The 21st century is the age of technology and we are living in an increasingly diverse, globalized, complex and media saturated society. According to Dr. Douglas Kellner at UCLA this technological revolution will have a greater impact on society than the transition from an oral to a print culture.
The internet and World Wide Web have a dramatic impact on every field of our lives such as business, industry, education and even our social lives. Therefore websites must be able to represent individuals and organizations across multiple platforms, devices and browsers in environments that are secure and easily accessible by everyone. Increased competition and customer demands implies that these conditions should apply whatever hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability the users of a web application might have.
Web standards are the series of guidelines created by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the governing body of web. The W3C develops royalty-free standards. Currently there are more than 400 members of W3C, that include
- Web Industry
- Research & Development
- User Organizations
The core of any web application is its functionality. However, in today’s world, standards also need to be followed while developing in the world of web 2.0. A web application should be accessible by everyone using any type of software, hardware, network, at any geological location, and having any type of mental abilities. Therefore “accessibility testing” is also becoming a major part of software testing in accordance with functionality testing.
Such continuous improvement and progress in the standards, thus calls for the tester to stay updated with these developments. Different online and desktop tools are available that check your applications according to these standards.
W3C has also provided online tools for accessibility testing. But these tools have single functionality, one of these is for HTML validation, another for CSS, and yet another for link testing. Therefore, it does not make validating all types of accessibility, a one time job. Other tools that Can be used are Site valet, Cynthia Says Portal, Web accessibility checker and Total Validator.
All tools except Total Validator validate one type of accessibility at a time. Some of these tools give you the facility to test your code by simply pasting it there, or by uploading a file; while, all of them have the facility to test your online website. The total validator is a tool that provides the functionality to test all types of accessibility testing in just one click, but then, it is a commercial tool. In my opinion, among the open source tools the W3C tools are more reliable than the others as these tools are provided by the organization that is the governing party for developing the standard guidelines for accessibility testing.
In short, evaluating the accessibility of web application is as important as functionality of any web application in today’s business environment. The tools for testing the accessibility are normally open source and we can choose one according to its results representation mechanism or ease of use for us.