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Accessibility Guidelines, Tools, and Reports

By Lettie Ar-Rahmaan posted Thu May 19, 2022 08:43 AM

Image of W3C Guidelines

This is the second blog on this topic. For the first blog, see ADA Digital Accessibility.

In my previous blog, I learned about the American Disability Act (ADA), its application to software testing and the organization for ADA Digital Accessibility. WAI’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the standard for web and digital accessibility.  The guideline goals are to provide structure and uniformity to web content on computers, tablets and smartphones through code and design.  Some organizations contribute to the Web and Digital Accessibility Guidelines. 

The four categories for web accessibility guidelines are: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.  Below is a brief description of each category with mobile consideration.


  • Provide text alternatives for any non-text content
  • Provide options for time-based media
  • Create content that can be presented in a more straightforward layout without losing information or structure
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.


  • Small Screen Size
  • Zoom/Magnification
  • Contrast


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard
  • Provide users enough time to read and use content
  • Do not design content in a way to trigger seizures
  • Help users navigate


  • Keyboard Control for Touchscreen Devices
  • Touch Target Size and Spacing
  • Touchscreen Gestures
  • Device Manipulation Gestures
  • Placing buttons where they are easy to access


  • Make text content readable easily
  • Make the page appear and operate in a predictable way
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes


  • Changing Screen Orientation (Portrait/Landscape)
  • Consistent Layout
  • Positioning essential page elements before the page scroll
  • Grouping operable elements that perform the same action
  • Provide a clear indication that details are actionable
  • Provide instructions for custom touchscreen and device manipulation gestures


  • Maximize compatibility with current and future users, including assistive technologies


  • Set the virtual keyboard to the type of data entry required
  • Provide easy methods for data entry
  • Support the characteristic properties of the platform

Unfortunately, the client didn’t have an accessibility standard, so we selected to follow the A and AA conformance levels as a team for the categories. We relied on UsableNet for training and support.  They suggested using the Wave Firefox and Chrome extension.  Below is a sample WAVE assessment report on Our goal was to reduce the number of errors and contrast to zero.

Image of WaveReport after scanning

The scrum masters and I worked on opening the defects and prioritizing them for each sprint. This was a new skill for all the teams, and we continue to be proactive in accessibility testing.

Allow me to backtrack a moment.  When I started accessibility testing, I was unaware of the IBM Equal Access Toolkit.  However, I’ve utilized the IBM Accessibility and the W3C-WAI sites for enablement and resources.

On the W3C-WAI tools page, I learned about Accessibility Insights, Perfecto Axe, IBM Equal Access Toolkit and ChromeLens.  These tools provide an assessment report based on the automated, manual, or assisted test executed.  When the team moved on, we could share our knowledge with new clients and peers.  For the client, we created test artifacts from the W3C-WAI test & evaluate templates. 

It's your turn to try one of the tools and test an internal or personal site.  Share the results with your team. Also, go to the search icon on your computer or mobile device and type accessibility. Now, you can use some of the tools of the accessibility communities to test or for personal usage.

In the DevOps world, we continue to shift left by engaging the UX/UI, testers, business users, and UAT teams in this fast pace process while delivering quality and identifying defects earlier. 

Let’s make sure we leave no one behind in digital accessibility.

Authoring Tools
User Agent


W3C Technical Information on Accessibility


Online Training Courses - Practical hands-on accessibility testing

IBM Internal Slack channel - #accessibility-at-ibm
Equal Access Toolkit:
Accessibility Central:

IBM Rational Test



Picture of Lettie Ar-Rahmaan for Blogs

Lettie Ar-Rahmaan, MSIS CTFL

Product Manager, Rational Test

IBM DevOps – Test Automation