Over the past few weeks we’ve been showcasing some amazing articles, tools, and videos in our Resources section. Our twitter followers have gotten a taste of these resources and have let us know they are really enjoying them! Today I would like to share some tools with you that focus on accessibility, a very important sector of user experience.
Here are some tools you may find useful increase accessibility, a constant battle that UX designers have to face:
WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page.
This service examines all images found on a web page to check for any accessibility issues. The width, height, alt, and longdesc attributes are examined for appropriate values. Learning from errors pointed out using this service could improve accessibility issues.
Use this Colour Blindness Simulator to reveal how your images or websites may appear to users with a variety of colour blindness conditions. Approximately one in twenty people have some form of color blindness that prevents them from seeing color the same way that people without any color vision deficiencies do.
Readability is key to accessibility. It is hard to test, however. This online took evaluates text based on different reading scales and also suggests which complex sentences to take another look at. Great for those writers who commonly write just a little too complex.
AccessColor tests the color contrast and color brightness between the foreground and background of all elements in the DOM to make sure that the contrast is high enough for people with visual impairments. Assuring that you provide enough color contrast between foreground and background colors takes time and we hope that this tool will help web developers to build accessible websites by visually flagging the section(s) of a page with problematic color combinations. AccessColor will find the relevant colour combinations within your HTML and CSS documents rather than requiring you to find each value to input yourself in order to test the contrast between each colour combination.
User Testing Tools:
It is always fun to try out new user testing tools. These tools can often lead to insight on accessibility issues you may not know that you have. I have gathered a few of the recent ones I’ve found here for you to try out yourself. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you think of them!
UserTesting.com offers low cost usability testing. A fast and cost efficient way to get your users feedback is always a great resource to add to your toolbelt as a UX enthusiast.
Usabilla allows you to collect visual feedback from your website in five minutes. Offering a transparent approach to visual feedback, this service is another tool that could be useful in testing.
Open Hallway offers three things: creation of usability test scenarios, the ability to invite testers through a link, and the option to watch and hear real invited people to using your website or application.
What accessibility tools do you use?
What tools do you like to use to check for accessibility issues? We would love to hear in the comments. Also, add any tools you use to our Resources section. In the future, our resources section will receive more prominence so as to promote the tools our community finds most valuable.
Universal design considerations increasingly comprise a prudent approach to design and development for the web. Interaction designer Andrew Maier details some of the broader implications this has for user-centered designers.