Part 6: Accessibility Audits
An audit may be a first step toward addressing the accessibility of a platform that you manage. Accessibility audits use a combination of automated and manual testing to evaluate the accessibility of a particular digital environment. Your accessibility audit might focus on a platform, such as your DSpace instance, or it might review accessibility of the materials published on a particular platform, such as the OER circulated by Pressbooks.
When formulating your accessibility audit, you may want to consider the following questions:
- Goals: What are your accessibility goals for the platform or materials in question? How will you know you’ve reached them?
- Project Scope: Will you focus on the accessibility of a particular platform or the accessibility of the materials archived on the platform? Or both? Will you focus on the front-end or back-end platform experience? Or both?
- Evaluation Criteria: What standards will you use to measure success?
- Tools: What tools will you use in your audit? Note that a mixture of automated and manual checks is always best for uncovering concerns. What web browsers, software, and assistive technologies will you include in your audit?
- Personnel and Support: Who will help you accomplish this work? What training will these individuals need?
- User Testing: Will you employ user testing as part of your audit? If so, what user groups do you need to include? What are some of the key actions that users should be able to accomplish using the platform that you’re auditing?
- Testing Logistics and Considerations: If you are doing user testing, what software/hardware do you need to provide to users? How will you select an accessible location for testing? What remuneration might you provide?
Prior to beginning your work, you may need to brush up on tools and techniques for web, document, or media accessibility auditing. A range of resources may serve you well. Check the final chapter in this book for some options.
As this chapter deals primarily with web and document materials, a good refresher or starting point may be this video on Accessibility Testing for Content Creators from the University of Alabama’s Center for Instructional Technology. Here you will see a demonstration of common tests and checkers that may be utilized in audits.
The following mini case studies document some of the strategies others have followed while auditing library-administered platforms. Note that these case studies are far from exhaustive and merely hint at a few of the options you might pursue at your institution.