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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

Recruit users that use assistive technologies to effectively test for accessibility. The best way to know how accessible an IT system is to see it tested using assistive technology, such as screen readers, voice recognition tools, etc. If the tester is not familiar on how assistive technologies are used, it is critical to enlist assistive technology users for testing.
Use WAI-ARIA states and properties to support platform accessibility APIs. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) Guidelines
Ensure the system is usable with assistive technologies.

Ignore images using HTML

Ignore background images or decorative content using CSS

Use headings such as h1, h2, and h3 consistently to inform users and Assistive Technologies of importance of information

Examples of Heading use

Provide text alternatives for all non-text content.

Provide short descriptions that serve the same purpose

Provide short descriptions with long description alternatives

Provide alternatives for time-based media.

For audio and video content, create transcripts that are provided with the media

Example of transcript usage

For video content, add closed captioning that includes speech and descriptions of visuals

Example of Closed Captioning

Ensure content is appropriate and logically marked up.

Keep content concise and to the point. Tag content using web best practices.

Provide descriptive headings

Provide descriptive labels

Use color and visual images appropriately.

Use CSS to apply color focus

Ensure all website functionality is available from the keyboard.

Use standard HTML form controls and link elements

Use the California State template built-in classes and fonts

Provide users enough time to read and use content.

Provide a checkbox that allows users to ask for longer session time limit or no session time limit

Provide a way for the user to turn the time limit off

Allow the content to be paused and restarted

Avoid timers wherever possible

Identify inappropriate flashing content.

Avoid the use of Flash, GIFs, flashing and blinking content whenever possible.

Example of the 3 blink threshold

Content organization for optimum usability

Provide a "skip to main content" element at the beginning of a web page for Assistive Technologies.

Example of Bootstrap "Skip to main content"

Use headings such as h1, h2, and h3 consistently to inform users and Assistive Technologies of importance of information

Examples of Heading use

Examples of Bootstrap Nested Headings

Ensure web pages have appropriate titles.

Give web pages descriptive titles that help users find content, orient themselves within it, and navigate through it. Descriptive titles allow users to identify what Web page they are using and to tell when the Web page has changed.

Examples of descriptive titles

Make navigation order logical.

Place important and popular content on the top of web pages. This will reduce the amount of content an Assistive Technology will need to read through.

Use section headings to organize content

Use page breadcrumbs on all web pages to allow for easy navigation and site location awareness. The State Template uses a built-in breadcrumb class which will automatically place page titles in a logical order.

Using the Bootstrap breadcrumb class

Make sure web pages have meaningful hyperlinks.

Links should describe what users can expect to find when they click on the link.

Links should be kept short and concise.

Avoid using "click here." Screen reading technologies will read the text aloud and will have no meaning when read out of context.

Do not use URLs as link text. URL's can be long and difficult to read.

Make keyboard focus visible.

When using the keyboard to navigate, link order should be logical and visually identify what is being selected.

Ensuring keyboard control for all functionality

Identify language.

Language should be identified at the top of the page with the following tag.

html lang="n"

Use Language HTML attributes

Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.

Bring familiarity to web pages for users by:

Using labels, names, and text alternatives consistently throughout web pages.

Keeping navigational elements consistent throughout web pages.

Provide input assistance to help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Assist users with text notifications for required fields.

Provide instructions for functionality.

Provide text descriptions of specific data formats required for input.

Create scripts to test accessibility.

Create a library of test scripts based upon WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards to reduce testing time and to increase consistency.

Manually test and verify results of all accessibility-focused test scripts.

Utilize assistive technologies as part of the usability testing and validation process.

Assistive Technology (AT) generally falls into two categories:

  • AT device any item that directly assists an individual with a disability to increase, maintain, or improve their capabilities.

  • AT service any service such as evaluation of work site, interpreting services, creating OCR (optical character recognition) documentation, and training on assistive technology. Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Some examples of assistive technologies include:

  • Screen Readers
  • Magnification Tools
  • Voice Recognition
  • Video Conferencing
Utilize in-browser accessibility testing tools as part of the usability testing and validation process.

Similar to Assistive technology (AT), browser based accessibility tools help improve an impaired user's ability to consume content on a website via the web browser.

Accessibility testing tools include, but are not limited to:

Ensure that an Accessibility Issue Log (Test Incident Report) is produced or referenced in the Test Summary Report.

Logs all issues and defects regarding compatibility or failure to meet accessibility requirements.

Log should include:

  • Issues and defects re: accessibility found in testing

  • Environment the issue or the defect was discovered

  • Test scenarios, scripts, and data used

  • Severity and priority of defect

  • Requirements traceability "which requirement does the defect impact"