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What Tools Should You Be Using for Web Accessibility?

Awareness of ADA compliance and web accessibility has exploded over the last year, driven by a combination of a critical mass of thought leadership and the increased reliance on technology for everyday interactions. 

This increased awareness is undoubtedly a good thing because an accessible web is more enjoyable and profitable for everyone. The challenge this presents is that this is not a one-and-done effort unless you never update your website. While you may start with an ad-hoc project, you will eventually need a deliberate approach for assessing, remediating, and monitoring your website over time and the tools to make that happen if you will be successful. 

There are a ton of accessibility checkers available. In this post, I will review professional tools for ongoing assessment and improvement that you can build an accessibility program around, including tracking progress over time and robust reporting. These include:

  • UsableNet AQA
  • TPGi ARC Platform
  • SiteImprove

 What makes these tools different than most other free or paid tools is that they: 

  • can check your whole site at once, or one page at a time,
  • track progress over time,
  • provide tools for prioritizing issues effectively,
  • have excellent reporting (lots of pretty charts and graphs),
  • integrate with other tools and processes via API and import/export (ticketing systems, excel, etc.). 

UsableNet AQA - https://usablenet.com/technology/aqa

Pricing: Paid SaaS, Per User

Capabilities: Single-page testing, Whole site testing, build cycle integration

Overview: UsableNet built some of the first accessibility tools over 20 year ago, and AQA is a one-stop-shop with on-demand and scheduled testing, testing of user flows and components, and a lot more. It is more useful and developer-focused than some of the other tools. Still, it can consolidate many efforts and integrate everywhere from the build cycle to ongoing content management.

ARC Platform - https://www.tpgi.com/arc-platform/

Pricing: Freemium SaaS, Per User

Capabilities: Single-page testing, Whole site testing, build cycle integration

Freebie: ARC Toolkit free accessibility Chrome extension for single-page testing

https://www.tpgi.com/arc-platform/arc-toolkit/

Overview: ARC Platform is a powerful solution for managing accessibility throughout the development, maintenance, and continuous improvement process. It has support for advanced features like user-flow and component testing. The experience is highly polished and has a strong focus on education, making it more appropriate for executive use than other more functionally focused systems. 

SiteImprove - https://siteimprove.com/

 Pricing: Paid SaaS, Per Site 

Capabilities: Single-page testing, Whole site testing

Freebies: Free accessibility Chrome extension for single-page testing

Overview: SiteImprove is an overall site quality and management tool, handling accessibility, SEO, QA, analytics, security, privacy, performance, and more. As a single tool for multiple needs, it is hard to beat. Performance in all areas is monitored over time, and it provides summary scores and comparisons to averages in your industry, which is unique. As an accessibility solution, it lacks a few things that the others provide, like the ability to test user flows and integration with build systems. If the suite is attractive to you, the accessibility tools may be sufficient, but as an accessibility-only tool, it leaves something to be desired

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