Access-IT California - Index Access-IT CA - Getting Started Access-IT CA - Project Planning & Analysis Access-IT CA - Active Projects Access-IT CA - Resources & Tools


Within the testing phase of an IT project, the business analyst, application developer and system tester are critical to success. The criticality of these roles is amplified when conducting accessibility testing, as oftentimes post implementation fixes in these areas are cumbersome or simply not prioritized.

The systems analyst is an architect and plays several roles within the system development life cycle. The analyst is responsible for gathering and documenting systems requirements, including both technical, usability, and accessibility specific items. During the testing phase of a project, the analyst is responsible for:

  • Building and maintaining an accessibility testing into the systems test plan. In this effort, the analyst must ensure that all accessibility-related requirements are incorporated into the plan.

  • Being familiar with accessibility best practices for both development and testing resources.

The application developer, like the systems analyst, is responsible for operating in several phases of the systems development life cycle. Within the testing phase of the project, the developer must:

  • Primarily understand what assistive technology tools are available within the overall marketplace and what specific assistive tools will be used to interact with the production system.

  • Develop a deep understanding of accessibility-related requirements for all phases of SDLC, but specifically in terms of unit testing, validation and verification techniques.

  • Respond to and remediate defects found within the application that are specifically related to accessibility.

The systems tester is the primary resource responsible for the testing phase of SDLC. Within this phase, the system tester must:

  • Be familiar with accessibility standards and requirements. This familiarity must span multiple technologies including web forms, PDF documents, streaming media and mobile applications.

  • Be proficient in the use of common assistive technologies, including screen readers and magnifiers and voice recognition products.

  • Ensure test scripts are generated and test all functional and performance requirements in conjunction with accessibility requirements. This is typically completed by executing tests with either assistive technologies or automated tools.

  • Be familiar with and employ in-browser accessibility testing tools, such as WAVE.

  • Ensure that accessibility issues are documented using the same methods used to document all defects found within the testing phase.


Design | Build | Test | Implement



What to do

How to do it

Build accessibility validation into the Test Plan

To ensure application accessibility, incorporate the following element and access testing within the application test plan:

  • Keyboard Access (equivalents for all non-keyboard actions)

  • Timing Elements (should not require timed responses)

  • Screen Elements (should be consistently named/identified)

  • Consistency in look and navigation

  • Sounds (must also use visual cues)

  • Display (no flashing, must be able to control motion, parallax effect, etc.)

  • Color Contrast

  • Size (user must be able to set)

  • Documentation (must provide text)

  • Training (should specific training for assistive technology users)

  • Instructions for any workarounds or other special behaviors required for assistive

  • technology to use the system

Sample Accessibility Test Plan (Dept. of Justice)

Ensure the test plan follows applicable accessibility standards. The test plan must validate or refute each functional requirement in a way that is accessible and usable by everyone who needs to access and use the system.

Accessibility standards have been defined and documented by a number of regulations. These include:

  • WCAG 2.0 - covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible.

  • WebAim - comprehensive resources for ensure that a site is accessible and usable to those with disabilities. Covers topics such as usability, development, standards, evaluation and testing.

  • Section 508 - Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998 (29 U.S.C. 794 (d)), and the broader context of other related accessibility laws and policy.