WATS.ca Web Accessibility Testing and Services


Testing Tools for Developing Accessible Web Sites

UPDATED: For those developers out there who would like to try and build an accessible site, or would like to just have some neat and useful testing tools, we have collected a few which are provided here as a service. They are provided here as is, and using these items is done so at your own risk. Items included here are freely available. Copyright or other rights are retained by the original creators unless otherwise indicated.


Complex Table Inspector: http://www.juicystudio.com/complextableinspector.asp

Gez Lemon of JuicyStudio has put together this wonderful script that exposes hidden accessibility features for data tables. It allows for easy visual identification of the attributes that have been added to make the table more accessible and explains what they mean.



The aDesigner is a tool that Web authors can use to ensure that the Web pages they create are accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. aDesigner looks at such elements as the degree of color contrast on the page, the ability of users to change the font size, the appropriateness of alternate text for images, and the availability of links in the page to promote navigability. The tool also checks the pages's compliance with accessibility guidelines. The result of this analysis is a report listing the problems that would prevent accessibility and usability by visually impaired users. In addition, each page is given an overall score.

Distributed under an IBM alphaWorks License; requires all users to sign in with IBM IDs and passwords for download.


A-Prompt (Accessibility Prompt) is a software tool designed to improve the usability of HTML documents by evaluating Web pages for accessibility barriers and then providing developers with a fast and easy way to make the necessary repairs. Download the zip file, expand to a local directory, run to install.

A-Prompt_1_0_6_0.zip A-Prompt_1_0_6_0.zip

A Real Validator (30 Day Evaluation)

A Real Validator is an HTML/XHTML syntax checker for Windows. Unlike other "validators" for Windows, A Real Validator uses a sophisticated SGML parser to give true HTML validation. Authors get the same high level of accuracy seen with online validators such as the WDG HTML Validator and the W3C HTML Validation Service. Since A Real Validator works offline, it provides convenience, speed, and flexibility not available with online validators.

Given that WCAG Priority 2 Checkpoint 3.2 states: "Create documents that validate to published formal grammars" this tool should be in every developers toolbox.

Colour Contrast Analyser:

Australia's National Information Library Service - Accessible Information Solutions provides a number of interesting and useful application to assist those accessing and creating web pages. Included in their collection is this slick little tool, which helps developers check foreground and background colour combinations to determine if they provide good colour visibility. Determining "colour visibility" is based on algorithms suggested by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

"Two colours are considered to provide good colour visibility if the brightness difference and the colour difference between the two colours are greater than a set range." The range suggested by the W3C is > 125 for colour brightness and > 500 for colour difference."

Download, unzip and place the CCA folder where you like. Use the application by activating the Colour_Contrast_Analyser.exe file.



No longer commercially available, pwWebSpeak by the Productivity Works was a speech web browser for the Windows platform. Useful as a testing tool, it has been surpassed by most of the current technologies and tools still available in the marketplace.

We provide this software download simply as a community service, with no warranty or support provided. When installing, you will be asked for a password which is "groom".

ws3048.exe ws3048.exe

Shell Scripts and other Tools

[Icon: Firefox web browser]HTML Validator (based on Tidy): http://users.skynet.be/mgueury/mozilla/

HTML Validator is an Mozilla extension that adds HTML validation to Firefox and Mozilla. The number of errors of a HTML page is seen on the form of an icon in the status bar when browsing. The details of the errors are seen when looking the HTML source of the page. Instant feedback, the view source highlights where your problems are, and, using Tidy, allows you to fix them. Excellent!

[Icon: Firefox web browser]Sharkware - JAWS Screen Reader Adaptation for Mozilla Firefox: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/s2s/latest/jaws1/home/index.shtml

At long last, JAWS users can now surf the web with the Firefox browser. An Open Source release from the University of Texas Accessibility Institute, this project has resulted in a JAWS script and a Firefox extension that enable JAWS to function with Mozilla Firefox in a similar manner to how JAWS functions with Internet Explorer.

[Icon: Firefox web browser]Web Developer's Toolbar: http://chrispederick.myacen.com/work/Firefox/webdeveloper/

Another great tool to add to the arsenal. Developed by Chris Pederick, this extension to Mozilla / Firefox provides a comprehensive toolbar for running quick tests on pretty much everything.

[Icon: Firefox web browser]Checky: http://checky.mozdev.org

A wonderful tool to add right-click functionality to Mozilla / Firefox for Windows and Linux; sorry, no Mac version yet...

[Icon: Firefox web browser]PlaceNameHere Toolbar: http://placenamehere.com/pnhtoolbar/

Another Mozilla / Firefox extension created by Chris Casciano that provides a lot of functionality including hotlinks to documentation and validation services.

[Icon: Firefox web browser]FoxyVoice 0.1: http://foxyvoice.kenche.info/

FoxyVoice is a Firefox extension that provides text-to-speech functionality using Microsoft Win32 Speech API (SAPI). With FoxyVoice you can listen to the page being read aloud, although it lacks the functionality of a true Screen Reader or Speech Browser. Still in development.

[Icon: Firefox web browser]Fangs 0.51: http://www.standards-schmandards.com/index.php?2004/11/22/8

Another Mozilla / Firefox extension for the Windows platform. Fangs creates a textual representation of a web page similar to how the page would be read by one of the modern screen readers. (Still in early development, but may prove to be very useful, especially in teaching/seminar environments.)

[Icon: Firefox web browser]Accessibility Extensions for Mozilla http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/mozilla/overview.html

accessibilityext.xpi adds features to Mozilla / Firefox to make it easier for people to view and navigate web content based on the structural markup used to create the web page. It can be used by authors to check their structural markup to make sure it matches the actual content structure of the resource.

[Icon: Internet Explorer web browser]Accessibility Toolbar: www.nils.org.au/ais/web/resources/toolbar

A wonderful Toolbar add-in for Internet Explorer by Steven Faulkner from the National Information and Library Services, Australia. The toolbar was first reviewed by Gez Lemon at JuicyStudio. Looks like it combines and extends/builds on many of the "right-click" and other widgets listed here...

[Icon: Internet Explorer web browser]Web Design Group's WiDGets: www.htmlhelp.com/tools/widgets/

We like their on-line validator over the W3C simply for it's output. Even better though is a series of small shell script tools they refer to as WiDGets. These little apps add right click functionality to IE 4 and up browsers, whereby you can strip a document of a) it's images, b) it's style sheet, c) automatically send the page contents to the WDG on-line validator. As an added bonus, the HomeSite editor uses the IE rendering agent in it's preview mode, which allows you to extend this right click functionality into the authoring environment.

Installation Instructions:
To install a WiDGet, unzip the downloaded file into a temporary directory. From Windows Explorer, right-click on the unzipped file with the extension inf and select Install. Restart Internet Explorer if it is already running.

[Icon: Internet Explorer web browser]More RightClicks:

Expanding on the work done by the WDG, here are some more right-click functions for the IE browser. Each should be fairly self explanatory, and all are useful in web development.

Installation Instructions:
To install a RightClick, unzip the downloaded file into a temporary directory. From Windows Explorer, right-click on the unzipped file with the extension inf and select Install. Restart Internet Explorer if it is already running.

[Icon: Internet Explorer web browser]Microsoft Web Accessories for Internet Explorer 5:

More right-click functionality for IE. While they claim it does not work in IE 6, some of the features in fact do. We like and use the following: "Open Frame in New Window", "Links List", "Image List". Again, integrates into HomeSite's preview pane as well. Download the executable to a local directory, run and restart IE.

ie5wa.exe ie5wa.exe

[Icon: Internet Explorer web browser]Microsoft Web Developer Accessories:

The DOM tree tool lets you view all the Document Object Model properties in tree form via right click or the tools menu. There is also the ability to "spot check" source code by highlighting the code in the browser, right click and view partial source code. Once again, download the executable to a local directory, run and restart IE.

webdevaccess.exe webdevaccess.exe

Last Updated: December, 2004

Is your web site Accessible? Does it meet current Accessibility requirements? We can integrate seamlessly with your team to provide mentoring, hands on development expertise or accessibility assessments to help ensure that your sites are accessible and in compliance with accessiblity requirements.

Contact us today for more information on our services for government and corporate clients.