If you’re a business and test your UX exclusively with neurotypical and able-bodied focus groups, you’re doing it wrong! We need to take on the responsibility of making life as easy as possible for our clients and users when they engage with the business.

Consider a talented software developer. Let’s call her Sarah. She has innovative ideas and she’s extremely dedicated to her job. She also happens to be visually challenged. In the first years of her career, she couldn’t even access the tools used internally in her company!

As she advocated for accessibility improvements within the organization, the business realized that these changes would benefit her and all their differently abled employees. What’s more, it would also improve the user experience for the entire user base. The organization began to invest in accessibility testing and design. They hired experts to ensure their products complied with accessibility standards like WCAG. Increasingly, the business gained a strong reputation for prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility.

Accessibility is key to usability. For that reason, it’s important for all enterprises to invest in early, rigorous accessibility testing. Meeting accessibility standards is key to regulatory compliance in many (if not most) jurisdictions. It also helps businesses engage with a whole new audience, and fosters a positive brand image around inclusivity and social responsibility.

Why do you need universal accessibility?

It makes a huge positive impact on business reputation.

In today’s digital world, accessibility isn’t just a legal requirement; it’s a strategic move to protect your enterprise reputation. Universal accessibility boosts employee inclusivity, productivity and morale, and also increases outreach and market share. It includes the design and provision of products, services, and spaces that can be used by people of all abilities.

Universal accessibility improves your business reputation as it fulfills your ethical obligations and shows how inclusive and socially responsible your business is. That’s especially important in a world where diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) are increasingly a central part of strategic business decisions. Accessibility helps build customer loyalty and establish a competitive advantage globally based on innovation and adaptability.

When it comes to tech, universal accessibility (as the name suggests) applies to internal tools as well as customer-facing applications.

Accessibility and accessibility testing

How do you ensure that your apps are accessible? Prioritize application accessibility testing. This plays a key role in identifying barriers to usage by users with different kinds and levels of disabilities. Accessibility testing scrutinizes elements like screen readers, keyboard navigation, color contrast and more to ensure that they are in place and working well to deliver a more inclusive digital experience.

Meticulous testing ensures that your tech can be used by a much larger, more diverse and more inclusive user base. It reduces user frustration and improves user satisfaction. Accessibility testing is also associated with more comprehensive recording, which is essential to comply with various regulations and ethical standards.

The importance of early accessibility testing

Early accessibility testing is more cost-effective as it ensures identification and remediation of accessibility issues early in the development process. This is more comprehensive, more rigorous, and also saves resources in the long run.

Early, rigorous accessibility testing improves usability and code quality. Another benefit of accessibility testing is that it improves search engine optimization (SEO) as well. Search engines prioritize websites that have passed through a rigorous accessibility testing process. Such websites also tend to have clearer navigation, readable content, and optimized media, all of which contribute to positive SEO signals.

What is accessibility testing, and how does it work?

In essence, accessibility testing is a form of user experience testing, focused on the experience of those with different abilities and needs. Is it then really necessary to consider and plan accessibility testing as separate from usability testing? If your developers are all, or mostly, able-bodied and non-developmentally challenged, it’s usually safer.

It’s easy for such teams to forget that differently abled users have special needs when it comes to application UI/UX. They undertake performance and functional testing on the tech to take care of the technical challenges and ‘obvious’ UI/UX issues. However, there’s Da whole world of differently abled users out there, who need to be supported by your team.

For that reason, it’s important to ensure that you plan for accessibility testing as part of your quality assurance processes. This gives you a clear checklist with measurable KPIs, KRAs, priorities and expected outcomes. This way, you create a plan with clear priorities that helps you create a user experience that includes and supports everyone.

Different elements require different kinds of testing and different automated testing tools.

The different accessibility requirements

So what does accessibility entail? Different kinds of users have different needs. Let’s look at a few examples:

Different users have different abilities; different abilities have different application accessibility requirements; and these have different requirements when it comes to accessibility testing as well. With strong accessibility testing, each group referenced in the table above enjoys a more positive user experience, resulting in better results for the business.

With strong accessibility testing, your business can save money, improve market reach and of course do the ethically right thing. You reach a much wider audience, and gain a positive reputation. Ask our experts at Ziffity for more information on accessibility and accessibility testing.