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ADA compliance checker
17 January 2022
ADA compliance

Read This Before You Use an ADA Compliance Checker

Achieving website accessibility is a task that requires continuous effort. It is a tough job that requires time and attention, and not a project that once done, is forgotten.

If you want to attain ADA compliance, the first step is to test website accessibility. 

In today’s post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about an ADA compliance checker before you get started on your web accessibility journey.

To understand ADA compliance for websites, visit our guide below.

ADA compliance guide

ADA Compliance Checker 101

What exactly is an ADA compliance checker (aka accessibility checker)? A compliance checker is a tool that evaluates ADA compliance and identifies barriers on your website that affect differently-abled people.

You can use an accessibility checker throughout your website building process, from development to design. Additionally, this tool provides a fully automated website audit, helping you review your website manually.

But, the downside to using an ADA compliance checker is that not all accessibility aspects can be found automatically – you’ll need human judgment to ensure full accessibility.

Why Use an ADA Compliance Checker?

This tool is helpful when you need to comply with accessibility standards.

So, why do you need to use it? ADA compliance checkers ensure that your digital content complies with regulations.

Adhering to these guidelines means that your content is also accessible to the differently-abled and other groups in the population.

If your content is accessible, users can view and use your content in different ways. These include reading captions, video and audio transcripts, and using a keyboard for navigation.

These features are helpful to a variety of people. They include:

  • Users in mobile environments
  • Non-native English speakers. 
  • Seniors who can’t perform tasks the way they used to
  • Users with temporary injuries
  • Multi-taskers
  • New and inexperienced online users

Aside from assisting disabled users, you also get more business benefits, including better SEO. 

But remember: it shouldn’t stop there. While using an accessibility checker identifies barriers, you’ll still need the expertise of a consultant to conduct a thorough check.

This way, you can improve the user experience of not just one but many groups of people.

Features of an ADA Compliance Checker

features of ADA compliance checker

Accessibility checkers cater to a wide range of audiences. This includes developers, designers, content authors, and even end-users.

As mentioned, an accessibility checker tests your website for potential accessibility concerns. Because of this, it needs several features to be effective.

If you’re planning to audit your website first, here are the accessibility checker features you should look out for:

Main Features

Language

The best accessibility checkers support different languages.

Format Support

Most accessibility checkers you’ll find online test the accessibility of HTML content, while others test the accessibility of other technologies. These include CSS, PDF, and SVG.

Type of Tools

An accessibility checker can come in the form of a plugin or browser extension, command-line tool, or desktop or mobile application. There are also online services that offer accessibility checks.

You should also keep in mind that you can combine these tools if necessary.

Guidelines

Depending on where you are, you may be required to comply with different accessibility standards. Thus, different tools support different standards.

Most tools support the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the internationally recognized accessibility standard.

Assistance

You can use some accessibility checkers in more than one way. Below are some of the common features that accompany website audits:

1. Reports

This provides users with feedback following a website scan.

2. In-Page Feedback

In-page feedback refers to the temporary icons and markup that display the results of a website audit. These are useful to evaluate accessibility issues in context.

You’re also going to need them to understand the relative importance of each accessibility issue.

3. Step-by-Step Evaluation

Most automated accessibility checkers guide users through a series of checks. These tools employ automated tests and tell the user to evaluate the rest.

For example, a fully-automated accessibility checker may check images for alternative text. Then, the user checks whether the text is appropriate or not.

4. Page Transformations

Transformation tools alter the appearance of a website to determine design issues. For instance, the accessibility checker may show the site without color or non-text content.

You can use these tools to compensate for the limitations of a fully-automated accessibility checker.

License

You’ll find a variety of license types that cover accessibility checkers. These include Enterprise, Commercial, and Open Source.

Automatic Checks

Depending on what accessibility checker you use, the scope of what it can automatically check varies. Some tools can check a group of related web pages, while others can only check one at a time.

Others also check accessibility issues on password-restricted content.

Accessibility Information

Of course, an accessibility checker must be accessible to differently-abled people. Hence, you’ll find some tools that provide information about how they support accessibility.

Accessibility checker

Other Helpful Features

Aside from the ones mentioned above, an accessibility checker can offer other optional features that may be helpful to you.

Report Format

Most tools provide reports in different formats, including HTML, XML, PDF, and CSV.

API

Some quality assurance and content creation tools enable you to access an accessibility checker directly. Thus, the accessibility checker provides different types of APIs for this interaction.

Browser Plugins

You can use browser plugins/extensions to ensure website content is correct and runs smoothly within a browser.

Online Service

An accessibility checker can provide different online services. These include:

  • Some checkers let you enter your web address to check it against various standards and specifications.
  • Server installation of some tools can audit your website on an internal network. Some of these tools can also check password-protected or draft content.
  • Hosted services regularly check your website for accessibility and report on your website’s improvement. Others also offer enterprise solutions, which you can access through a subscription.

Authoring Tool Plugins

Some accessibility checkers guide non-technical content authors to test content within their tools directly. These include MS Word, content management systems, and Adobe Acrobat.

ADA Compliance Checker Factors to Consider

Of course, before using an accessibility checker, there are factors that you have to consider. For example, you may need a fully-automated accessibility checker, while other companies may only need occasional website audits. 

Thus, different teams and projects call for different features. Here are some of the things you may want to consider when choosing accessibility plugins:

1) Organizational structure and website development process

A combination of evaluation tools could meet the team members’ different needs during all project stages.

2) Complexity and size of online content

Websites could have a lot of multimedia content. Some complex sites could benefit from advanced technologies such as SMIL or MathML.

Thus, specialized accessibility tools may be critical for these websites.

3) Knowledge and skills of web developers

Choose the accessibility tool that is appropriate for your team’s skills.

Some evaluation tools require more knowledge of accessibility and coding, while others help increase accessibility and code knowledge.

Wrapping Up

Accessibility checkers help simplify the ADA compliance process. A checker with all the right features can make a significant difference to your website and business. 

It’s important to make the most of this tool and make your websites accessible to all. You can also find many accessibility checker options online

Find out where you stand in your accessibility journey by auditing your website on Accessibility Checker 

Found this article helpful? Learn more about accessibility by reading more insightful articles below!

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