Accessibility Auditing Tools for Web and Documents

 In Articles, Compliance, PDF Accessibility, Software
modern computer screen showing Monsido's home page while three other windows show CommonLook website images.

While some experts may warn you, it is risky to rely 100% on automated testing tools, as they can still miss key accessibility issues, these tests need to be part of your overall accessibility compliance program. When you combine automated testing with manual testing to confirm things like alt-text descriptions, reading order, proper color/contrast and other manual verifications, you can be confident your site is accessible to all. You don’t have time to check your website every day, but automated tools can alert you to recent changes to your website that you may not be aware of. If used properly, these auditing tools are useful to determine and maintain your website’s accessibility.

There are many automated testing tools on the market for testing web accessibility. Each vendor hypes why their tool is superior, but generally they fall into two different camps.

Cloud-Based Accessibility Testing Tools

Cloud-based tools crawl a website to analyze all discovered URLs. These tools will then generate reports against a database of known accessibility issues. These reports can then be used by your web development team to review content, make corrections and then rescan the website to ensure the problems are resolved. Some of these tools are purchased as a subscription such as Deque’s Wordspace, Level Access’s AMP, AccessibilityOz’s OzART and Paciello Group’s ARC. And that is just a small sampling of the many scanning tools available.

On the smaller end of the scale, there are tools such as WAVE, which are free and can scan individual pages of your website and show you content that is inaccessible for anyone using a screen reader. There are also some browser plug-in tools that can be very useful for testing individual pages.

The one thing in common with all these systems is you need to manually verify the results as often content has false positives or could be missed by these automated tools. One area where these tools fail is in scanning website content for document accessibility as the reports generated by these tools are very basic and generally not useful in confirming documents meet the standards. We find that many of our clients that are using these tools will purchase CommonLook Clarity to ensure they are also testing content for document accessibility.

CommonLook Clarity Domain Compliance Report screenshot

Web Governance Toolsets

The second set of automated tools are designed to be more comprehensive than just web accessibility scanning. These tools are more of a “web governance” toolset that are designed to scan a website and deliver a detailed health assessment of a website. Typically, these tools will cover everything from SEO, Quality Assurance such as broken links, web Analytics, inventory as well as web accessibility testing.

There are two companies with tools in this space, Siteimprove and Monsido. While both tools are similar, Monsido’s tools have the added advantage of incorporating CommonLook’s PDF scanning technology into their accessibility reporting. The result is both comprehensive web and document accessibility testing, which is not available in any other web accessibility or web governance tool on the market.

Monsido’s tools help you prioritize errors and provides guidance on what to do first. In addition, they recently launched PageCorrect™, an add-on to the Monsido web governance platform that provides a complete solution to easily identify and correct website errors. The tool allows you to work efficiently by correcting quality assurance and accessibility errors directly via the Monsido platform.

The final piece that makes the Monsido tool a compelling choice is that once PDF documents are identified on your website as having accessibility compliance issues, these files can be professionally remediated directly from the Monsido tool. This one click remediate this file feature incorporates CommonLook Service to provide 100% guaranteed compliance by ensuring your documents are professionally remediated by our compliance experts.

Screenshot of Monsido's Accessibility Report

CommonLook partnered with Monsido because we felt that our tools and services were the perfect fit to enhance the Monsido web governance toolset. Monsido’s web governance solutions are ideal for our clients and we can now offer the Monsido tools directly to our customers.

For more information on Monsido, please contact us and we will gladly show you how these tools can help your organization build a comprehensive web accessibility program.