Amal Tapalov
Amal Tapalov

Useful tools for accessibility testing for product designers

As a product designer, it is important to ensure that your designs are accessible to as many users as possible, including those with disabilities. One of the best ways to do this is to regularly test your designs for accessibility, using a variety of tools and techniques. In this article, I will present some of the most useful tools for accessibility testing, and how they can help you create more inclusive and user-friendly designs.

One of the most basic and widely-used tools for accessibility testing is a screen reader. A screen reader is a software program that reads the content of a website or application aloud, allowing users who are blind or have low vision to access the information on the screen. There are several different screen readers available, including JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver, and each one has its own unique features and capabilities. Testing your designs with a screen reader can help you identify any issues with the perceivability of your content, such as missing alt text for images or poorly-structured headings.

Another useful tool for accessibility testing is a color contrast checker. Many users with visual impairments, such as color blindness or low vision, have difficulty distinguishing between colors that have low contrast. By using a color contrast checker, you can ensure that the text and other elements on your designs have sufficient contrast with the background, making them more legible and perceivable for these users. There are several color contrast checkers available online, including the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker, the Contrast Ratio tool and many others. [ 1, 2]

In addition to screen readers and color contrast checkers, there are also several tools that can help you test the operability of your designs. One such tool is a keyboard accessibility checker, which helps you determine whether your designs can be fully navigated using only a keyboard. This is important because users with motor impairments, such as tremors or limited mobility in their hands, may not be able to use a mouse or touch screen to interact with your designs. Some popular keyboard accessibility checkers include the WAVE tool and the Lighthouse accessibility audit in Google Chrome.

Another useful tool for operability testing is a tool that simulates different types of motor impairments. These tools allow you to test how your designs perform when users have difficulty clicking or tapping on specific elements, or when they have tremors or other types of movement disorders. Some popular tools for simulating motor impairments include the ChromeVox and Axe browser extensions.

Finally, there are also several tools that can help you test the understandability of your designs. One such tool is a usability testing platform, which allows you to gather feedback from real users about the clarity and ease of use of your designs. This can help you identify any issues with the layout, navigation, or language of your designs that may be confusing or difficult for users to understand. Some popular usability testing platforms include UserTesting and Lookback.

In summary, there are a variety of tools available for accessibility testing, each of which can help you create more inclusive and user-friendly designs. By regularly using these tools, you can ensure that your designs are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, and that they meet the needs of a diverse range of users.

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