Assistive Technology Testing

To be sure that your new or modified website is truly accessible, we recommend testing with a wide variety of assistive technologies.

We have conducted user testing with disabled participants and assistive technologies since 2004, so we have a deep understanding of the issues that they face and we can recognise most aspects of a website's design that will present a barrier.

Some of the issues are technical, but others are cognitive. For instance it is common for screen reader users to be able to hear all the content but not understand it! With our experience, we can recognise where this is likely to occur.

Which Assistive Technologies To Test With?

Ideally, we recommend testing with the following assistive technologies:

  • JAWS - the most widely-used screen reader on the market.
  • NVDA - a good-quality free screen reader.
  • Voiceover - a free screen reader supplied with all Apple computers, phones and tablets.
  • Talkback - a free screen reader available for Android phones and tablets.
  • Windows Magnifier - a free screen magnifier supplied with all Microsoft Windows computers.
  • Dragon voice recognition software for Windows.

We can also test with other assistive technologies including:

  • ZoomText screen magnifier.
  • Fusion - a combination of JAWS screen reader and ZoomText screen magnifier.
  • Voice Control - a free voice recognition software app supplied with all Apple computers, phones and tablets.
  • Voice Access - a free voice recognition software app available for Android.
  • TextHelp Read&Write - a literacy application.

How It Works

Our consultants methodically go through every part of every page to identify potential accessibility barriers such as:

  • Bugs, adverse behaviours or absence of necessary features in the assistive technology.
  • Bugs or adverse behaviours between the particular versions of the browser and assistive technology.
  • Cognitive issues where the content may not be understandable even though it is technically accessible.

What If I Can't Afford All That?

We recognise that some organisations can't afford to test with the full list of assistive technologies, so we can do as much or as little as you want.

If there is only time or budget to test with one, we recommend testing with a screen reader (probably NVDA) because it covers some issues that affect people with other disabilities and assistive technologies. For instance:

  • It reveals issues relating to keyboard accessibility.
  • It linearises pages in the same way as text browsers.
  • It is more dependent on the underlying coding than other assistive technologies.
  • Some cognitive issues, such as spatial relationships and consistency of design and terminology, will also affect some sighted users.