This talk by Luis Garcia at this year’s Accessibility Camp NYC, gives a very quick crash course on some accessibility tools that web developers can use to help make the websites and web applications they’re building more accessible. The slides for Luis Garcia’s Accessibility Camp NYC talk are here, and I would encourage you to follow along with them while you’re watching the talk.
Criteria used when choosing accessibility tools
There are a few notable accessibility tools that are not discussed here. This talk focuses on tools that are free, (as in cost, not as in speech), easy to use, fairly robust, (they’ll give you actionable information on a fairly large set of possible issues), and that will allow you to do local analysis. This last criterion is crucial for developers, especially if you’re running a local development environment like Varying Vagrant Vagrants or Desktop Server.
Most of the tools discussed are not free software or open source. Very unfortunately, free software and open source haven’t eaten the accessibility world yet. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses though, and you’ll get the most out of this talk if you pick a tool you like, and stick to using that tool, as opposed to switching back and forth between tools. It’s also helpful when testing WordPress sites that you make a note of the markup that any of these tools is flagging, as well as the CSS. Since WordPress renders pages and posts based on templates, you’ll get a lot of duplicate errors that can be fixed by modifying an underlying function, or, in the case of CSS, a particular class that targets a template tag or shortcode you’ve created.
If you haven’t incorporated an accessibility tool into your workflow yet, you should
Accessibility tools aren’t the be-all-end-all for making websites and web applications accessible. There’s still manual work that needs to be done by everybody involved in the project. But accessibility tools will help you get on the right path towards making the things you build accessible to everyone, and they will save you some time and headache down the road if you apply the information they give you while you’re working on a project, instead of going back in after everything’s shipped and trying to add the accessibility later. That’s when accessibility becomes time-consuming and in some cases, very expensive. So save yourself the extra headache and expense, and start using an accessibility tool to help you integrate accessibility into your workflow