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Software accessibility
Understanding Accessibility

If you are new to accessibility, review "Understanding accessibility" before completing the checklist or contacting the Human Ability and Accessibility Center for help.

IBM software accessibility checklist

Use this checklist for:

  • general software products and applications that have a user interface
  • software tools, this applies to both the user interface as well as the output of the tool
  • Java 1.1.x applications that use standard AWT components and are designed to run only on Windows platforms
  • software used by system administrators to control and monitor servers or other remote equipment
  • Eclipse applications written with Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) controls. Note: SWT controls do not use the Java Access Bridge.
  • software with a command line interface

Last updated May 28, 2003. Techniques pages, accessed via the link in each checkpoint, may contain more recent updates. Be sure to review the techniques pages for the latest accessibility guidance.

IBM Software Accessibility Checklist - Version 3.5.1
1 Keyboard access Comments
1.1 Provide keyboard equivalents for all actions.  
1.2 Do not interfere with keyboard accessibility features built into the operating system.  
2 Object information Comments
2.1 Provide a visual focus indicator that moves among interactive objects as the input focus changes. This focus indicator must be programmatically exposed to assistive technology.  
2.2 Provide semantic information about user interface objects. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text.  
2.3 Associate labels with controls, objects, icons and images. If an image is used to identify programmatic elements, the meaning of the image must be consistent throughout the application.  
2.4 When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.  
3 Sounds and multimedia Comments
3.1 Provide an option to display a visual cue for all audio alerts.  
3.2 Provide accessible alternatives to significant audio and video.  
3.3 Provide an option to adjust the volume.  
4 Display Comments
4.1 Provide text through standard system function calls or through an API (application programming interface) which supports interaction with assistive technology.  
4.2 Use color as an enhancement, not as the only way to convey information or indicate an action.  
4.3 Support system settings for high contrast for all user interface controls and client area content.  
4.4 When color customization is supported, provide a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels.  
4.5 Inherit system settings for font, size, and color for all user interface controls.  
4.6 Provide an option to display animation in a non-animated presentation mode.  
5 Timing Comments
5.1 Provide an option to adjust the response times on timed instructions or allow the instructions to persist.  
5.2 Do not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.  
6 Verify accessibility Comments
6.1 Test for accessibility using available tools.  

©2005, 2007 IBM Corporation

Related checklists:

More information

Additional references on software accessibility issues.