Great (and free) Accessibility Checkers Apr 20, 2017

laptop keyboard, two pens, pink note paper, and a smartphone

Are you interested in making your website WCAG 2.0 compliant, but aren’t really sure where to begin? Luckily, there are some online tools to help you out. These digital accessibility checkers will evaluate your site and identify areas that do not comply with the standards. While you will need to interpret the results and update your site yourself (or get a web designer to help you out) these checkers are a great step toward compliance. Please note these are just a few of the checkers out there (and one of our own). There are lots of free and paid options out there. Have a look around and do some research to find the accessibility checker that will meet your needs the best. Now, here are a few website accessibility checkers you can use to get started making your site more accessible today!

The Bureau of Internet Accessibility’s WCAG 2.0 AA Report

Just type in your website’s URL and include a few details like your name, email address, and phone number. Your site will then be scanned and you will be emailed a report (it can take up to 48 hours in turnaround time) of what issues were found on your site that may make it noncompliant. The report is free, and will give you some great insight into what problems might be hindering visitors to your site.

AChecker

Want results sooner? Then try out AChecker web accessibility checker. This one is super easy to use, just type in your URL and hit the “Check It” button. You will quickly have access to the results of how your website measures up against the current WCAG 2.0 AA standards. The site designers even divided the results into Known Problems, Likely Problems, and Potential Problems.[1] This gives you an excellent starting point when you want to tackle the biggest or “Known Problems” first. You can then work your way down the list, and focus on handling any potential problems in the future. Once again, this option is free and a helpful way to learn how accessible your site is for your users.

UserWay’s Contrast Checker

Color contrast is really important on websites. If you have ever visited a site that had dark text on a dark background, light text on a light background, or used font colors that were impossible to read then you know what I am talking about. Having a good balance between colors on your website makes the content easier for visitors to read. It’s not just a “nice to have,” because bad contrast ratios can really impact how easy your website is for people to use. Don’t make them look elsewhere for information or cause them to miss critical content because the text to background contrast is off.

You can get starting using the UserWay Contrast Checker here. It’s free, and you just need to type in the color codes for your background and foreground colors from your website. Two sample text boxes at the bottom of the page will show you what your text looks like, and whether it passes WCAG 2.0 AA and AAA standards. If your contrast ratios do not pass the test, you can email the results to your web designer or to yourself so that you can make the necessary updates. You can also use the contrast checker to play around with different color combinations that are similar to your current style so you can find a combination that passes the WCAG 2.0 test.

Know the Rules

Looking for more background on the WCAG 2.0 rules? Elsevier has kindly made a checklist for the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to help you cover your bases. If you want a more comprehensive overview of what the accessibility rules are and what you might need to do to update your website, then this checklist will be extremely helpful. It’s also a great resource for any web developers who have clients that want to ensure their websites are compliant. However, do note that the checklist only covers level A of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, which meets the minimum requirements. It is an even better idea to make your website compliant with the AA or AAA standards, which you can learn more about on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines website.

Those are just a few ways to figure out whether or not your website is accessibly. It is a great idea to run an accessibility check sooner rather than later. That way, you will get a better idea of the scope of updates that you will need to make. If you notice that your site has a lot of issues or areas of noncompliance, then you will have a fair amount of work to do. These checkers are sometimes the spark for people to make their sites totally accessible, because the report shows you the compliance failures in black and white. While many people assume that their site “seems fine” these reports can be really surprising and spur them into action. Get ready to update your site and make the internet a more accessible place for everyone by using these handy compliance checkers!

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