To borrow a popular expression in modern software development: “shift left.” It means that its best to test early to fix issues with minimal expense. It will also save time later in the process when you won’t have to re-test similar features.
When new content or a new webpage is being created, test for accessibility as soon as possible by inspecting page elements and viewing the code in their browser’s (developer tools). Developers can also use automated testing tools like Deque’s axe to increase the frequency of testing. Testing with specific known technologies, like screen readers ( on Windows or VoiceOver on Apple products) is also recommended.
As is the case with new content, it is important to review your content updates for accessibility before they are published. One way to do this is to leverage the preview feature that is available from most Content Management Systems. In some cases, you can work with your developer to test your updates early. It is always better to review content and ensure its accessibility before it gets published to your production site.
Ongoing Site Scan
For websites already in production, there are several accessibility dashboard tools that continually monitor the site looking for accessibility issues. These may be particularly appropriate for large organizations with large sites. These are typically paid tools. Some prevalent in the industry include:
- Deque – axe Monitor (which is different than Deque axe’s free testing browser extension)
- TPGi – ARC Domain Monitoring
- Level Access – AMP (Accessibility Management Platform)