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Great web design isn't just about looking cool, it's also about bringing your product and information to everyone, regardless of what browser they're using or their physical limitations.
Luckily, there are numerous free programs out there that can help you to check your accessibility before you fully launch your site.
Here are 23 free tools and online accessibility checkers to run your new website through to make sure everyone can enjoy your content.
Check several elements of your site at once with these great accessibility checkers.
- Watchfire WebXACT: This free online checker lets you test several aspects of your website including quality, accessibility and privacy. It comes with a number of keyboard shortcuts as well as an online help section to give you some additional assistance in understand the results of your scan. Note: this tool is still functional, but it was out of date at the time we last checked.
- Total Validator: This checker is the total package, just like the name suggests. Test your webpage's spelling, accessibility, HTML coding, and links. It also comes with a screen shot checker that will allow you to see what your site looks like in a variety of browsers and a Firefox plugin making it extra easy and convenient to use.
- Truwex Online: Truwex is another multi-purpose checker. With this tool, you'll be able to check not only for accessibility but for privacy, quality and compliance with a variety of Web standards of your choosing as well.
- UITest.com: Want to avoid running your site through a variety of different online accessibility checkers. Simply use this one easy form instead. It runs your content through dozens of sites to check everything from quality to your Google PageRank.
- Webnauts: Webnauts provides a variety of accessibility checkers and validators on this site. You'll find tools for analyzing your HTML, accessibility standards and even your SEO.
- Accessibility Wizard: Make sure your site is designed so that anyone can use it, after all, you don't want to send away potential business just because you needed to make a few changes in your design. This site lets you choose your involvement in the project (everything from content manager to interface designer) and have those elements of your site analyzed.
- TAW3: Based on the Web Accessibility Guidelines, this site will give you an accessibility ranking for your site. You can also add it to Firefox to check yours or anyone else's site that you might visit.
- ATRC Web Accessibility Checker: This open source tool from the University of Toronto will help you to locate and correct any known and probable issues with accessibility on your site.
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator: This evaluator comes from the University of Illinois, and allows users to check the functional accessibility of any URL. Sign up for a free account and you'll also be able to generate and save reports about your site and analyze it all at once instead of one page at a time.
- Hera: Hera will check your page for any accessibility issues and highlight them for you to make them easy to find, analyze and fix if necessary.
- WAVE 3.5: This tool, developed by Temple University Institute on Disabilities, allows you to run your webpages URL through a series of checks to let you know how accessible it is to users with disabilities.
- Accessibility Valet: Here you'll find a free online tool for analyzing your HTML markup for accessibility. Errors and places where there could be potential problems are highlighted allowing you to go through step-by-step and make any necessary changes.
- Color Blindness Simulator: Color blindness is an incredibly common phenomenon so it's something you definitely need to consider when designing a new website. This site will simulate color blindness for you so you can see what parts of your design work with and what parts you need to tweak.
- GrayBit: Check the contrast on your webpage with this online tool. Put in your URL and it will render a grayscale version of your page so that you can see the true visual contrast of your site, without the influence of color.
- CynthiaSays: Here you'll find a great online tool for seeing if your site conforms with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Simply enter your URL and get your results, one page at a time.
- Color Laboratory: With one in twenty people suffering from some form of color blindness, it makes sense to check to make sure your site will look right to those users before launching. The color laboratory lets you play with putting colors together for design purposes but also allows you to see how they would look to a color blind user.
- Firefox Web Developer Toolbar: Chances are good that if you're doing a lot of Web development you already have the Firefox Web developer toolbox in your bag of tricks. But did you know that you can also use to to check Web accessibility? Follow this link for instructions on how to make your toolbars work even harder.
- 1-Hit Load Time Analyzer: Even the best designed site isn't really accessible if it takes too long to load. Use this analyzer to find out your site's load time so potential visitors won't get frustrated and navigate away before your content even loads.
- Acc: Acc is a free Firefox extension that can help you to analyze some elements of accessibility that might affect the performance of your site. Check through your HTML or analyze your visual layout right from the comfort of your browser.
- AnyBrowser: While it's irritating, it's a fact of Internet life that not all browsers display the same webpage in the same way. You can make sure your site is as standardized as possible and works in all browsers with this quick, free checker. Once you're done there you'll also find resources to improve your design and get more traffic to your site.
- CSS Analyzer: Even perfectionists can make mistakes when coding, and this site will check to make sure that your CSS is as good as it can get. It will also check to make sure your site has enough color contrast to make it readable for users.
- EvalAccess: With this online checker you'll be able to check your site's HTML and color contrast and get detailed reports on them so that you can go back and make any suggested fixes.
- Hermish: Hermish checks your webpage for accessibility compliance, HTML, layout and page display, readability and more just by entering your URL into the dialogue box and will give you detailed reports of the results.
Don't keep potential customers and information seekers from using your page just because of accessibility issues. These checkers won't cost you a thing and could save you a bundle in potentially lost sales. Give them a whirl and see how you can improve your site and make it more user friendly for everyone.