What is Accessibility Testing
What is better: software that only part of the population can use or software that everyone can use?
That was a rhetorical question, because we obviously want everyone who needs it to be able to use our products. When designers and programmers are creating digital products, they are usually thinking about themselves. It’s not that they are being selfish- it’s just how people think. This means they are usually creating products that work for people like them. That’s why we do things like usability testing- to make sure that what makes sense to a small group of people will also make sense to everyone else.
Accessibility testing seeks to make sure that everyone can navigate your software or digital platform, regardless of vision or hearing impairment, color blindness, age, or any other disadvantage people might have with traditionally designed products.
Is Accessibility Testing Necessary?
Short answer? Yes! There are a couple questions or doubts people might have about the usefulness of this type of testing.
Is it an unnecessary expense?
Accessibility testing is an expense the same way any other testing is an expense. It is an expense that is worth it in the long run. The following are some facts that show the value of this testing.
● Accessible websites and software can be used by people with disabilities and disadvantages, which lead to a larger, more diverse user base and wider product scopes.
● Assuring an accessible design indirectly leads to cleaner websites, which reduces load times and increases user satisfaction.
● Having accessible products is a great way of indirectly performing search engine optimization, since accessible designs bode well for SEO algorithms.
● Accessibility testing allows the quality assurance engineers to perform more diverse tasks that allow them to conduct more thorough testing and contemplate details that are often overseen by functional testers.
What’s more, there are some severe potential negative effects of creating a product with low accessibility.
● Low accessibility can affect the user performance in a product and limit its profitability.
● Lack of accessibility to websites and software can be seen as discrimination against people with disabilities, which, depending on the client’s particular situation and the respective country’s legislation, may be illegal and could have legal repercussions.
● Software products with low accessibility often lead to deficient designs, which in turn cause user discontent and negatively affect web traffic.
● Not providing an alternative way for people with disabilities to properly access software products and website presents an ethical dilemma which can lead to bad publicity.
Is it really necessary to be accessible for everyone?
It might seem like people who need special accessibilities are a small part of the population, but thinking like that would discount a lot of people. These statistics might show you how important this all is.
● Almost 7.5 million blind in the US as of 2015.
● Approximately 15% of US adults 18+ have some degree of hearing impairment.
● Around 11 million people in the US cannot distinguish between red and green colors.
● The number of Americans age 65 and over is estimated to double to 98 million by 2060.
Without accessibility testing, you are potentially ruling out 100 million people in the US alone from using your software.
What does Accessibility Testing consist of?
Accessibility testing usually consists of a combination of manual and semi-automated testing with the use of third-party tools and user expertise. If clients are interested in meeting certain accessibility standards, then appropriate test cases and adjusted scope should be arranged by the quality assurance engineers on the case. Otherwise, accessibility tests should be conducted with the intention of meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. Make sure your testing partner has taken these guidelines into consideration.
Final thoughts about Accessibility
Like with all testing, and with many services we employ throughout our lives, accessibility testing is a cost. But it is a cost that is worth it for the direct and indirect benefits it entails for our products and brands. At best, with the appropriate testing, you will end up with a product that can be used by all who need it- comfortably and effectively- which means a larger user population and more profitability. At worst, without the right testing, you will be stuck with a product that cannot be used by the people who need it- a problem that might even have legal ramifications for your company. Do the smart thing and invest in accessibility testing.
If you are looking for a software partner who will work towards your own business goals and success, then Avantica is your solution. We offer dedicated teams, team augmentation, and individual projects to our clients, and are constantly looking for the best methodologies in order to give you the best results.
Let’s start a project together