Manual vs Automated Accessibility Testing

Manual vs Automated Accessibility Testing: Which One to Consider

Samara Davis
By Samara Davis
editor

May 20, 2021


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  • Failing to comply with the laws and regulations pertaining to website accessibility can be a costly mistake. When it comes to ensuring legal compliance of a site design and a layout that ensures ease of navigation for all visitors, both manual and automated accessibility testing may be required. 

    Manual Accessibility Testing

    Manually assessing the accessibility of a website can provide a more detailed understanding regarding the experience that visitors are likely to have. 

    Often essential for fine-tuning the features and design elements that will allow those who suffer from a disability or that have special needs to enjoy the same level of quality and convenience as other visitors, manual accessibility testing also entails more time, effort, or expense than an automated test. 

    Manual testing can be great for troubleshooting or ensuring that new features and design changes have been implemented successfully but it may not be the best option for businesses that have a limited budget or in situations where time may be a factor. 

    Automated Accessibility Testing

    Far faster and more efficient than manual testing, an automated assessment can often be performed with just a few keystrokes and can be completed in mere seconds. 

    The ideal tool for the large-volume testing needed to assess multiple sites or to provide at-a-glance information regarding the current state of a business’s website design, automated testing provides a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to a manual assessment. 

    The downside of automation is that the testing process itself may be too rigid, narrow in scope, or return results that may not provide the bigger picture needed to make more meaningful changes and upgrades.  

    Manual vs Automated Accessibility Testing

    While both approaches provide advantages as well as drawbacks, choosing the right type of testing is essential for ensuring legal compliance or for addressing any of the specific issues or obstacles that may be blocking access to certain visitors. Choosing the wrong option could end up being little more than a waste of time, especially for those businesses who may be relying on test results to provide focus and direction on how to best move forward with their efforts. Selecting the right option can be an issue of paramount importance.  

    Devising a Testing Strategy

    Every website is different, incorporating a range of design elements and features needed to fulfill a specific purpose. Crafting a testing strategy that better fits the needs and resources a business has available can ensure that any changes, updates, and upgrades required can be handled as efficiently as possible. Automated testing can often be the best place to start, even for businesses that may require a manual assessment. 

    An automated website accessibility checker can provide businesses with a better idea of where they currently stand and can provide real-time information regarding any new features that are implemented. A balanced approach that makes use of both styles of testing can provide superior insight, greater convenience, and a more comprehensive level of results.  

    According to AudioEye, “the inability to navigate the internet is debilitating.” Finding the best testing resources and solutions ensures that businesses can more easily identify and address any obstacles which may be limiting access to their site.

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