A website accessibility assessment (or audit) is when a website is evaluated against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. WCAG is an international technical standard that has been adopted and in some cases required by federal, state and local law. Site developers and managers must familiarize themselves with these guidelines to assess if a website is in compliance. The principles of web accessibility are:

  • Perceivable - Available through sight, hearing, or touch.
  • Operable - Compatible with keyboard or mouse.
  • Understandable - User-friendly, easy to comprehend.
  • Robust - Works across browsers, assistive technologies, mobile devices, old devices/browsers, etc. Follows standards.

Learn about the guidelines

Assessment requires both automated and manual checks

There are automated tools that help evaluate some of the criteria. But automated tools only catch about 40% of the errors on a site. Automated tests can check for definitive pass-fail criteria. Examples include checking if the images have alt tags, do the form fields have labels, and does the text have enough contrast?

The remaining 60% requires a brain. Only humans can test for keyboard accessibility, check if a video has captions, or if the website works with a screen reader. Luckily there are some tools that can assist with these more subjective human elements.

Choose an assessment method.

Get an overview of the tools and how to test.