The Level Access Difference
Honed over 20 years, our process will help guide you along the accessibility compliance journey
Automated testing of web properties against accessibility standards and best practices is key for most development, testing, and monitoring processes. However, automated testing is not a complete solution on its own (for the foreseeable future). While further manual testing is critical to validate the accessibility and inclusiveness of a product or site, automated testing remains just one component of a greater effort of active measures that organizations must make to conform to laws and ensure access for people with disabilities.
Software can be extremely helpful in surfacing the ‘low-hanging fruit’ and regular automated testing can be used to monitor live websites and highlight important patterns or trends so people can focus efforts like manual testing around the most at-risk areas. This way, organizations can get a high-level overview of a system’s accessibility issues, which helps them to measure progress and make data-backed decisions, like on training or additional testing.
Manual and functional user testing
Level Access recommends real-world testing from people who use Assistive Technology every day of their lives. This can best simulate a “real” user’s experience with a product, whether it’s a website, mobile app, or device. Level Access uses our industry-leading experience to assist clients in triaging their various offerings with multiple testing strategies. For core scenarios integral to use of the products, use case testing is performed in addition to automatic and manual testing.
Use case testing involves functional assessments of key workflows that are critical to the overall experience of the system or asset—the primary tasks that you would expect any user to be able to complete using your system—and defines the overall functionality of the system when using assistive technology. In the case of a job search site, that could be searching for a job or posting a resume while utilizing the JAWS (Job Access with Speech) screen reader. For a desktop application, such as Microsoft Word, it could be creating a new file, typing a new paragraph, and then saving the document as a PDF.
Testing is performed by individuals with disabilities using assistive technology, accessibility features, or other strategies they would commonly use. The results of each use case is scored objectively. Level Access uses a scoring system of one through five to rate individual use cases as well as an overall average score; five indicating no accessibility issues and one indicating severe problems that pose a barrier to access. While users can indicate efficiency and effectiveness in the use case notes, the intent of the score is to document the presence or absence of barriers and issues that would impact the user’s ability to access the service.
Automated testing for accessibility should be incorporated into the software development lifecycle to discover and head off issues at the earliest possible point. Effectively combining different types of accessibility testing can provide near instant and targeted feedback on select issues while better informing efforts for an overall more efficient approach. Automated testing early on can also help users be smarter about how and what they test – providing enough information to make more intelligent decisions while creating new efficiencies to streamline the journey to accessible content.
By taking a proactive approach to accessibility and testing for issues when your team tests for other bugs will result in more inherently accessible products and experiences.
Expert consulting and support
Our specialists can answer all kinds of questions (technical or otherwise) that relate to accessibility and provide direct support for development activities. This can range from answering simple questions that may arise as developers begin the remediation efforts to developing actual implementations of accessible and compliant code. Validate that you are performing the right type of activities to achieve compliance.
Experts from the Level Access team can even be an embedded member of a Scrum team for a series of sprints. These specialists can then provide accessibility feedback to the development team during the sprint actively influencing and directing the progress of the sprint. Participation in this fashion ensures that accessibility feedback is provided when it is impactful – during the sprint – and not when it can no longer influence things after the completion of the sprint.
Create a clear picture of assigned roles and any centralized or distributed responsibilities. We can develop a multi-year strategy for your digital accessibility program and give you the policies and procedures needed to make it all run smoothly and efficiently.
A well-defined Governance, Risk, and Compliance program defines the extent to which accessibility implementations are actively evaluated, monitored, and validated in an organization’s component lifecycle. Level Access can help organizations determine which technologies, products, and services are covered by specific provisions in digital accessibility laws. We can also help prioritize them so that orgs can focus on the most important issues and use the results to drive any other digital accessibility efforts in mitigating risk across the enterprise.
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