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Accessibility aids and tools

Accessibility aids and tools are useful for preliminary checking of your web resources.  However, with the exception of NVDA which is an accessibility aid, software tools can only identify possible technical issues and should not be relied on to find all accessibility issues. 

An expert human accessibility auditor, following a rigorous WCAG 2.0 testing regimen, is necessary to identify all problems, including both technical and user issues.


NVDA Screen Reader for Windows

The NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader operating on the Microsoft Windows operating system.  NVDA enables people with vision impairments to use any computer operating Windows for no cost. You can obtain support in different languages and also customize the voice.

There is a feature to load it on a USB drive and take it with you to work or school, or you can just install is on your computer at home for your own use.  You can also install it on all the computers at your workplace and encourage your staff to learn how to use a screen reader.  It will open their eyes to how people with vision impairments use the Internet.

Web Key IT encourages you to try NVDA - even if you don't have a vision impairment.  The help features are all on the installation and they have a support page on their website at: http://www.nvda-project.org/.  You might like to get involved in this great project.


PowerMapper - Sort Site checker

"SortSite is a one-click web site testing tool used by federal agencies, Fortune 100 corporations and independent consultancies. The tool is available as a desktop application for Mac or Windows, and is also available as a web application."

Visit PowerMapper for more information, free trial and a free sample trial online.


Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT) for IE

The Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT) has been developed to aid manual examination of web pages for a variety of aspects of accessibility. This tool is no longer being actively developed but it is still very useful tool for checking pages. The toolbar provides easy access to functionality to:

  • identify components of a web page
  • provide access to alternate views of page content
  • facilitate the use of 3rd party online applications

Visit the Paciello Group WAT site for more information and downloads.


Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) from the Paciello Group

"The Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) helps you determine the legibility of text and the contrast of visual elements, such as graphical controls and visual indicators."  It is available for PC and Mac.

Visit the Paciello Group CCA site for more information and downloads.


WAVE by WebAIM

"WAVE is tool to help web developers make their web content more accessible. WAVE cannot tell you if your web content is accessible. Only a human can determine true accessibility. But, WAVE can help you evaluate the accessibility of your web content."

WAVE is available as an extension for Firefox and for Chrome.  Websites can also be checked using the online version of WAVE.

Visit WebAIM's help page about WAVE for more information