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Manual Accessibility Testing Techniques with ARC Toolkit

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Manual testing plays a crucial role in ensuring that websites are inclusive and usable for all individuals, including those with disabilities. One powerful tool that aids in manual accessibility testing is the ARC Toolkit. This blog will delve into the significance of manual accessibility testing, the process of performing manual checks using the ARC Toolkit, and how it helps address specific accessibility issues.

The Importance of Manual Accessibility Testing

While automated tools are valuable for detecting certain accessibility issues, they cannot capture all barriers that users with disabilities may encounter. Manual testing allows developers to delve deeper into the user experience, identify accessibility challenges, and ensure that websites are truly accessible to all individuals. It involves human judgment, empathy, and a comprehensive understanding of accessibility guidelines.

Performing Manual Accessibility Checks using ARC Toolkit

The ARC Toolkit is a professional-level accessibility testing tool that empowers developers to evaluate screens for accessibility efficiently and effectively. When performing manual accessibility checks with the ARC Toolkit, developers can follow these steps:

  1. Installation: Start by installing the ARC Toolkit browser extension in Chrome, which will enable you to access the tool within the Chrome Developer tools.
  2. Page Evaluation: Navigate to the web page you want to evaluate for accessibility. Open the ARC Toolkit within the Developer tools to initiate the evaluation process.
  3. Manual Review: The ARC Toolkit flags errors that can be programmatically checked and highlights potential issues that require manual review. Pay close attention to these flagged elements during the manual testing process.
  4. Focus Order Testing: Use the ARC Toolkit to conduct focus order testing, ensuring that the page tabbing order and keyboard navigation are logical and intuitive for users who rely on assistive technologies.
  5. Addressing Specific Issues: During manual testing, focus on addressing specific accessibility issues such as reflow and text spacing, ensuring that content is presented in a readable format for all users.

Addressing Specific Accessibility Issues through Manual Testing

Manual accessibility testing with the ARC Toolkit allows developers to address specific accessibility issues effectively. By manually reviewing the flagged errors and potential issues, developers can:

  • Ensure that interactive elements like buttons and links are accessible via keyboard navigation.
  • Verify that text spacing and reflow meet accessibility standards, enhancing readability for users with visual impairments.
  • Identify and rectify color contrast issues to improve visibility for users with low vision.

By engaging in thorough manual testing using the ARC Toolkit, developers can fine-tune their websites to meet WCAG guidelines, enhance user experience, and demonstrate a commitment to digital inclusivity.

Advantages of Manual Testing over Automated Testing

The advantages of manual accessibility testing over automated testing include:

  1. Human Judgment and Critical Assessment: Manual testing allows for human judgment and critical assessment of accessibility issues that automated tools may not detect. A person can evaluate elements like alt text accuracy, form usability, and overall site functionality, providing insights that automated tools may miss.
  2. Identification of Nuanced Issues: Manual testing is effective in identifying nuanced issues with design, navigation, and user experience that automated tools may overlook. Human testers can understand context, interpret subjective elements, and provide insights based on real-life experiences, ensuring a more comprehensive evaluation of accessibility.
  3. Complex Interactions and Dynamic Content: Manual testing is essential for testing complex user interactions, dynamic content, and subjective elements like color contrast. Human testers can navigate real-world scenarios based on their experiences, making them adept at assessing complex accessibility aspects that automated tools may struggle with.
  4. Assessment of Multimedia Content: Manual testing is crucial for evaluating multimedia content such as videos, audio, and other elements to ensure that alternative text, captions, and other accessibility features are present and relevant to users with disabilities. This human-driven assessment ensures that multimedia content is accessible to all users.
  5. Early Detection of Issues: Manual testing is beneficial in the early stages of development when frequent codebase changes occur. Human testers can adapt quickly to evolving code, identifying and resolving issues promptly before they become deeply embedded in the system. This early detection helps in maintaining accessibility standards throughout the development process.

Training Testers for Manual Testing

Training testers for manual accessibility testing involves equipping them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and techniques to effectively evaluate websites and applications for accessibility compliance. Here are the key steps to train testers for manual accessibility testing based on the provided sources:

  1. Accessibility Training Courses: Consider enrolling testers in 1 or 2-day accessibility training courses that cover essential accessibility criteria and testing techniques. These courses provide a solid foundation in understanding accessibility guidelines and how to test websites for compliance.
  2. Manual Testing Basics: Ensure testers understand the fundamentals of manual accessibility testing, including using keyboard, visual, and cognitive tests, tools, and techniques to identify issues that automated tools may miss. Manual testing is crucial for catching a higher percentage of issues than automated tests alone.
  3. Hands-On Practice: Provide testers with hands-on practice conducting manual accessibility tests. Encourage them to explore keyboard functionality, visually focused reviews, and general content checks to gain practical experience identifying and addressing accessibility issues.
  4. Exploratory Testing: Train testers to conduct exploratory testing to evaluate the usability and flow of an application based on intuition and real-world scenarios. This approach helps testers uncover issues that may not be easily automated, especially in complex user interactions or dynamic content.
  5. Accessibility Expertise: Ensure testers have the necessary accessibility expertise to run tests effectively and interpret the results accurately. Manual testing may require a deeper understanding of WCAG checkpoints, assistive technologies, and user experience considerations.


By considering these factors, organizations can effectively evaluate the impact and success of manual accessibility testing in identifying and addressing accessibility barriers, enhancing user experience, and ensuring compliance with accessibility standards.

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Sonal Wakodikar

Sonal Wakodikar is an Associate Technical Consultant at Perficient. She has more than 2.5 years of experience in the IT industry. Sonal has a strong interest in discovering new technologies. She is driven to impart her knowledge through her blogs.

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