tech articles, do consider checking out our blog page.