Tools

The following tools can help make your job of ensuring accessibility easier:

  • Fangs - Screen reader emulator that allows you to read how a page would be represented audibly to a screen reader user
  • WAVE Toolbar - a browser toolbar that automatically scans for errors on the page
  • Link checker - WTS runs a service that can automatically check all your site's links every month and email a report to you
  • ConvertDoc - email your image-based PDF documents to convertdoc@umontana.edu and it will automatically return an OCR version of the PDF

Additionally, the W3C maintains a list of accessibility tools that you can filter by license and standard.

Introduction to Web Accessibility (Google)

WCAG 2.0 Standards

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 categorize best practices in web accessibility and are at the heart of UM's policy of web accessibility.

Conformance Levels

WCAG 2.0 consists of three levels of success criteria: A, AA, and AAA. Level AAA is the most strict level.

UM's Policy and Resolution Agreement set the standard for web accessibility to be compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA standard (with some exclusions.) This means that you must comply with both the A and AA success criteria within WCAG 2.0.

FAQ

Please consult the tools page within this guide for a list of automated tools that can assist you in assessing your level of compliance. Do remember that no tool can fully assess accessibility compliance, so when in doubt ask for an accessibility expert on campus to walk through your web application/page with you and do a formal assessment.

As a developer, you need to know and understand every WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA standard. You should be familiar with AAA, but are not required to implement it.

Section 508 is part of Federal Law that requires accessibility for federal websites. Section 508 is not the most applicable standard for UM, and its checklist is not part of UM's approved policy. Additionally, Section 508 will soon be refreshed to use WCAG 2.0 AA as its standard.

Getting more help

If you are a web developer on campus and need help meeting the WCAG 2.0 AA standards, you can reach out to the following individuals:

Tools

Overview

The following is a list of tools that can help you assess the level of accessibility of your pages.

Remember that no tool can give you a 100% certain answer to the question "Is my page accessible?" This requires testing by a qualified individual. 

more comprehensive list of tools is available on the W3C website.

Screen readers

Screen readers are a form of Assistive Technology that many students use. Getting familiar with operating a screen reader can help you understand the context of your website/application within Assistive Technology, and it can give you an appreciation of the importance of good usability.

Although most students who use screen readers use JAWS, it's licensing is often cost prohibitive for developers. A free alternative is NVDA, or the included VoiceOver on Macs.

Browser plugins

  • WAVE toolbar - Probably the single best accessibility tool out there. It provides alerting to common errors, and insight into the structure of a page. Highly recommended. 
  • Fangs screen reader emulator - The next best thing to operating a screen reader yourself; Fangs will show you what a screen reader would say to a user. Highly recommended. 
  • Color contrast tool - Helps identify if sufficient color contrast exists.
  • Accessibility tools - all purpose toolbar.

External checkers

Color contrast