Building a Better Web
June 11–12, 2018: Training
June 12–14, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Practical hands-on accessibility testing

Nicolas Steenhout (Part of a Whole)
9:00am–12:30pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Location: 210 C/G Level: Beginner
Secondary topics:  Hands-on, Technical

Who is this presentation for?

Web developers, QA testers

Prerequisite knowledge

Solid understanding of HTML/CSS/JavaScript.

Materials or downloads needed in advance

* OS X users should have activated VoiceOver * Windows users should download and install NVDA from * Linux users may download and install ORCA from * Install web developer toolbar for Firefox or Chrome * For OS X and Linux users - a Windows VM would be useful, but not mission critical * A personal selection of 2 or 3 sites to work on for accessibility testing.

What you'll learn

* Understanding of accessibility - who faces barriers and what kind of barriers. * Understanding of various web accessibility testing methods * Practical accessibility testing workflow * Basic remediation guidance for some common accessibility barriers


Testing for web accessibility can feel daunting when you aren’t used to it. But with the growing requirements for sites to meet accessibility guidelines, it has become an unescapable part of a developer’s life. Accessibility should be seen as a challenge, rather than a chore.

This workshop will demonstrate an accessibility testing workflow that can be integrated in coding workflow, and will include a review of automated testing, and hands-on manual testing using a variety of tools, from using the keyboard to using a screen reader application. We will work on real life sites, as well as some code snippets.

Participants will leave the workshop with a solid understanding of common accessibility barriers and methods to test for, and remediate, these barriers.

Photo of Nicolas Steenhout

Nicolas Steenhout

Part of a Whole

Inclusivity is vital to a democratic Internet. And for more than 20 years, Nicolas Steenhout has been addressing this subject head-on as a web accessibility expert.

Working as a developer in the mid-’90s, Nic was approached by colleagues, clients and friends with web-based issues that weren’t yet part of the public consciousness. Images weren’t being properly announced to people who are blind; video-only tutorials didn’t account for people who are deaf; over engineered webpages made it impossible for those with ADHD to engage. Nic quickly realized that amid a major technological revolution, a significant part of the digital landscape was being neglected.

In 1996, he took on a federally-funded position in the US disability sector. The world of non-profits allowed him to work closely with people with a wide variety of impairments. It gave him an even greater understanding of the web’s shortcomings. At the same time, the experience introduced him to new assistive technologies—technologies that were breaking barriers for people with disabilities.

Over the next two decades, Nic continued his work for both the non-profit and private sectors. He has held several Executive positions and currently provides his services as an independent consultant. Businesses and government agencies seek Nic’s expertise in strategic planning and training.

All over North America, Europe and Australasia, he’s engaged with thousands of individuals with disabilities. These interactions have fuelled his passion for storytelling. Public speaker, avid blogger and podcaster, Nic provides real-world insight into everyday accessibility issues. He explores everything from disability awareness and security to how JavaScript can be used to better the web for all. He’ll even share the occasional anecdote about his service dog.

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Picture of Nicolas Steenhout
02/11/2018 12:03am PST

Hi Jonathan,

I personally use Parallels. I know other people who swear by VMWare, and a few others who prefer Virtual Box.

The one thing that you’ll have problem with, regardless of which VM you use, is that you are going to need to remap keys to be able to use keyboard commands to NVDA.

Jonathan Pool |
02/10/2018 11:19am PST

Do you know which Windows VMs on OS X best support NVDA?