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I want to do some accessibility user testing, but don't have the built product yet. Much like usability testing i want to test as early as possible and as frequently as possible.

Will a prototype, if high fidelity, work for accessibility testing in a lab with users?

I am kinda assuming that it will work for a lot of things but not others.

I'll likely be building it in Axure or Proto.io (please feel free to suggest another tool if better for testing for accessibility) so am assuming that i won't be able to test for the use of screen readers and keyboard driven navigation with these prototyping tools.

What are peoples experiences advice?

  • "am assuming that i won't be able to test for the use of screen readers and keyboard driven navigation with these prototyping tools". I'm curious what type of a11y testing you want to perform if you remove those two big areas. I only have minimal experience with axure and the wireframes I looked at didn't have any semantic info (no headers and no true links or buttons, just click handlers) so it was pretty useless for a11y testing. If you can add that semantic info to axure, then it might be useful. Real html5 prototypes would be ok to test too. – slugolicious Mar 23 '18 at 12:13
  • Cognitive, learning, and neurological – H Carlisle Mar 24 '18 at 18:15
  • Cognitive, learning, and neurological. Visual impairment that doesn’t require a screen reader. Colour blindness and some physical disabilities that require something like a gear stick. Obviously we can’t test for keyboard navigation or screen readers but we will do that once something is built, section by section. I want to get some of these t done now, with a prototype as the client is a little shy about doing the testing so if I can do some, now, early in the project I hope to then get the buy in to do more later down the road. It’s a genital genital approach so as not to scare them off. – H Carlisle Mar 24 '18 at 18:24
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Accessibility is about what hits the final browser, so full testing isn't possible until the application/site is finished.

That said, certain things can be checked for ahead of that:

1) Colour contrast (text on background colour, text over images)

2) Heading levels

3) Language (ease of reading, etc)

4) Link text out of context (show the user a list of all the links on the page in alphabetical order and ask how they'd get somewhere)

5) Video transcripts/captions

6) Size of clickable areas

etc.

It's never going to beat a full audit from a web accessibility professional, but if you have finished content and the designs you'd be surprised just how much can still be tested with the right approach and tools.

In the lab scenario, language, links in and out of context, readability through colour, colour as only indication of something ("Click the blue box"), etc., are all things a user can suggest. I'd still recommend getting someone with an understanding of web accessibility to look over the designs before that to see if there's anything they spot that isn't WCAG compliant, but a user will still be very good at finding some of those things.

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It can work till a certain point. I used Adobe Xd Click-Prototypes before for our web applications, i try to make them as high fidelity as possible by adding a lot of options for the users and try to mimic every step the user would usually take.

I confront the user with a set task, for example: "A customer is calling you and wants to know about his current payment status".

Then i watch/record how the user is using the click-protoytpe and try to find stuff that can be improved.

Of course this will only work till a certain point, since inputs cant be done by the user and a lot of stuff like loading times etc. aren't there it will never be a 100% solution, but it is enough to find flaws and improve enough so the first development result will be far better then without that testing.

  • Thanks for your feedback. With this A11Y testing approach did you only recruit participants with certain disabilities and usage of assistive technologies? – H Carlisle Mar 23 '18 at 10:24

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