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Evaluate your Website

First examine the types of content in your site. The following questions can be applied to any content type.


If yes to any of these questions, see Guidelines 1.1 to 1.4 below.


  • Are you expecting that someone will only use a mouse to access your site. What about the keyboard)?
  • Do you have any 'functional' content, such as navigation, forms, tables, buttons, tabs?
  • Do you have any content that has a time limit set on any interaction, any moving, scrolling or blinking content?
  • Do you have any flashing or strobing content?
  • Do you have headings, link text, and document and page titles?
  • Do you have any 'click here' links?
  • Is the user presented with repeated blocks of content?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, see Guidelines 2.1 to 2.4 below.


  • Is your page is in English or any other particular human language?
  • Are any unusual words or expressions in your page?
  • If these things were explained, could a student in grade 10 understand your content?
  • Do you have multiple forms?
  • Do you have consistent navigation (this is something that the new CMS provides, but it may not be the case for some systems)?
  • Could someone operate your site without making mistakes?
  • Is the user prevented from making mistakes and helped to recover from them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, see Guidelines 3.1 to 3.3 below.


  • Is it a while since you made your PDF or other non-HTML documents?
  • Are you using content from web pages made a while ago?

If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, see Guideline 4.1 below.

To determine how all of these questions might affect each other, refer to parts 2 to 7 below.

Guideline 1.1: Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content

1.1.1 Non-text Content (Level A)

  • Do all images, form image buttons, and image map hot spots have appropriate, equivalents?
  • Are equivalent alternatives to complex images are provided in context or on a separate (linked and/or referenced via longdesc) page?
  • Do form buttons have a descriptive value?
  • Do form inputs have associated text labels or, if labels cannot be used, a descriptive title attribute?
  • Is embedded multimedia identified via accessible text?
  • Are frames are appropriately titled?

Guideline 1.2: Time-based Media: Provide alternatives for time-based media

NOTE: If the audio or video is designated as an alternative to web content (e.g., an audio or sign language version of a web page, for example), then the web content itself serves as the alternative.

1.2.1 Prerecorded Audio-only and Video-only (Level A)

  • Is a descriptive text transcript (including all relevant visual and auditory clues and indicators) provided for non-live, web-based audio (audio podcasts, MP3 files, etc.)?
  • Is a text or audio description is provided for non-live, web-based video-only (e.g., video that has no audio track)?

1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) (Level A)

  • Are synchronized captions are provided for non-live, web-based video (YouTube videos, etc.)?

1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded) (Level A)

Guideline 1.3: Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure

1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A)

  • Is Semantic markup is used to designate headings (<h1>), lists (<ul>, <ol>, and <dl>), emphasised or special text (<strong>, <code>, <abbr>, <blockquote>, for example), etc? Make sure semantic markup is used appropriately.
  • Are tables are used for tabular data only, not layout? Where necessary, data cells are associated with their headers. Data table captions and summaries are used where appropriate.
  • Are text labels are associated with form input elements? Related form elements are grouped with fieldset/legend.

1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence (Level A)

1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics (Level A)

  • Make sure instructions do not rely upon shape, size, or visual location (e.g., "Click the square icon to continue" or "Instructions are in the right-hand column").
  • Make sure instructions do not rely upon sound (e.g. "A beeping sound indicates you may continue.").

Guideline 1.4: Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background

1.4.1 Use of Color (Level A)

  • Is colour is not used as the sole method of conveying content or distinguishing visual elements?
  • Is colour alone is not used to distinguish links from surrounding text unless the luminance contrast between the link and the surrounding text is at least 3:1 and an additional differentiation (e.g., it becomes underlined) is provided when the link is hovered over or receives focus?

1.4.2 Audio Control (Level A)

  • Is a mechanism is provided to stop, pause, mute, or adjust volume for audio that automatically plays on a page for more than 3 seconds?

Guideline 2.1: Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard

2.1.1 Keyboard (Level A)

  • Is all page functionality available using the keyboard, unless the functionality cannot be accomplished in any known way using a keyboard (e.g., free hand drawing)?
  • Page-specified shortcut keys and accesskeys (accesskey should typically be avoided) do not conflict with existing browser and screen reader shortcuts.

2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap (Level A)

  • Make sure keyboard focus is never locked or trapped at one particular page element. The user can navigate to and from all navigable page elements using only a keyboard.

Guideline 2.2: Enough Time: Provide users enough time to read and use content

2.2.1 Timing Adjustable (Level A)

  • If a page or application has a time limit, the user is given options to turn off, adjust, or extend that time limit. This is not a requirement for real-time events (e.g., an auction), where the time limit is absolutely required, or if the time limit is longer than 20 hours.

2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide (Level A)

  • Automatically moving, blinking, or scrolling content that lasts longer than 3 seconds can be paused, stopped, or hidden by the user. Moving, blinking, or scrolling can be used to draw attention to or highlight content as long as it lasts less than 3 seconds.
  • Automatically updating content (e.g., automatically redirecting or refreshing a page, a news ticker, AJAX updated field, a notification alert, etc.) can be paused, stopped, or hidden by the user or the user can manually control the timing of the updates.

Guideline 2.3: Seizures: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures

2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold (Level A)

Guideline 2.4: Navigable: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are

2.4.1 Bypass Blocks (Level A)

  • A link is provided to skip navigation and other page elements that are repeated across web pages.
  • If a page has a proper heading structure, this may be considered a sufficient technique instead of a "Skip to main content" link. Note that navigating by headings is not yet supported in all browsers.
  • If a page uses frames and the frames are appropriately titled, this is a sufficient technique for bypassing individual frames.

2.4.2 Page Titled (Level A)

  • The web page has a descriptive and informative page title.

2.4.3 Focus Order (Level A)

  • The navigation order of links, form elements, etc. is logical and intuitive.

2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context) (Level A)

  • The purpose of each link (or form image button or image map hotspot) can be determined from the link text alone, or from the link text and it's context (e.g., surrounding paragraph, list item, table cell, or table headers).
  • Links (or form image buttons) with the same text that go to different locations are readily distinguishable.

Guideline 3.1: Readable: Make text content readable and understandable

3.1.1 Language of Page (Level A)

  • The language of the page is identified using the HTML lang attribute (<html lang="en">, for example).

Guideline 3.2: Predictable: Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways

3.2.1 On Focus (Level A)

  • When a page element receives focus, it does not result in a substantial change to the page, the spawning of a pop-up window, an additional change of keyboard focus, or any other change that could confuse or disorient the user.

3.2.2 On Input (Level A)

  • When a user inputs information or interacts with a control, it does not result in a substantial change to the page, the spawning of a pop-up window, an additional change of keyboard focus, or any other change that could confuse or disorient the user unless the user is informed of the change ahead of time.

Guideline 3.3: Input Assistance: Help users avoid and correct mistakes

3.3.1 Error Identification (Level A)

  • Required form elements or form elements that require a specific format, value, or length provide this information within the element's label (or if a label is not provided, within the element's title attribute).
  • If utilized, form validation cues and errors (client-side or server-side) alert users to errors in an efficient, intuitive, and accessible manner. The error is clearly identified, quick access to the problematic element is provided, and user is allowed to easily fix the error and resubmit the form.

3.3.2 Labels or Instructions (Level A)

  • Sufficient labels, cues, and instructions for required interactive elements are provided via instructions, examples, properly positioned form labels, and/or fieldsets/legends.

Guideline 4.1: Compatible: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies

4.1.1 Parsing (Level A)

4.1.2 Name, Role, Value (Level A)

  • Markup is used in a way that facilitates accessibility. This includes following the HTML/XHTML specifications and using forms, form labels, frame titles, etc. appropriately.

Why test download speeds?

Some people still use dial-up (only 5% as of July 2011). But the main reason is search engines are starting to rank sites based on their speed, so it doesn't pay to make bloated pages if you want your information to be found!


Basic content pages should render in 8 - 15 seconds for your users, homepages with more functionality should take no more than 60 seconds. The total size of your page will depend on how the intended audience is accessing your page. Use the Web Speed Analyser.

Why turn off images?

The page should still make sense for people using screen readers which read out alt text. People may be browsing with images turned off, because they have a slow internet connection, either because they are still on dial-up or because they have reached their quota and their connection speed has been throttled by their provider until they pay for more.


Check that all navigation, functions and key content are still readable and usable. Does the site still make sense?

Why try cross-browser, cross-platform testing?

You cannot control what your people use to access your site, so you should aim for consistency of information, not appearance.


Although the page may look different, is all information present and clear?

Suitable voice browsers

Why use a voice browser?

To test if your page makes sense if you had to listen to it instead of reading it.


Is equivalent information available through the voice or text browser as is available through a browser and is the information presented in a similar logical order as when viewed through a browser? Does it still make sense?

Why use at least 2 evaluation tools?

All evaluation tools put slightly different emphasis on the results, so it is possible to overlook certain aspects, particularly those that require user judgement to rectify. See Top Accessibility Testing Tools for more information. Any of the following validators are suitable.


Rectify all W3C Priorities, definitely all WCAG 2.0 Level A and any that you can of AA.


Examine PDF files and run Accessibility reports in Adobe Acrobat Professional, evaluate all non-html files against relevant criteria in part 1 of this evaluation.

For assistance with accessibility, please contact Web Services.