Today I went into my study time with the intent to list out pros and cons of automated versus manual accessibility testing. Instead I walked away with a comparison of what each had to offer, and understanding that both are valuable when used cooperatively during website and web app development.
Things I accomplished
Submitted my request to take the Web Accessibility Specialist certification exam in early April via private proctor.
- Testing Guidance for Developers
- What is accessibility testing?
- Manual and Automated Web Accessibility Testing
- The Importance of Manual Accessibility Testing (so much packed into one article!)
Created a comparison table to jot down ideas about manual and automated testing (see under What I learned today).
What I learned today
|Manual Testing||Automated Testing|
|Slower process||Faster process|
|Mostly accurate||Sometimes accurate|
|Easier to miss a link||Guaranteed check of all links|
|Identifies proper state of elements||Automated user input can miss state|
|Page by Page||Site-wide|
|Assurance of conformance||Misleading in assurance of conformance|
|Guidance for alternative solutions||Yes/No (boolean) checks and solutions|
|Human and software||Software|
|Finds actual problems||Lists potential problems|
|Appropriate HTML semantics||HTML validation|
|Accurate alt text||Existence of alt attribute|
|Heading hierarchy||Headings exist|
|Follows intention of usability||Follows WCAG success criteria|
|Test is/isn’t readable||Programmatic color contrast|
|Part of the testing process||Part of the testing process|
|Appropriate use of ARIA||Presence and validity of ARIA|
|In real life||Hypothetical|
|Identifies granular challenges of usability||Quickly identifies low-hanging fruit and repeated offenders|
Deciding on testing methods and tools shouldn’t be an either-or mandate. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Using both methods should be a part of every testing process. Why not strengthen your product’s usability by incorporating tools from each methodology into your process?