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10 Best Accessibility Tools For 2021

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As more and more countries come up with policies to ensure that the web is accessible to everyone, it has become crucial to be aware of what accessibility tools are available to you as a website owner.

What Is Web accessibility?

Web accessibility is the practice of making digital content accessible to people with disabilities and by extension, to everyone.

The UN  World Report on Disability 2011 estimated that about 15% of the world’s population is living with some form of disability. That’s about 1.3 billion people. These staggering numbers show that it is not only a moral responsibility to make your website accessible but it’s also a practical choice. You would be discriminating against a lot of people if your website is not compliant with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. 

Furthermore, any website that is made to be compliant with WCAG standards will always win on the SEO front. This is because a lot of web accessibility practice involves the use of semantic code which search engines find easy to crawl over and index.

What Is WCAG?

WCAG is a set of guidelines that describes how digital content should be built to be accessible to people with disabilities who may have difficulties accessing web content otherwise. 

The WCAG has different versions( WCAG 1, 2.0, and 2.1) but the current version is the WCAG 2.1. It has three standards of conformance – A, AA, and AAA – and 58 success criteria with recommendations on best practices to build a fully accessible website.

Due to its popularity and wide coverage, the WCAG has been adopted by a number of countries and is referenced by their web accessibility laws and policies. Some examples of laws/policies that reference the WCAG are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508, EN 301 549, AODA, etc. these laws and policies mandate owners of websites in these regions to build their websites in conformance to different versions and levels of the WCAG.

Now that you know about the web accessibility policing factors, it’s time to find out the 10 best web accessibility tools for 2021.

1) Axe

Axe is an accessibility audit tool developed by Deque systems, a renowned web accessibility solution provider. It is mainly used by enterprises. Its features include Auditor, DevTools, Monitor, and a free Accessibility Browser Extension. 

2) Accessi

Accessi.org is an innovative accessibility checker that is one of a kind. It features an audit tool that gives graphical representations of the components that require fixing in a website. It’s easy to use and it’s free.

3) A11y

This is a free color contrast checking tool powered by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility. It checks to make sure that the color contrast on any website conforms to WCAG 2.0 level AA standards. It does not have a browser extension.

4) Google Chrome Accessibility Developer Tools

An easy-to-use free tool available in Google Chrome’s developer tools. It features 17 audit rules and a pane with debugging information.  

5) Wave

WAVE is an accessibility checker developed by WebAim. It has a number of tools for evaluating the accessibility of digital content. It specifically covers accessibility problems with images, headings, labels, and color contrast. It has a browser extension and an API service. Of course, it can simply be used by entering a URL online.

6) Pa11y

This is an open-source tool. It has multiple great features which are;

  • Pa11y – A command-line tool that is used to audit web pages 
  • Pa11y dashboard – A web dashboard that is targeted at non-developers. This dashboard automatically audits web pages for accessibility issues daily. It has graphs that track improvements and regressions over time.
  • Pa11y webservice – A JSON-based service that is targeted at developers. It is used to build personal dashboard-like front end, or to repurpose data.
  • Pa11y Cl – Another tool for developers. It’s a command-line tool that iterates over a list of web pages and marks accessibility issues.

7) Crownpeak

A web accessibility checking tool that offers a free scan that comes with a complimentary report that outlines issues on a site and how to fix them. It also has a paid enterprise web accessibility solution. In addition, Crownpeak offers consulting and remediation services.

8) IBM

A web accessibility extension for developers that works with IBM’s rule engine to detect accessibility issues. It is able to work with both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Lastly, for complete integration, in a website, IBM also offers plug-ins for NodeJS and Karma. 

9) Chrome Lens

This is an accessibility tool made for visually impaired individuals. It has the following features

  • Filters – to aid an individual who is color blind to experience a website.
  • Scanners – It’s a website audit tool, and
  • Trackers – to help with keyboard navigation.

10) Screen readers

Screen readers are a subset of assistive technology devices that help visually impaired people to experience the content of websites. Examples of great screen readers are JAWS, ORCA, NVDA, and VoiceOver.

Closing Thoughts

Web accessibility is important because it enables people who have different forms of disabilities and limitations to access the web. As a website owner or builder, it’s good to be aware of the tools that you can use to keep your website compliant with the web accessibility laws and policies of your region.

An accessible website is an SEO-friendly website.

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