Automating Accessibility Testing of Web Applications

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IBM has released a new solution that is designed to allow developers and testers to integrate automated accessibility testing within Chrome browser development tools to help deliver an optimized user experience and conform to industry standards.

IBM AbilityLab™ Dynamic Assessment Plugin, a browser extension that quickly identifies accessibility issues, and evaluates and recommends potential fixes, including those related to Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) implementations. It also outlines details for each issue and provides examples to help developers correct the violations so they adhere to web accessibility guidelines early in the development process.

The solution will help ensure that web applications are compliant to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2.0 AA (WCAG 2.0 AA), as well as a more extensive, proprietary list of guidelines developed by IBM, which includes additional rules for new web standards, such as ARIA and HTML5.

After installing the Dynamic Assessment Plugin, users run a scan of the web application and within seconds receive a report outlining each accessibility issue – ranging from violations, potential violations, recommendations, and those that should be manually checked.


Screenshot of the Dynamic Assessment Plugin showing a list of accessibility violations on the right and where they exist in the code on the left.

After running a scan of the web application, Dynamic Assessment Plugin will give you a report of accessibility violations and where they exist in the code.

For example, Dynamic Assessment Plugin will check rendered web applications in context, helping developers correctly use ARIA 1.1 and HTML5, detect color contrast issues, and more common checks, such as usage of forms labels and alt text. The Dynamic Assessment Plugin’s engine is also built to support the implicit semantics of ARIA 1.1.Each violation is outlined with suggestions on how to correct, along with corresponding information that pinpoints the violation in the source code (see image above).

“Dynamic Assessment Plugin distinguishes itself by not only providing real-time accessibility assessments, but goes further providing best practices, accessible code examples and features a very strong HTML5 and WAI-ARIA standards compliance engine,” said Hiram Kuykendall, CTO at Microassist who used the tool during the 2016 Knowbility OpenAIR competition.

“The HTML5 compliance engine is quite unique in this industry as it goes beyond the common accessibility checks ensuring that the web page adheres to the larger standard which is absolutely critical for proper interpretation by assistive technologies for people with vision, mobility, hearing and cognitive issues,” added Kyukendall.

Dynamic Accessibility Plugin is available immediately and can be downloaded at this link by registering for an IBM ID.

For more information on other IBM Accessibility Research testing tools, please visit:

  • Mobile Accessibility Checker: automates the process of testing for accessibility violations directly within mobile hybrid and native application development, test or build environments.
  • Digital Content Checker: web service that allows users to easily upload and verify the accessibility of HTML content and EPUB documents.
  • Automated Accessibility Tester:web service designed to automate accessibility reporting and auditing capabilities directly within the Selenium testing framework.
  • AccProbe: combines the functionality of numerous accessibility inspection and event management tools into one application to test and correct accessibility violations in rich client applications.
  • Va11yS: an extensive repository of working code samples and design patterns to help streamline the development of inclusive web and mobile applications

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