Our Favorite Accessibility Tools

by Peyton Haley, Accessible Communications Coordinator

When you’re just starting to learn how to make accessible digital content, things can get a bit overwhelming. The good news is that there are endless tools at your disposal you can use to double-check your work! Here, we’ve gathered a few of our favorites for testing structure, checking reading levels, and verifying color contrast.

Testing Structure

It’s important to properly structure your web pages and documents! Using appropriate headings and list functions make sure your content can be read by assistive technology (AT). Use the following tools to review your content and make sure your headings and interactive elements are in the proper order.

You can also use your keyboard’s TAB key to cycle through each interactive element of a web page in order. If something doesn’t TAB in the order you expect, your page structure is probably off somewhere. Check out our resource, Keyboard Accessibility in Four Words, to learn more about making sure your content is accessible via keyboard.

Checking Reading Level

When you’re writing content for general audiences, it’s recommended to tailor it to an 8th-grade reading level. Lower reading levels are understandable for more people, which makes your content more accessible! There are many tools out there that will either test as you write, or you can copy and paste your content after you’ve drafted.

You can use ChatGPT to help you find ideas about how to lower the reading level of passages that are flagged too high. Make sure you double-check any ChatGPT or other Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated suggestions, though! AI is a handy tool, but it’s not perfect.

Verifying Color Contrast

To make your content accessible, it must contrast guidelines. Color contrast measures the difference between a foreground color and a background color’s brightness.

To meet WCAG’s contrast requirements, we recommend that all text has at least a 4.5:1 contrast ratio. These tools will help you test your contrast and tell you whether the ratios meet the guidelines!

None of these tools and tactics will make your content fully accessible but incorporating them into your testing is a great step in the right direction! For more comprehensive training, check out our Self-Paced Accessibility Courses!