Evaluating Your Website

A frequently asked question is, “What constitutes a ‘red’ rating? Is there a nuance between ‘not perfect’ and ‘definitely inadequate’?”

The answer is that Tufts requires conformance to WCAG AA standards.

A final question is, “How can I check if my website conforms to these standards?”

Below, there’s a link to the evaluation tool Tufts uses, a 5 minute quick check you can perform, a quick reference of the complete standards, and common tools to test with.

SiteImprove:

Here at Tufts, we use SiteImprove to evaluate our websites. SiteImprove checks your site against all WCAG requirements and flags all issues, issuing regular reports. If you have access, you can log in to SiteImprove here.

5 Minute Quick Check:

If you have five minutes, here is a quick check you can do to look for immediate and absolute red flags on your website:

  1. Here is a 1 page checklist with WCAG A standards that websites at Tufts historically have failed to meet. Be sure your website addresses all of these.
  2. Turn off images in your browser (make sure image placeholders are turned on). Is there an alt-text for each image?
  3. Turn off support for JavaScript. Does the website still work?
  4. Try navigating your website with just a keyboard. Can you get to all the pages? Can you fill in and submit the forms? Is it easy to navigate in a logical order – when tabbing through a form, do you go down the fields in order or does it jump around?
  5. Try to change the standard font colors and styles in your browser. Does your website change, or have you locked it to a single font and style?
  6. Try to increase the browser’s font size (in Firefox, View > Zoom > Increase). Can you increase it to 200%?

Complete List of Requirements

Here is the official quick reference of WCAG 2.1 standards. It’s split into categories with examples for an easy look at a topic. You can filter by “A” and “AA”.

Free Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

There are many web accessibility evaluation tools available; however, these tools can only help developers already knowledgeable about accessibility look for possible red flags.

  • Firefox accessibility extension.
    • From The Illinois Center for Information Technology and Web Accessibility at UIUC.
    • Allows you to examine the headings, image descriptions, link names, live regions, and many other website features necessary for navigation with adaptive technology.
    • Has an option to show your site in high contrast view – white on black or black on white.
  • WAVE by WebAIM.
    • Available online or as a Firefox add-on.
    • Assesses your page, raises red and yellow flags, and points out page navigation, headings, image descriptions, link names, live regions, etc.
  • NVDA.
    • A free, open-source screen reader that you can download.
    • Commonly used by persons with disabilities, so an excellent check that your website meets the need.
  • A number of tools exist to help you analyze color contrast and other features of color which will help you accommodate users with color blindness or other vision loss. Some of these include:

References