[Athen] Campus Survey of Web Accessibility

Iza Bartosiewicz iza.bartosiewicz at rmit.edu.au
Wed May 7 19:23:05 PDT 2014

Hi James,

Several years ago I was involved in developing the Web Accessibility
Framework at my university. To make sure that we were embedding
accessibility in all relevant processes, we looked at not only web
development and publishing, but also multimedia development, content
creation (including teaching content), project management, staff training
(web publishing, PDF, MS Office apps, Blackboard), procurement (web apps,
authoring tools) and recruitment. I don't have any surveys to share with
you, but consider including those areas in your survey, and in the scope of
the project.

One of the greatest struggles for achieving accessibility is dealing with
inaccessible 3rd-party applications. If would be SO MUCH easier (and
cheaper in the long run) if our institutions took more care in
purchasing/leasing/commissioning standards-compliant, usable and accessible
products. This would save us time (and time=money), and would send a
message to the vendors that accessibility is worth investing in, since it
could potentially give them an advantage over the competition.

When it comes to dealing with vendors, the trick is to:
- be specific about your requirements (even to the checkpoint level),
- be realistic in what you want (some compromises may be unavoidable),
- and verify any claims made by vendors (who will say anything you want to

For the validation and evaluation tools, I would recommend the WAVE tool
from WebAIM, which gives immediate and visual feedback. The latest version
is online-only, which means you won't be able to test secure pages.
However, the Firefox toolbar is still available for download.
WAVE online http://wave.webaim.org/
WAVE toolbar http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar/

I also use Fangs, the screen reader emulator, when I don't need or want to
use a screen reader. It's great for showing headings and link lists.
Fangs (Firefox):

Hemingway is a handy tool for testing 'readability' of content

Color Oracle is for simulating colour blindness

Color Contrast Analyser is great for validating colours of text,
backgrounds and images in any document.

The Responsinator will show you how web pages look in a variety of mobile

W3C's code validators

Finally, ask your web developers to navigate and interact with their
websites using keyboard only :-)

Most of these tools are great for quick, page-based tests, but you'll need
other tools for more a comprehensive testing. Ideally, you'll need several
toolkits to support different roles (e.g. content creator toolkit, web
developer toolkit, multimedia developer toolkit, etc.). Of course, you'll
also need to teach all staff about the limitations of those tools and how
to use them wisely.

If you are considering an enterprise-wide testing tool, Karl Groves has
some great advice:

Web Accessibility Testing: What Can be Tested and How

Choosing an Automated Accessibility Testing Tool: 13 Questions you should

Hope this helps. Good luck!


Iza Bartosiewicz
Library Website Coordinator
RMIT University

p: 99253103
e: iza.bartosiewicz at rmit.edu.au
t: #Mr0wka18 <http://twitter.com/Mr0wka18>
l: www.linkedin.com/in/izabartosiewicz

"The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of
our suffering", Tom Waits
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20140508/81d1c341/attachment.html>

More information about the athen-list mailing list