"How do I test my website for accessibility?" And right after you type in this question you discover that there are dozens of free website accessibility testing tools to choose from. So: why use Siteimprove?
In this post, I'll answer your key questions about Siteimprove:
- What does Siteimprove do?
- Why use precisely this accessibility evaluation tool?
- How to use the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker?
- Siteimprove vs Axe: what are the key differences?
- Monsido vs Siteimprove: which is the best web accessibility testing tool for you?
- Drupal 8 Siteimprove: what does it do?
So, let's dive in:
1. How Does the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker Work?
"The Siteimprove Browser Extension is a Chrome/Firefox plugin that allows you to see page specific DCI scores and if a CMS deep link is set-up, it also allows you to fix content to improve the scores directly in your CMS during your browser session." (source: Siteimprove.com)
Once added to your browser toolbar, you can use Siteimprove to identify accessibility issues on specific web pages. At any given time.
It provides you with:
- explanations on how they impact the user experience
- clear recommendations on how to address them
Free, handy, effective. These are the best 3 words to describe the Siteimprove extension.
Note: since all evaluation is performed in your browser, Siteimprove guarantees you a secure scanning of your non-public pages, multi-step forms, password-protected pages and pages with dynamic content.
2. Why Use Siteimprove over Other Website Accessibility Testing Tools?
What powerful features make it stand out from the crowd of automated accessibility testing tools that you could use?
I've selected the 8 most valuable ones:
2.1. Monitors all broken links and spelling mistakes on your web page
Maybe you consider these issues to be mere... negligences to be put at the end of your priority list.
But just imagine how much these "details" could affect a visually impaired user.
This is where the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker comes in. It keeps your website under "surveillance". Ready to spot and to highlight any broken link, any little spelling mistakes that it detects. Or any other quality issues that it identifies.
2.2. Generates an accessibility report for you to analyze
From ALT missing attributes to accessibility issues spotted in your tables and forms, the Siteimprove report lists all the problem areas to focus on.
A handy overview that you can use to define all future tasks that need to be carried out in order to improve your website's accessibility.
2.3. Pinpoints accessibility issues
It'll highlight them all right on-page and in-code.
In other words, you don't need to do a research on all the latest accessibility guidelines first.
The Siteimprove extension for browsers will outline all the key issues that you'll need to focus on to get started.
2.4. Integrates seamlessly with your CMS
Whether it's Drupal or WordPress that you're using, Siteimprove enables you to fix the signaled issues on the spot. Right there, in your CMS, while you're browsing around your website.
2.5. Allows you to automate the accessibility checks
And by automating the bulk of your testing process, you get to streamline all the tasks that it covers, such as:
- testing various color combinations
- evaluating your PDF pages' accessibility
- testing your form fields
2.6. Provides specific recommendations
Why use Siteimprove?
Because it doesn't stop at pointing out the accessibility issues on your website: it also gives you clear explanations on how to address them.
2.7. Enables you to monitor your progress in improving your website's accessibility
- industry benchmarks
- historical graphs
- automated reports
- customizable dashboards
All these Siteimprove features enable you to measure the progress that your team makes for turning your website WCAG 2.1 compliant.
2.8. Allows you to set up a hierarchy for the accessibility issues identified
In short, the Siteimprove web accessibility checker enables you to categorize and to prioritize tasks by:
- conformance level
And to assign them by job role (webmaster, editor, developer...) or responsibilities.
3. How to Use Siteimprove Accessibility Checker?
Say you want to try the Siteimprove Google Chrome Extension. Here's how you use it:
- install the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker Chrome extension from the Chrome Webshop from your Chrome browser
- add the extension to your browser: "Add to Chrome"
- look for the newly added icon in your browser window
- enter your target web page's URL in your browser
- click the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker icon and let it perform its audit
- take a look at the results displayed on the right side of the page
Note: Siteimprove Accessibility Checker uses the same checking engine as the Siteimprove Accessibility platform.
4. Siteimprove vs Axe Accessibility Tool
Why use Siteimprove over Axe? How are they different anyway?
Let's compare these 2 popular accessibility testing tools:
4.1. Axe browser extension
It generates detailed results, but you might find its slideshow-style controls a bit challenging
4.2. Siteimprove Accessibility Checker
- it stands out as an accessibility testing tool that allows you to filter tasks by "responsibility" (or job role)
- also, it displays the issues that it detects following the same structure of the WCAG guidelines
- it presents color-codes issues by conformance level (A, AA, AAA)
- it points out to the specific WCAG criteria that those issues relate to
5. Monsido vs Siteimprove Accessibility Checker
And why would you choose Siteimprove over Monsido?
Here's what sets them apart:
- Monsido provides comprehensive crawls weekly, whereas with Siteimprove you get automated crawls every 5 days
- Monsido could discourage you with its less-friendly UI, whereas Siteimprove has a more intuitive dashboard
6. The Drupal 8 Siteimprove Module: What Does It Do?
"The seamless integration between Siteimprove and Drupal streamlines workflow efficiencies for your web team. With the module, your team can fix errors and optimize content directly within the editing environment." (source: Siteimprove.com)
In short, the module (or "Siteimprove plugin", if you wish):
- scans your website for accessibility issues (broken links and misspellings, A, AA, AAA conformance level accessibility issues, readability levels, etc.)
- that you can then turn into manageable tasks and assign to your team members
- who can tackle them right in the editing environment that they're using
Tip: you can even use the Drupal 8 Siteimprove module to see what would be the impact if you unpublished a "problem" page before you apply this measure.
Have I managed to answer your "Why use Siteimprove?" question?
Are you already using it as your website accessibility checker? If not, what other tool are you using and why have you chosen precisely that one?
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