Automated Testing For Accessibility

Alice Boxhall (Google), Rachel Shearer (Google)
JavaScript & HTML5, Tools and Techniques
Location: Portland 252 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.40, 10 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

More and more web developers are becoming aware of the importance of designing for accessibility — ensuring that their products are able to be used by as many users as possible, not just those who use the product in the same way as the developers do. But what if you’re past the design stage?

If you’ve already designed and built your web app, regular accessibility testing can be an awkward and expensive process. Most accessibility tests are conducted manually and can’t keep up with the pace of the web. And unfortunately, small accessibility regressions can have a drastic effect on usability — rendering it impossible for a user to navigate or interact with your web app.

We would like to introduce some open-source tools and techniques that we’ve used over a variety of projects to identify accessibility regressions. We will focus on tools that can be used in the browser itself and on automated testing strategies that enable developers to quickly iterate and improve their code. Though automated tests will never catch every regression, we believe a common-sense approach that focuses on the most common accessibility problems can help to eliminate the pain of manual testing and make it easier to prevent, catch, and fix accessibility problems.

Photo of Alice Boxhall

Alice Boxhall


Alice Boxhall is a software engineer at Google, where she works on improving accessibility support in Google Chrome.

Rachel Shearer


Rachel is a software engineer on the Google Search Features team. Since joining Google in 2009 she has worked on making Google’s applications and platforms more accessible.


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