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Techniques

What can and can't we find in an automated test

About WCAG Watcher

Automate WCAG Compliance with WCAG Watcher

WCAG Watcher is a cutting-edge tool designed to automate WCAG compliance testing for websites. It leverages the capabilities of Pa11y and Axe, two widely recognized accessibility testing tools, to thoroughly scan websites and identify accessibility issues. Pa11y is a popular open-source accessibility testing tool that checks web pages against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Axe is a powerful automated accessibility testing library developed by Deque Systems, a leader in web accessibility solutions.

  • Pa11y is a popular open-source accessibility testing tool that checks web pages against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • Axe is a powerful automated accessibility testing library developed by Deque Systems, a leader in web accessibility solutions.

Pa11y

Pa11y, on the other hand, is an automated accessibility testing tool that scans websites for accessibility issues based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Pa11y checks for text alternatives for images, multimedia, and form inputs, semantic HTML markup, keyboard accessibility, and contrast ratio, among other aspects of accessibility. It also generates reports with clear information on how to fix the identified issues.

Advantages

  • open-source and has a large community of developers contributing to its development, ensuring regular updates and improvements.
  • provides a wide range of automated tests that cover various accessibility aspects, such as text alternatives, semantic HTML markup, keyboard accessibility, and contrast ratio.

Disadvantages

  • may have limitations in detecting complex interactions, dynamic content, and subjective aspects of accessibility that require manual testing or human judgment.
  • may not always provide detailed guidance on how to fix accessibility issues, and additional expertise may be required to interpret and address the results.
  • may generate false positives or false negatives, as it relies solely on automated testing and may not accurately capture all accessibility barriers.

Axe

Axe is an open-source accessibility testing engine developed by Deque Systems, a leader in digital accessibility. Axe uses sophisticated algorithms to automatically detect a wide range of accessibility issues on websites, including complex interactions, ARIA attributes, and dynamic content. It provides detailed reports with actionable guidance to help developers fix accessibility barriers and make their websites more inclusive.

Advantages

  • a powerful and comprehensive automated accessibility testing library that covers a wide range of accessibility aspects, including complex interactions, ARIA attributes, and dynamic content.
  • developed by Deque Systems, a leading company in web accessibility solutions, and is constantly updated with the latest accessibility standards and best practices.
  • provides detailed and actionable guidance on how to fix accessibility issues, making it easier for developers to address accessibility barriers.
  • has a wide range of integrations with popular testing frameworks and development tools, making it easily accessible for developers.

Disadvantages

  • may generate false positives or false negatives, as it relies solely on automated testing and may not accurately capture all accessibility barriers.
  • may not be suitable for all types of websites or applications, as it may not fully cover subjective aspects of accessibility that require manual testing or human judgment.

How we use Pa11y and Axe

WCAG Watcher combines the advantages of Pa11y and Axe to provide a comprehensive and accurate accessibility testing solution for websites. Pa11y is used to perform automated testing based on the WCAG guidelines, covering a wide range of accessibility aspects that can be automatically checked. Axe is used to perform additional automated testing for complex interactions, ARIA attributes, and dynamic content, complementing the capabilities of Pa11y.

The combination of Pa11y and Axe enables WCAG Watcher to identify a wide range of accessibility issues, including both simple and complex barriers, providing a thorough and accurate assessment of website accessibility. WCAG Watcher provides detailed reports with actionable guidance on how to fix accessibility issues, making it easier for developers to address the identified barriers and achieve WCAG compliance. WCAG Watcher can be easily integrated into existing development workflows, allowing for automated accessibility testing during the development process, helping to catch and fix accessibility issues early in the development cycle.

Summary

What can be automatically checked with WCAG Watcher:

  • Text alternatives for images, multimedia, and form inputs
  • Semantic HTML markup for headings, lists, and landmarks
  • Keyboard accessibility for focus management and navigation
  • Contrast ratio for text and images
  • ARIA attributes and dynamic content
  • Complex interactions and dynamic content

What cannot be automatically checked with WCAG Watcher:

  • Subjective aspects of accessibility that require manual testing or human judgment, such as color contrast for non-text elements
  • Usability and user experience aspects that go beyond the scope of WCAG guidelines, such as layout, navigation, and content organization
  • Accessibility issues that may arise from non-technical factors, such as content quality, language clarity, and readability

If you want more insights on which WCAG 2.1 criteria we can and cannot check please check our guidelines pages.

In conclusion, WCAG Watcher leverages the advantages of Pa11y and Axe to provide a comprehensive and automated accessibility testing solution for websites. While Pa11y covers a wide range of accessibility aspects that can be automatically checked, Axe adds capabilities for detecting complex interactions, ARIA attributes, and dynamic content. Together, they provide a powerful tool for identifying and addressing accessibility issues, but manual testing and human judgment may still be required for subjective aspects of accessibility and usability.