Accessibility Tip of the Week

Before you buy (part three)...

  • Summary: Run a quick accessibility spot check.
  • Who it helps: Your employees and customers with disabilities.
  • Additional benefits: Buying accessible up front saves your organization time and money in the long run.

When you buy a website, software, platform or other digital service, it is important to include accessibility as a requirement for that purchase. The third step on your way to an accessible purchase is to run a spot check to verify accessibility.

What you should spot check depends on what you are purchasing. If you are buying software that already exists or picking a platform to build on, you can test the software itself. If you are getting a custom website or other custom content, ask to see a previous accessible example that vendor built. If no other option is available, test the website of the vendor you are considering.

How to run a digital spot check.

Pick 2-3 pages or areas to try out. We recommend picking the main page, a form, and a specialty function or area.

  1. Test the keyboard accessibility. Start with the focus at the top (the url for a web page). Then don’t touch the mouse. You should be able to do everything with a keyboard that you can do with a mouse.
    • Move the focus forward with the tab key.
    • Use the enter key to activate links and buttons.
    • Use the arrow keys to navigate in menus.
    • Use the spacebar to select items.
    • Use the escape key to close popups and drop down menus.
  2. If you are evaluating a web page or web app, enter the URL into WebAIM’s Wave .
    • Ideally, you should receive 0 errors.
  3. Strip the view of color. Is everything still readable and understandable?
    • Option 1: If its a webpage, while you are using the WebAim Report, you can go to Contrast > Desaturate Page to view the page in grayscale.
    • Option 2: Install Color Oracle and use it to view the page in grayscale.
    • Option 3: Take a screen capture and look at a print preview in grayscale
  4. Increase the magnification/zoom and see if the content remains usable.
    • On a webpage, zoom to 400% by holding the control key down and hitting the plus (+) key. The magnification shows to the right of the URL.
    • On a phone, go to the accessibility settings and increase the icon and text size.
    • For a desktop application, increase the icon and text size using the operating system accessibility settings.
  5. Change the color scheme and see if the content remains usable.
    • In accessibility settings on your phone or desktop, change the color scheme to dark mode.

If the spot check is relatively clean, that’s a good sign that the vendor takes accessibility seriously.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    .

If you are promoting accessibility within your organization or community, sending out easy-to-understand tips can be a helpful addition to your strategy. You are welcome to share the tips here under the mentioned Creative Commons license, as long as you cite Accessible Community as your source.