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Optimize Your Testing Practices: Accessibility

Author: Yury Lerner Co-author: Melissa McElroy Posted In: Testing

Accessibility is another hot topic in today’s testing world. Lawsuits are on the rise and organizations working with government agencies must be compliant with modern accessibility standards and guidelines.

Before diving into the topic of accessibility, we once again polled our attendees. We found that more than half of respondents include accessibility in the development process, but only two respondents included accessibility as early as the design stage. Most respondents who do include accessibility in the development process include it at the testing stage.

Thankfully, you can evaluate your application’s accessibility easily using free tools and browser add-ons. These tools scan through your application pages and generate a report of issues, detailing why certain elements do not align with WCAG guidelines and what remediation is required, while referencing accessibility guidelines and providing code snippets to help address the problem.

Common Issues

Common issues include:

  • improper text contrast
  • missing alt test
  • missing input labels
  • empty links and buttons
  • failure to specify the language being used

These issues make it difficult for users who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to interact with your site or application.

How to Create More Accessible Software

Creating more accessible software doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. The first step is to identify a champion within your organization who can lead the accessibility effort and begin by assessing where your organization currently stands in terms of accessibility regarding both inclusion in the SDLC and compliance with standards.

Like quality, the whole team can own accessibility, especially product owners and designers which brings accessibility to the beginning (left) of the SDLC. Teams can work together to create accessible designs, execute tests via browser add-ons, prioritize defect reports to then develop a plan to address those defects and incorporate those findings back into the process to avoid defects in the future. It’s important to educate all teams on accessibility standards and to create a centralized learning hub and document repository. This needn’t be a costly project; leverage existing tools and in-house talent to lead the effort.

You can also include accessibility in your shift left mentality by developing with accessibility in mind and including accessibility checks in your quality plan. As your organization adopts accessibility into your processes, document continuously. The more information your teams have access to and the more knowledge your teams possess on this topic as well as how it may impact your organization, the better.

This article is part of a series on a webinar SPR hosted. The webinar, Doing More with Less: Optimize Your Testing Practices, was presented by SPR’s Yury Lerner and Melissa McElroy. See the other topics in this series, including Shift Left, AI, Automation and Accessibility.