Accessibility Testing – The Interaction with the Disabled
Accessibility testing is a type of systems testing designed to determine whether individuals with disabilities will be able to use the system in question, which could be software, hardware, or some other type of system. Disabilities encompass a wide range of physical problems:
- Visual Impairments: Such as blindness, low or restricted vision, or color blindness. User with visual impairments uses assistive technology software that reads content loud. User with weak vision can also make text larger with browser setting or magnificent setting of operating system.
- Physical Impairment: Inability to use a keyboard or mouse or to make fine movements
- Hearing Impairment: Reduced or total loss of hearing
- Cognitive Impairment: Such as learning difficulties, dyslexia or memory loss
- Learning Impairment: Such as reading problems or unable to understand particular language
Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing where in the users under consideration are people with all abilities and disabilities. The significance of this testing is to verify both usability and accessibility. It is the technique of making sure that your product is accessibility compliant. A good application/website should cater to all sets of people and not just limited to disabled people. These include:
- Users with poor communications infrastructure
- Older people and new users, who are often computer illiterate
- Users using old system ( incapable of running the latest software)
- Users, who are using Non-Standard Equipment
- Users, who have restricted access
Testing is an important part of making your application accessible to users with varying abilities. Development team can make sure that their product is partially accessibility compliant by code inspection and Unit testing. Test team needs to certify that product is accessibility compliant during the functional testing phase. In most cases, accessibility checklist is used to certify the accessibility compliance. This checklist can have information on what should be tested, how it should be tested and status of product for different access related problems.
The following tests must be completed in order to ensure a minimum level of application accessibility.
- Check that the application can be operated without the use of a touch screen. Attempt to use only directional controls to accomplish the primary tasks in the application.
- Verify that user interface controls that provide information (graphics or text), allow user action to have clear and accurate audio descriptions when TalkBack is enabled and controls are focused.
- Verify that user interface controls that provide information (graphics or text) or allow user action have appropriate audio descriptions when Explore by Touch is enabled. There should be no regions where contents or controls do not provide an audio description.
- Make sure that app-specific gestures, such as zooming images, scrolling lists, swiping between pages or navigating carousel controls continue to work when TalkBack is enabled. If these gestures do not function, then an alternative interface for these actions must be provided.
- Audio feedback must always have a secondary feedback mechanism to support users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Role of Automated Tools in Acceptance Testing
AccVerify, Bobby, WebXM, Ramp Ascend, InFocus etc. are a few automated accessibility testing tools that are very good at identifying pages and lines of code that need to be manually checked for accessibility.
- Check the syntax of the site’s code
- Search for known patterns that have been listed
- Figure out pages containing elements that may cause problems
- Identify some actual accessibility problems
- Identify potential problems
For Accessibility testing to succeed, test team should plan a separate cycle for accessibility testing. Management should make sure that test team have information on what to test and all the tools that they need to test accessibility are available to them. There are many tools in the market to assist the testers in accessibility testing. But a tester is well aware that any single tool cannot certify that the product is accessibility compliant. A set of tools will always be required to check accessibility compliance of your application/website.