Monday, 22 October 2018

Testing For Digital Accessibility

'Learned the difference between usability and accessibility testing' is what one of the co-learners shared with us as feedback for the accessibility testing workshop conducted on 23rd September.
This workshop was hosted by Manumantraa and presented by Ajay Balamurugadas and myself. 

In my humble knowledge, the confusion between usability and accessibility can occur if/when the focus is not on testing but on imposing testers to learn about the process and not on 'how to test' at an/y organization. The ecosystem makes you *believe that as a new tester, knowing about software testing fundamentals is not necessary but knowing the process is quite essential. The training program for testers is designed in this way at the organizations that I have worked at. 
*As Sanath puts it 'lie' is at the center of the word 'believe'.

Any belief about software testing needs to be formed by the tester her/himself and it shouldn't be a blindly followed borrowed belief system from others. When we learn from the unlearned it impacts us and the next generation of tester's know-how and this, in turn, gets passed down as software testing knowledge.
So do *participate, discuss, talk and be involved in the learning that is happening around you, in your team and at your place of work. 
*Participate - Take part assertively and effectively to contribute for the greater good.

Testers who are on a learning path of a11y testing can find some of the below collated a11y testing tools useful and for reference only.

For the ease of developing a11y tools for testing and for a deeper understanding a11y testing is broadly categorized into Visual, Cognitive, Speech, Mobility and Hearing impairment. 

Some of the a11y testing tools developed to aid testing for the above categories are collated in a visual representation below:

Few key takeaways for all the co-learners were:
  • Accessibility, testing for accessibility is not for a category of people who are specially-abled but it is for all the users.
  • Real users feedback is of prime importance to build accessible solutions.
  • It is essential to code for a11y using some of the a11y developer tools mentioned above into the software solution being built early on instead of thinking of it as a necessity to save the business from a lawsuit.
There is no alternate solution but having accessibility built into the software is the solution.