Testing for Accessibility

In this section, we'll do a relatively simple accessibility check on a website or iOS application. Good choices for this exercise are your own personal website, if you have one, or the app or website for your company or organization. You might also choose an app or website that you use every day.

If you can't think of an app or website to investigate, two decent choices are Twitter, the social media app, and Audible, the audiobook app. Both are more or less accessible, but do tend to have small issues and accessibility bugs that reveal themselves during use.

Let's split our investigation into two parts:

  1. A preliminary check to answer some initial questions and to get our bearings in the website or application.
  2. A workflow check, in which we pick a common workflow, such as filling out a form, and attempt to complete it.

Preliminary Check

When orienting yourself to the app or page, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are all elements labeled? Are they labeled clearly?
  • Do you find the order of elements intuitive or meaningful?
  • Is the page broken into sections, tabs, or some other useful division?
  • Can you find the main navigation bar or toolbar? How easy is it to find?
  • Can you find the settings page? How easy is it to find?
  • If there are advertisements or images only for rhetorical (not informational) effect, how are they handled?

Workflow Check

Once you're oriented in the app, think of a common workflow, such as downloading an item, posting something, or filling out a form. Go ahead and try to complete the task. If you're doing the exercise during a live session, you may not have time to complete the task, especially since typing can be difficult. Don't worry if that's the case.)

While working to perform the workflow, consider these questions:

  • Is the workflow possible to complete?
  • Broadly, how easy or hard is the workflow to complete?
  • Did you run into specific accessibility issues while attempting to complete the workflow?
  • Can you imagine ways for the workflow to be streamlined or improved for use with a screen reader? Would you prefer that anything be laid out in a different way?