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Website Accessibility Evaluation Methodologies

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This page provides a listing of methodologies for evaluating the accessibility of websites. This includes any documented formal and informal approaches for accessibility evaluation.

Please send comments and feedback to public-wai-rd@w3.org.

W3C/WAI Preliminary Review of Web Sites for Accessibility

Reference: http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary.html

Informal screening of websites to get an impression of its accessibility. The benefits is that it can be carried out by non-technical people but the draw-back is that it only provides partial evaluation.

W3C/WAI Conformance Evaluation of Web Sites for Accessibility

Reference: http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/conformance.html

Guidance for evaluating the conformance of websites to WCAG rather than a comprehensive methodology. It provides useful guidance but does not go into much detail to ensure interrater reliability.

Unified Web Evaluation Methodology (UWEM)

Reference: http://www.wabcluster.org/uwem1_2/

The Unified Web Evaluation Methodology (UWEM), version 1.2, provides a complete methodology for the evaluation of websites for WCAG1.0 comformance. UWEM also covers statistical methods for sampling, critical path analysis, computer assisted content selection, manual content selection and interpretation and integration/aggregation of test results.

Dey Alexander's reviews of Australian university website accessibility

References: http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw03/papers/alexander3/paper.html and http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw07/papers/refereed/alexander/paper.html

In 2003 Dey Alexander published How Accessible Are Australian University Web Sites? which includes the methodology she used to review the websites of many Australian universities. In 2007, she published University website accessibility revisited which provides an updated methodology and analysis, along with a comparison of results between the two reviews.

BITV-Test

Reference: http://www.bitvtest.eu/bitv_test/intro/overview.html

BITV-Test is a German-language methodology for website accessibility evaluation according to the German federal government policy BITV 2.0, that is based on WCAG 2.0.

ACCESSIBLE Testing Techniques

Reference: http://160.40.50.89/various/WCAG2.0_tests_implemented_v01.doc

A collection of 73 WCAG 2.0 techniques used as part of the ACCESSIBLE web assessment module. The techniques include automatable and manual approaches, and are presented in UWEM 1.2 structure.

Accessibility Evaluation Methodology

Reference: http://accessibility.gtri.gatech.edu/aem/AEM1.html

"Conducting an Accessibility Evaluation" is not related to websites per se but describes some of the generic details and steps of the approach used that may be of interest/applicable in a website accessibility evaluation methodology.

Website Accessibility in Western Australian Public Libraries

References: Website accessibility issues in Western Australian public libraries, Thesis by Vivienne Louise Conway and Australian Library Journal, The, ISSN 0004-9670, 2011, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp. 103 - 112.

This thesis was submitted for an Honours (BIT(Hons) dissertation in November 2010. The author audited all of the public library websites where there was an online catalogue. The methodology follows the procedure of using two automated tools to crawl through the entire site, a manual checklist based on items considered essential for this target group, and use of a screen reader to verify results. The automated tool results were cross-checked to look for validity and to cross-check results with both the manual checklist and screen-reader. Summarized results are also available in the journal article referenced above.

Other Current RDWG resources

The Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) is currently looking at user evaluation, which is considered to be very important for web accessibility evaluation, however not much known about how to properly conduct a user evaluation for Web accessibility with disabled users. More of the RDWG resources can be found at the User Evaluation Methods Page.