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How to Test Website Accessibility

Accessibility is essential for any business website. Several valuable site accessibility tools can help determine whether your website is accessible to people with disabilities.

Further, programs exist to help blind individuals and differently-abled people access information online, but those tools may not work correctly when a website isn’t optimized for accessibility.

One of the questions businesses must ask is: how can I test my website for accessibility? Whether you’re a small business that has just a handful of pages or an enterprise-class website with thousands of pages, it’s challenging to test accessibility without a program that looks at every tiny detail within the website’s code.

Fortunately, tools to check site accessibility are common and helpful. It’s just a matter of taking a look at the features of each of these tools and deciding which one might work best for your company’s design team. Further, using these types of tools and creating a site that anyone can access helps companies not run afoul of legislation designed to ensure websites are accessible.

For example, the United States Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains a section requiring all public areas to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Failing to follow rules like Title III of the ADA opens up the business to lawsuits and legal troubles, even if the website is owned by a private entity and isn’t a government-funded website fully bound by the rules of the ADA.

Let’s explore the tools your company can use to ensure legal compliance and give every individual of every ability the chance to access your website. Exploring these apps and programs can help you create a website accessibility testing checklist that your website designers can employ each time they create a new page or make a website for your company.

What are website accessibility tools?

Web accessibility tools are programs or applications (apps) that scan a website to determine whether it is accessible to visitors with disabilities. These tools usually work at any time, from website development to publishing. These programs measure whether a site is WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliant. WCAG guidelines explain how to make content accessible to people with disabilities.

For example, the program or app will check whether the website is fully functional without a mouse, as well as whether all images have “alt” text that allows screen readers used by blind people to understand what’s on each web page.

Assistive technologies help individuals with disabilities browse the internet as any user might. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 adults living in the United States lives with a disability. Achieving full accessibility means ensuring the largest number of potential clients, customers, and contacts can access a website.

Graphic with illustrated group of people and headline saying "1 in 4 adults living in the United States has a disability, source: US CDC"

8 accessibility website testing tools

Below, we’ll go over a few web accessibility tools you can use to test your site.

Website Accessibility Versatile Evaluator (WAVE)

WAVE is an app suite that helps web designers, creators, and authors ensure their content is accessible. The suite is usable by companies of all sizes, and the company also has an enterprise-level reporting and tracking tool called the Pop Tech accessibility tool. WAVE plans to eventually offer a full, public API that will allow programmers to access all key features.

Users can employ Firefox or Chrome extensions to use the program and easily check individual pages. WAVE embeds feedback directly into website content with details about potential errors.

The WAVE tool costs $500 for a single scan of up to 20,000 web pages. The company charges another $100 for every additional set of 20,000 pages. They give custom prices for websites of more than 100,000 pages.

DYNO Mapper

The DYNO Mapper program helps companies test content, the sitemap, and accessibility. Users can utilize one or all of the company’s programs. DYNO Mapper offers plans ranging from $49 to $360 per month. As the price increases, so do the options and features. DYNO Mapper is a highly functional program with helpful automated testing features, but support options are thin for those who need assistance using the suite of services. DYNO Mapper includes site auditing, content inventory, and daily keyword tracking.


aXe is a developer-focused tool that can perform a web accessibility test, which is helpful during the development phase of a website. The tool is compatible with Firefox and Chrome. aXe is designed for developers who can use the tool while coding. It's also easy to use for developers, but it’s not as useful for individuals who aren’t directly involved in the coding of the website.

This accessibility tool costs $40 per month. aXe can create a list of errors found on your website, filter for different issue types, and provide an overall count of accessibility violations found within the HTML code.


JAWS is a screen reader for visually impaired users that website programmers can also use to test site accessibility while it's still in development. However, it’s one of the most expensive accessibility tools at $1,000. There’s also a learning curve to JAWS, and it requires some practice to use. Notable features include a screen reader, multi-lingual synthesizers, and compatibility with programs outside of Chrome, including Microsoft Edge and other applications.

AChecker - Accessibility Checker

AChecker is a web accessibility checker developed by the University of Toronto and its Inclusive Design Research Center. This is a free tool for single pages but costs $99 to $249 CAD a month for full website checking. AChecker is an open-source program that's easy to use for single pages.


tota11y is an informative, all-in-one accessibility tool that's installed in the user’s browser. Most features are free, but the fully automated option requires a small donation. Once you learn how to use it, it provides a wealth of information about the accessibility errors on the website. Features include color contrast, alt-text, landmarks, auditing, and support for WCAG 2.1 compliance.

Accessibility Checker by Intent Based

A web-based audit tool that will scan websites for accessibility problems based on the rules for different countries around the world and current WCAG standards. This tool is free to use and is usable by anyone as long as they have the website URL. All individuals must do is enter the URL into the web-based checker. Features include detailed explanations for every error the checker finds and a list of options for solving accessibility issues.

Google Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a tool for improving the performance and quality of web apps. It’s a technical website auditor, and users can analyze accessibility. It’s free to use and has an open-source utility within DevTools. It's helpful for basic website audits without complex technical jargon or details. Features include automated site performance reports, search engine optimization, and accessibility reports.

Selecting a web accessibility testing tool

Choosing an accessibility testing tool requires examining who might use the tool at the company and in what circumstances. Will the website developer use the accessibility checker while creating the website, or will an employee test the website after it’s already been published?

Graphic with illustrated clipboard and the headline "What to consider when selecting a website accessibility tool"

Additional considerations include price, the range of features, how easy the program is to use, and whether there are any significant installation requirements. Although almost a dozen well-known tools are available to companies today, the best results come from human evaluations. It’s important to note that these programs don't guarantee that a website will achieve 100% accessibility compliance.

Why website accessibility matters

There are many reasons why making your website accessible important, including:

  • It's legally required
  • Improves SEO
  • Expands your audience
  • Boosts website performance
  • Makes customers feel valued
Graphic with illustrated hand holding a question mark and the headline "Why website accessibility matters"

Making a website accessible also offers the bonus of better search engine optimization (SEO), which boosts website performance with all search engines. The goal of SEO is to increase a website’s reach and connect with customers, and a fully accessible website can help with that objective. Further, accessible websites help ensure all visitors feel valued, which is important for public relations and may also reduce the chance of any legal issues down the line.

Wrapping up: Ensuring the accessibility of your website

Accessibility evaluation tools are incredibly varied in their ease of use, cost, and features, but they’re part of what helps a company create a rewarding website experience for visitors.

If you want to create a website that's accessible, Mailchimp can help you get started. Our website builder is easy to use and provides you with the tools necessary to make a website that will accommodate all users. We also have several other tools that enable you to successfully manage your audience and create accessible marketing emails.

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