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Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Accessibility Compliance Tools

Many students do not want to self-identify as disabled. If you design your course from the start with learning differentiation in mind, everyone does better, and special accommodation needs can disappear

Legal Standards, Check-lists, and Tools to help meet Standard: W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Review

Website Accessibility Recommendations from Educational Institutions

WebAIM Articles: Standards and Laws

What Now? Advice from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Why WAVE for a starter tool?

  1. It is from WebAIM.
  2. It is Free.
  3. Easy to install extension (instead of downloading and running a program)
  4. You can easily check for easy fixes (such as missing alt tags, text, links, or labels. Finds basic contrast issues.)
  5. WAVE is recommended by many respected institutions.
  6. Extension does not give hackers “Entry Points or Dangerous Functions” (according to report).

The City of New York Web Accessibility Report

Automated Testing tools review (

Automatic testing tools

Most automated testing tools only find approximately 30-45% of issues, but they will provide you with a very useful baseline to determine where your page or app is at regarding accessibility. Some tools in this category do have a learning curve, but a few hours experimenting with them will turn you into an expert.

WAVE: Somewhat dated but still very useful and friendly. Go to the WAVE site, input a URL, and it will provide a report. The summary panel on the left can be navigated to see issues and examine where on the page they occur.

aXe This browser add-on within Chrome and Firefox is offered by Deque systems. Axe is extra handy because it highlights the problem areas within the interface and within the markup. This feature along with a brief explanation makes it easier for the technical and non-technical personnel to identify and understand the issues.  

tota11y: A Chrome browser extension that has many helpful functions, like identifying illogical heading order, and missing labels. However, one of its most helpful features is the Screen Reader wand. Once the function is enabled, it reads to you what a screen-reader user hears as you hover over any content or navigation on a page. This feature can be helpful in understanding the nature of screen readers and potentially identify issues in the markup.

Comply: A truly automated testing tool licensed by U-M. With Deque Comply, developers can scan complex informational websites and get back usable and actionable reports. Higher level reports and progress charts that provide an overview of a given website, or all the websites within a given unit, are useful for administrators. All reports can be filtered and sorted by several criteria, and you can also set up a scheduled scan to see improvement over time. Contact to learn more about Comply.

Suggested Web Validation Tools (

WAVE - The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) by WebAIM offers several different ways to evaluate the accessibility of a website. You can enter the URL for a public site into the form on the website, but you can also install a browser extension in Chrome or Firefox to test other sites from within your browser window.

Color Oracle - This is a tool for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computers that simulates the experience of colorblind users. It is a helpful way to make sure that the colors on your web content will be accessible to the widest possible range of viewers and a great way to understand how individuals who are colorblind experience the web.

WCAG Compliance Auditor - The WCAG Compliance Auditor tests code for compliance with various standards and generates charts and reports as an output. This is a great way to create a record of the process of creating and validating your code.

AChecker - Also known as Accessibility Checker, this is an open source tool for checking the accessibility of websites and code files. The tool is free and very easy to use. It is available in English, German and Italian.

Color Contrast Checker - The Color Contrast Checker from WebAIM allows users to check various combinations of hexadecimal values to determine which will be accessible to users with visual impairments. It allows you to evaluate both normal and large text. At the bottom of the page, it also offers links to other recommended tools.

Web Accessibility: Guidelines (

What are the primary web accessibility issues?

It is important to consider that some website visitors:

  • cannot see graphics because of visual impairments,
  • cannot hear audio because of hearing impairments,
  • use slow Internet connections and modems or equipment that cannot easily download large files,
  • use assistive technology that emulates keyboard functions without the mouse, and
  • have difficulty navigating sites that are poorly organized with unclear directions because they have learning disabilities, speak English as a second language, or are younger than the average user.

What are examples of accessible web page design strategies?

 Designing a well-organized website helps visitors navigate through the information presented. A few other simple suggestions include the following:

  • Maintain a simple, consistent page layout throughout your site.
  • Keep backgrounds simple. Make sure there is enough contrast.
  • Use the most current HTML.
  • Include text descriptions for graphical elements.
  • Make link text descriptive so that it is understood out of context.
  • Use resizable fonts.
  • Provide a skip navigation link at the top of each page.
  • Design uncluttered pages.
  • Provide audio description or transcripts of video content.

What are some web accessibility tests?

Test the usability of your website with:

  • different computer platforms.
  • a variety of monitor sizes and screen resolutions, including a handheld display unit.
  • a variety of web browsers.
  • at least one text-based browser (e.g., Lynx) or multi-media browser with graphics-loading features turned off.
  • the display color changed to black and white.
  • the font changed to a different size.
  • a browser's sound-loading features turned off.
  • the keyboard alone.


Checking Your Pages

Accessible Media

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