Recommendations for Accessibility Testing in 2021

Accessibility Testing Recommendations 2021

2021, new us and new recommendations! As the new year shines its light upon us, the growing need to invest in the domain of accessibility testing becomes a given. While it is right to say that this need has been long strived for, the pandemic gave it a stronger push for a grounded emphasis and a corresponding need for availing accessibility testing services. 2021 will see a continued focus on sustaining a digitally inclusive ecosystem and areas that will help enhance the domain.

To see what this new year presents us with, let’s look at certain recommendations that can be implemented in accessibility testing:-

1. Accessibility is No More an Afterthought

The traditional process of bringing a product to life always considered accessibility as an afterthought. The notion that existed was- once a product is built and released, the aspect of accessibility comes into play therein.

But the complexities involved with this age old process are numerous- from revamping the whole code to rectify accessibility pain points to releasing a product that hasn’t taken into account over 15% of the world’s population that lives with some kind of a disability, in the first place. 

The trend that is underway and should ideally be adopted as a recommendation is to incorporate accessibility early-on. This essentially implies that accessibility is considered as a parallel effort during development and the core-engineering process.

Accessibility testing thus, would become a comprehensive effort in identifying and eliminating any issues that would plague end users who are differently-abled.

Weaving accessibility early-on would also help in seamlessly aligning with the set accessibility laws and guidelines, such as Section 508, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and WCAG.

Thus, rather than considering accessibility as an afterthought, shifting left should be the way to go forward. It should deliberately be paid heed to and included as an equal effort from the get-go to ensure minimal remediations in the end.

If this is done from the designing stage, a product with an inclusive design can do wonders for advancing accessibility from Adam.

2. Advent of Automation in Accessibility

As automation has established its foothold in the digital space, its significance and need in the domain of accessibility is growing simultaneously. What couldn’t be imagined a few years ago, of incorporating the nuances of AI and ML within accessibility testing, is becoming a reality today.

Organizations have started leveraging their automation capabilities within accessibility for arriving at faster and economical results. By using test automation tools within accessibility testing, such as aXe or WAVE, comprehensive test coverage becomes helpful in identifying pain points easily and early-on. 

Having said that, a human-centric approach is equally significant. Taking into account end users’ perspective becomes extremely important for delivering a wholesome product. Automation does only so much in ensuring faster deliverables.

However, when it comes to logical coherence, a real user’s input adds immense value to the product. For example, alt text can be checked via automation tools but to deliver the right meaning, a real user plays a key role.

Thus, via an approach of paired testing– a collaborative testing effort of an SME and a differently-abled user- can do wonders in arriving at realistic results. This can be executed in parallel with an automated testing effort as well.

3. Accessibility as Part of Mobile Application Testing

As mobile applications have become an irreplaceable facet of our lives, the need to make these accessible to one and all has become the need of the hour. With the pandemic at large, it is needless to mention how reliance on mobile applications has increased tenfold.

For differently-abled users, this was a drastic change for completely relying on mobile applications for their day-to-day activities, be it shopping, conference calls, etc. Incorporating accessibility as part of mobile application testing has been a growing trend and needs to be augmented to help users navigate applications seamlessly.

With an amalgamated approach of using automation testing tools and with the help of real users testing a mobile application, any accessibility bottlenecks can be easily identified and eliminated- especially with a shift left approach to do so early-on.

Be it with the help of tools or assistive technologies, accessibility testing for mobile applications can be easily conducted. For a detailed guide in understanding the use of accessibility tools for mobile applications, read through our blog which elucidates the same. 

4. Accessibility is Not Just for the Differently-Abled

Accessibility has always been considered as a specific nuance for differently-abled users. However, this notion falls short as the domain now extends to each and every individual on the digital platform.

This is interpreted in two ways: one, wherein accessibility is understood with its literal meaning of making a product reach to all users, and the other, wherein understanding the need of a digitally inclusive space and the awareness about the same needs to be advocated exhaustively.

Since digital transformation has been accelerating at growing speed, catering to each and every person’s need has become imperative. From students to elderly people, making technology easier to use in terms of their cognitive powers makes accessibility not just a notion for the differently-abled but for all.

A strong accessibility testing recommendation for 2021 is to understand this aspect and further the notion of digital inclusivity by making accessibility a thought for each and every individual to imbibe and spread awareness about. 

5. Focus on Invisible Disabilities

With WCAG enhancing by the day, with WCAG 2.2 to be rolled out soon and an introduction to WCAG 3.0 already out, the areas of disabilities have also been expanding. Going beyond from just visual or hearing impairments, hidden disabilities have been coming to the forefront from the autistic and cognitive spectrum as well.

Thus, the guidelines that have been enhancing are bringing in a holistic expansion in terms of accounting for different types of disabilities and aligning to the latest in the industry.

As the new year presents us with a promising space for accessibility testing, these recommendations for accessibility testing will certainly come in handy for being at par with the latest ongoings in the domain, in terms of enhancing browser capabilities such as introducing dark mode in websites.

With these accessibility testing recommendations, come aligned trends for accessibility testing that highlight certain enhancements that are expected to materialize this year. From accessibility to not being considered as an afterthought to a focus on invisible disabilities, these recommendations for accessibility testing would help keep the trends alive.

It would pave the way forward for accessibility testing as well in terms of incorporating the latest testing efforts with the industry best practices and updated guidelines and norms for digital accessibility.

About the Author

QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech

Established in 2003, with less than five testing experts, QA InfoTech has grown leaps and bounds with three QA Centers of Excellence globally; two of which are located in the hub of IT activity in India, Noida, and the other, our affiliate QA InfoTech Inc Michigan USA. In 2010 and 2011, QA InfoTech has been ranked in the top 100 places to work for in India.

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