W3C logoWeb Accessibility Initiative

WAI: Strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

Evaluation Approaches for Specific Contexts

Page Contents


This document supplements the documents Preliminary Review of Web Sites for Accessibility and Conformance Evaluation of Web Sites for Accessibility. It describes considerations for evaluation of large and complex Web sites, during the development process, ongoing monitoring, evaluation of legacy sites, and evaluation of dynamically generated Web pages.

Evaluation during the development process

Evaluation during the development process is essential. It can sometimes be difficult, as both in-house and subcontracted Web developers sometimes prefer to establish the site design and demonstrate their progress before getting feedback. However, accessibility issues identified early are easier to correct and avoid. Effective evaluation during the design period can include:

Ongoing monitoring

To maximize likelihood that a Web site will maintain a given conformance level in the future, the following provisions should be in place:

Note: A full conformance evaluation is not necessarily required at each milestone in an ongoing review process. Steps like repeated user testing may only be required after major template or content changes.

Evaluation of legacy sites

Occasionally Web sites that are "frozen" (legacy; no longer actively maintained) are found to have substantial accessibility problems. It can be difficult to determine how to address these. It is helpful to:

Evaluation of dynamically generated Web pages

Dynamically generated pages are usually assembled from one or more templates that provide common layout and navigation features, and content provided automatically from a database or other content management system. To achieve full conformance the accessibility of both templates and generated content must be evaluated. It is not sufficient to evaluate only templates: content may also contain markup, or be required to contain markup in order to be accessible. The following are things to consider:


Evaluate all templates as follows:

  1. Evaluate static templates using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
  2. Add a minimal amount of plain text content to the templates and evaluate again.

Note: if templates are generated by authoring software evaluate the capability of the authoring tool to include accessible features (see Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines Overview), for example:


Evaluate the capability of the content management system to store and generate accessibility information (see Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines Overview). Consider the following questions:

Templates and content combined

For pages that are generated as a result of a query to a database, the source generated as the page is rendered should be captured and evaluated using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 -- [may require operator intervention]. Note: if all dynamic content cannot be evaluated, generate broadly representative samples, capture content, and test the output. Do the generated pages retain the accessibility features evaluated under templates and content when combined?

Related pages

This document is part of a multi-page Evaluating Web Accessibility resource suite that outlines different approaches for evaluating Web accessibility.