The digital accessibility obligation: assessing and testing website accessibility

    4 Minutes Read

    With more and more people relying on the Internet to access information and services that facilitate many aspects of daily life, it is essential to ensure that websites are accessible to all, including people with disabilities, a population that represents 15% of the world's population.

    In this article, we'll explore what the digital accessibility obligation means, and how to assess a website's accessibility to ensure it benefits as many people as possible.



    Understanding the digital accessibility obligation

    The obligation of digital accessibility refers to all regulations and laws aimed at ensuring that websites are designed to be usable by all.

    In France, this obligation is covered by the February 11, 2005 law on equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship for people with disabilities. A decree dated July 24, 2019 specifies the legal obligations arising from this law.

    As its name suggests, this law requires that the websites of public bodies and private entities offering services to the public respect a certain level of accessibility.


    What does "accessibility" actually mean?

    Web accessibility is measured in terms of the four principles defined by the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ), with the aim of ensuring that online information and services are accessible to people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disabilities.

    1. Perceptibility: Information that users can understand with at least one of their senses.

    2. Operability: The ability of all users to interact with application components or navigation.

    3. Comprehensibility: The ease with which disabled users can understand the information conveyed and the application interface.

    4. Robustness: The degree to which the content presented can be correctly interpreted using various technologies or user devices.


    The less obvious benefits of website accessibility

    In addition to complying with government legislation, an accessible website offers several advantages from a business point of view.

    Expand your potential customer base

    Website accessibility helps to improve the user experience for everyone, making it a beneficial approach for all your users.

    This translates into even clearer, more organized and readable information for users and search engines alike, improving your brand image in the eyes of :

    • Seniors
    • Children
    • Left-handed users
    • Non-native speakers

    What's more, accessibility means your users can easily consult your website, whatever the quality of their Internet connection or means of access.

    Improvement in SEO

    Rich content on an accessible website makes it easier for search engines to understand the content, recommending it to relevant users.

    Better SEO means more traffic to your website and more potential customers!

    What's more, simpler, more intuitive navigation significantly reduces bounce rates, an important metric for both search engines and conversions.

    A better quality code base

    In addition to reducing the number of bugs, a higher quality code base offers a better user experience (UX) and faster loading on any device.

    More environmentally friendly

    Accessible websites also mean greater energy efficiency, with less useless content, thus contributing to the energy sobriety highlighted by a report from the French National Digital Council (CNNum).

    Better brand image

    An accessible website gives the impression that your company has the ability to put itself in the customer's shoes, beyond what is taken for granted in your particular sector.

    Website accessibility shows that you also consider basic human needs first and foremost.



    Website accessibility - How to assess it? 

    Evaluating the accessibility of a website is a crucial step in ensuring compliance with digital accessibility laws and regulations.

    1. Perform accessibility tests - automated and manual

    Accessibility testing enables you to easily identify accessibility problems on your website or application, so that you can proactively correct them.

    However, it's almost impossible to detect all potential accessibility problems by manually scanning the entire site, as many accessibility issues are linked to back-end development practices.

    As a result, automated no-code testing tools are often used by organizations to identify website accessibility problems.

    Automated accessibility tests are particularly useful for detecting elements such as empty links, the presence of alternative text, basic color contrast, and the presence of form labels, for example.

    On the other hand, manual accessibility tests are necessary to evaluate :

    • Legibility of your content in assistive situations requiring the use of screen readers.

    • Keyboard navigation without a mouse. A compliant website must not only be compatible with various assistive technologies, but also navigable solely by keyboard.

    2. Carry out regular accessibility audits

    Accessibility evolves with new Web accessibility requirements and the technologies that create them.

    Regular Web accessibility testing enables your QA team to keep abreast of accessibility issues at all times, which is more difficult to achieve with quarterly or annual testing, for example.


    Mr Suricate | Simplify accessibility testing with no-code automation

    The obligation of digital accessibility is a reality with which all website owners must comply. However, it goes beyond mere legal compliance. It's a commitment to a more inclusive Internet, accessible to all.

    The early and regular integration of automated accessibility testing into development ensures that quality and accessibility are proactively managed at all stages of the software development lifecycle.

    A no-code test automation platform such as Mr Suricate makes it easy to integrate accessibility testing into your quality control strategy, considerably reducing lead times.


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