3 things to consider when commissioning an accessibility audit of your website
There are a lot of agencies and individuals who offer website accessibility audits. It can be confusing to know which one to choose, especially as you may not understand a lot of the terminology that is used. Here are 3 simple questions you should ask that will give you some helpful insights.
1) Do you use disabled people when auditing a website?
That is the first and most obvious one. How can you state whether a website is accessible for disabled people or not unless you have also had it audited by disabled people? A common response you may get back is something like "we do the manual checking ourselves". The problem is that you can only "simulate" being disabled to a certain extent. You may work in accessible website design but if you do not get real feedback from real, disabled people, how can you really know?
If disabled people are used in the audits that is fantastic, of course! That is how it should be. This leads onto the next question.
2) Do you provide documented videos of the audits carried out by disabled people?
Again the obvious answer is yes, after all, why wouldn't you? By all means generate a long report going into the code, line by line, but the impact of actually watching a blind person using a screen reader, unable to carry out a basic function on a website, is far greater and ensures it gets resolved far more quickly. This could be, for example, answering a simple maths captcha question at the end of a long form. If the sum is 13+17 but all the screen reader reads out is "capture graphic", you are never going to be able to solve it.
My fab auditing team all share their screens with me, so that I can record the experience but I only ever capture the screen itself and their voices. If the agency you speak to will not provide you with video evidence, perhaps you should ask why not?
3) Does your company have a good track record in actually creating accessible websites?
Why is this important? Well, accessible web design is a complex area in practice. If you create accessible websites yourself, you know full well what the challenges are! It is through the challenges that come solutions that would not have been thought of before. When you understand these challenges through experience, you know what to look for in a website in a way that goes beyond the basic level that seems to be prevalent in some audits.
How do I know this? Well, I have seen it. I have seen websites that have an accessibility statement that presents the website with a clean bill of health whilst I discover within a few seconds that the website is anything but that.
When you receive your proposals for an accessibility audit for your website, look at them and ask yourself these 3 questions. If the answers are a resounding YES, you can be more confident in your choice!
Would you like to find out more about this?
If you are interested in a free initial review of the accessibility of your website, why not book yourself a consultation? Please follow this link to do so:
Access by Design
Outstanding Website Accessibility Audits