Quick(ish)-start guide for accessibility evaluations

If you’re new to web accessibility, it can be super overwhelming to figure out how to get started. Over the last few years I’ve spent quite a few hours days months pouring over the tedious guidelines, trying different techniques, playing with tools & evaluators, and reading books, articles, and tutorials… and I still have lots to learn and I still have LOTS of work to do.

So, here’s my quick-start guide to get you over the hump. Cause, you know, not to nag, but you really should be doing more of this.

(I’m intentionally not going into all the how and why – I’ll leave that up to the tools or a quick google search.)

Use the WAVE Firefox Toolbar

This is a must-have tool. It even allows you to do evaluations of websites that haven’t gone live yet.

  • Use “Errors, Features, and Alerts” for feedback directly on your website.
  • Use “Outline” to make sure headings are logical, describe the order of content well, and are properly nested. If you aren’t using headings, you should! (It’ll also help your SEO)
  • Use “Text-only” to view the order of the content. Imagine you have to read the page from beginning to end. Is the important information first? Would the page benefit from skip links?

Uh oh. My blog has 4 accessibility errors. I need to get on that.
WAVE tool in action & thanks for checking to see if I used an alt tag!

Use the Web Developer toolbar

Great for many things and also a must-have.

  • Disable Javascript to test any functionality that uses javascript. Make sure everything is still functional or offer an alternate way to do the task.

Validate your code

The web developer toolbar has these (and more) built-in or you can just go directly to the service.

THAT’S IT.

Ok, just a few more things. Here are some more tools and links I’ve gathered that might also be useful.

offers suggestions for fixes.

For those that already have a set of methods, what do you do differently?

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