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May 14th, 2022

How to Automate Accessibility Testing


Accessibility testing is a crucial aspect of web development, ensuring that websites and applications are usable by people with disabilities. As businesses increasingly recognize the importance of digital inclusivity, the demand for efficient accessibility testing methods has grown. Automation is one such method that can streamline the process, making it faster, more accurate, and cost-effective. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of automated accessibility testing, exploring its benefits, tools, best practices, and how to implement it effectively.

The Importance of Accessibility Testing

Before we dive into automation, let’s briefly understand why accessibility testing is so vital:

Legal Compliance: Many countries have regulations that mandate digital accessibility, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) globally. Failing to comply can lead to legal repercussions.

Inclusivity: Accessibility testing ensures that your digital content can be accessed and used by everyone, regardless of their abilities. It expands your audience and fosters a more inclusive digital environment.

Enhanced User Experience: Improved accessibility means a better user experience for all, not just those with disabilities. It can lead to higher user satisfaction and engagement.

Business Benefits: Accessibility can positively impact your bottom line. It opens up new markets, improves your brand’s reputation, and reduces the risk of costly lawsuits.

The Case for Automation

Accessibility testing can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Manual testing services, though important, can be prone to human error, making it challenging to achieve consistent results. This is where automation comes in:

Efficiency: Automated tests can quickly scan a website or application for accessibility issues, reducing testing time significantly.

Consistency: Automation ensures that tests are conducted consistently, eliminating the variability associated with manual testing.

Cost-Effective: While there may be an initial investment in automation tools and training, the long-term cost savings are substantial compared to manual testing.

Scalability: Automation is highly scalable, making it ideal for large projects or websites with frequent updates.

Faster Feedback: Automated tests provide rapid feedback, allowing developers to identify and fix issues in real-time.

Also Read: Software Testing Outsourcing: A Cost-Saving Solution

Popular Accessibility Testing Tools

There are several powerful accessibility testing tools available, both open-source and commercial. Here are a few noteworthy options:

axe: An open-source accessibility testing engine that can be integrated into various development environments and testing frameworks.

Pa11y: An automated accessibility testing tool that offers a command-line interface and a web interface for ease of use.

WAVE: A free web accessibility testing evaluation tool that provides in-depth analysis of web pages.

Deque Axe: A commercial solution that offers advanced accessibility testing features and integration options.

Tenon.io: A cloud-based accessibility testing tool that provides detailed reports and prioritizes issues based on severity.

Best Practices for Automating Accessibility Testing

To effectively automated accessibility testing, consider the following best practices:

Select the Right Tools: Choose a tool that aligns with your project’s needs and your team’s skillset.

Integrate Early: Integrate accessibility testing into the development process from the beginning rather than as an afterthought.

Define Testing Criteria: Clearly define your testing criteria, including the accessibility standards you aim to meet (e.g., WCAG 2.1).

Automate Routine Tests: Automate repetitive and routine tests to ensure consistent coverage.

Combine Automation with Manual Testing: While automation is efficient, it should be complemented with manual testing to address complex issues and verify results.

Continuous Testing: Implement continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to perform accessibility tests automatically with every code change.

Regular Updates: Keep your accessibility testing tools and scripts up to date to address evolving standards and technologies.

Implementing Automated Accessibility Testing

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to implement automated accessibility testing effectively:

Step 1: Tool Selection

Choose an accessibility testing tool that suits your project. Ensure it supports the accessibility standards you want to comply with, and consider factors like ease of integration and reporting capabilities.

Step 2: Integration

Integrate the chosen tool into your development workflow. This may involve installing plugins, setting up APIs, or configuring the tool to work seamlessly with your development environment.

Step 3: Define Testing Criteria

Clearly define your testing criteria and establish a baseline of accessibility standards that your project should meet. This might include specific WCAG guidelines or internal accessibility policies.

Step 4: Automated Test Scripting

Write automated test scripts that cover various aspects of accessibility, including keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, and alternative text for images.

Step 5: Continuous Testing

Implement automated tests within your CI/CD pipeline to ensure that accessibility testing occurs with every code change. This continuous testing approach helps catch issues early in the development process.

Step 6: Reporting

Set up automated reporting mechanisms to generate accessibility reports after each test run. These reports should provide detailed information about identified issues and their severity.

Step 7: Remediation

Develop a process for addressing accessibility issues found during automated testing. Assign responsibilities for fixing issues and establish timelines for resolution.

Step 8: Training and Awareness

Ensure that your development team is trained in accessibility best practices and is aware of the importance of accessibility testing throughout the project lifecycle.

Also Read: Benefits of Automation Testing Services

Challenges and Considerations

While automated accessibility testing offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential challenges:

False Positives: Automated tools may flag issues that require human judgment to determine if they are genuine accessibility problems.

Complex Interactions: Some accessibility issues, especially those involving complex user interactions, may be challenging to automate.

Limited Scope: Automated tests may not catch all accessibility issues, so manual testing is still necessary.

Tool Familiarity: Team members may need time to become proficient with the selected automation tool.


Automating accessibility testing is a wise investment for any organization committed to digital inclusivity. It not only ensures legal compliance but also enhances user experiences, broadens your audience, and contributes to a positive brand image. By following best practices and integrating accessibility testing into your development process, you can create a more inclusive digital world, one automated test at a time. To embark on this journey towards accessibility excellence and leverage the power of automation, partner with Think Future Technologies (TFT). Contact us today to explore how TFT can help you achieve accessibility and digital excellence.


1. What is the difference between manual and automated accessibility testing?

Manual testing involves human testers using assistive technologies to evaluate accessibility, while automated testing uses software tools to scan and detect accessibility issues.

2. Can automated accessibility testing replace manual testing entirely?

While automation streamlines the process, manual testing is still essential for complex interactions and to validate results from automated scans.

3. How often should automated accessibility tests be run in a development cycle?

It’s recommended to run automated tests continuously in a CI/CD pipeline to catch issues early, with additional tests before major releases.

4. What should I do if automated tests produce false positives or negatives?

Review and prioritize issues based on their impact, and conduct manual testing to validate and refine results.

5. Are there any specific accessibility standards that automated tests should focus on?

Yes, automated tests should focus on meeting recognized standards like WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) to ensure digital content is accessible to a wide range of users.

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