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There is a lot of information out there about accessibility, and we use a selection of tools and resources in our accessibility work at Oklahoma ABLE Tech. There is no reason we shouldn't share some of our favorites. Please use these to help as you create more accessible information technology products.
Accessibility testing should be done throughout a website or web application's design process. There are several great tools to help you to organize and implement a thorough, but not resource-crushing, testing process. Below are some of our favorite resources to help you along the way.
Toolbars run directly from your browser. They let you perform accessibility testing and evaluation on any web page that you bring up, even pages that you have to log into. Like any automated tool, they won't catch everything. But they are a key part of our testing process.
Testing web sites and applications using assistive technologies offers you a lot of benefits. You get to learn some of the tools that people with disabilities use to use technology, which is incredibly informative. You also get better insight into the true, functional accessibility of the site or application.
Speech recognition tools help people with print disabilities, people with mobility disabilities, and people that otherwise don't want to or need to use a keyboard to control their computers with the sound of their voice. Operating systems have more speech recognition technology built into them now than they used to, but third-party tools have become less expensive and more capable over time.
Screen reading software takes text on the screen and puts it out audibly. Screen readers read what's on the screen, but they also read markup and indicate things like the presence of images, form fields, and form controls (if those are all accessible, of course).
People with some forms of low vision often use screen magnification softare to help them to read what is on the screen. Mac and PC operating systems and browsers have basic screen magnification built in, but the third party tools let you do more.
Toolbars aren't the only way to go when it comes to checking web pages for accessibility. There are a lot of different tools that run from websites, too.
There are a few tools that you can download and run directly from your computer. They can be very helpful.
There are a couple of websites that show the differences, both in presentation and in structure, between accessible and inaccessible web pages. Use these to practice your website accessibility testing and experiment with different tools.
We use social media more and more to communicate with our consumers. It is vital that we make sure that we account for accessibility in our social media, just like we do in the rest of our technology.