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Automated Testing for Website Accessibility - Is it Enough?

There is more to accessibility than auto-generated reports

Man at computer overwhelmed with accessibility testing

We wish we could say yes, but unfortunately, it is not nearly enough. It is vital to remember that while automated scan tools are beneficial to the audit process and can help you catch many accessibility issues, they are not capable of testing everything. For example, here are a few things an automated tool cannot do:

  • Test for keyboard accessibility
  • Tell if content order is logical
  • Determine if alternative text is accurate
  • Account for background colors or all instances for use of color, including hover and focus

Pricing for automated testing software can start at around $3K for the software subscription and increase to more than $9K or more annually, depending on the school size. Then, the school realizes they still have to do all of the corrections themselves. The actual cost of providing an accessible website now includes extensive staff training of every person in the school or district who touches the website or creates attached content (usually PDFs), remediation of the website, and (if the website isn’t remediated or someone notices a barrier) possibly legal fees for having to respond to a complaint filed with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). 

If you have already purchased automated testing, we strongly recommend you ensure your website developers are fully trained on and understand website accessibility, including all the success criteria in both Section 508 and WCAG 2.0. Someone needs to know how to read those reports so you know which items are actual errors, right?

The end goal of an accessible website is not just to avoid legal action; it is to ensure equal access for everyone. In addition to having your IT team perform both automatic and manual reviews of your website, we recommend having disabled users review your website as well. Screen reader and keyboard only user testing is highly beneficial in website accessibility testing. If you do not have someone currently in your district to help with this, reach out to members of your community. 

If you find yourself at a loss, have no fear. We can help you with all of your accessibility needs. Our staff is fully trained on website accessibility and able to do everything for you from accessibility audits to remediation and accessible website management. Instead of overwhelming your staff, let us know how we can help you provide access for everyone.