Website Accessibility Testing

10 Common Mistakes in Website Accessibility Testing for Healthcare and How to Avoid Them 

Consider this, consumer companies with inaccessible websites lose an estimated $6.9 billion each year Why? Because frustrated disabled customers take their business elsewhere, usually to competitors.  

Timely website accessibility testing can help ensure your website is usable by people with disabilities. This includes individuals with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments. This type of testing is categorized as non-functional. It focuses on making software accessible to all users. 

In the healthcare industry, providing consumers with accessible digital experiences is a legal and moral requirement. To meet this requirement, you must test your website for accessibility. This helps ensure that the differently abled can access your healthcare website and other services without barriers. 

However, many organizations make mistakes during the accessibility testing process. This limits their ability to deliver truly inclusive digital experiences. 

Here are ten common mistakes in website accessibility testing for healthcare and practical tips to help you avoid them. 

Mistake 1: Neglecting accessibility testing altogether 

A common mistake many healthcare organizations make is to forego accessibility testing. They assume their websites are accessible because they follow general web development practices. 

Accessibility testing requires dedicated effort and specific testing protocols. These protocols help identify and resolve barriers that hinder use for disabled users. 

How to avoid it 

Integrate website accessibility testing into your website development lifecycle from the start. 

Lay down clear accessibility guidelines and standards. This makes sure that all team members are trained in the best practices of accessibility. 

Mistake 2: Reliance on automated testing tools alone 

Automated testing tools help identify accessibility issues. But they shouldn’t be the only testing method. Automated tools have limitations. They can’t replicate the experience of differently abled users interacting with your website. 

How to avoid it 

Conduct manual testing alongside automated testing. Allow testing to be carried out by individuals with disabilities or accessibility experts. 

Manual testing can be a boon because it lets you discover those issues that automated tools may miss. This includes usability problems or context-specific barriers. 

Mistake 3: Not testing with assistive technologies 

Those with different abilities often rely on assistive technologies to access digital healthcare content. This includes: 

  • Screen readers 
  • Speech recognition software 
  • Alternative input devices 

Testing your website without testing these technologies can lead to overlooked accessibility issues. 

How to avoid it 

Conduct testing with a range of assistive technologies. Involve users with disabilities who rely on these technologies. This will help you create a realistic testing experience. 

Mistake 4: Neglecting mobile accessibility 

Many users log in to your healthcare website from their mobile devices. So, you must ensure the system is accessible on various mobile platforms and devices. 

How to avoid it 

Test your digital assets on different mobile devices. Also, test them on various screen sizes and operating systems. 

Next, check the accessibility of touch gestures, form inputs and navigation elements. They should all work as required by users with disabilities. 

Mistake 5: Overlooking cognitive and learning disabilities 

Accessibility testing efforts usually focus on visual, auditory, and motor disabilities. But sometimes, you may forget cognitive and learning disabilities. 

Users with dyslexia, ADHD, or autism may face distinct challenges when interacting with digital healthcare content. 

How to avoid it 

Test your website for users who have cognitive or learning disabilities. 

Check the clarity of content, navigation, and instructions. Make sure that health information is presented in an easy-to-understand way. It should also be easy to navigate. 

Mistake 6: Ignoring usability and user experience 

Usability and user experience should be equal for all, disabled or not. Your website may meet technical accessibility standards, but poor usability or user experience can create other barriers for those with disabilities. 

How to avoid it 

Have usability testing conducted by the differently abled users. This will help you identify and address relevant issues. Issues can be navigational or related to information architecture and overall user experience. Ensure that your healthcare website is intuitive. It should be easy to use for all users. 

Mistake 7: Failing to test in real-world scenarios 

Testing in controlled testing environments is essential. But it’s also important to test your website in real-world healthcare scenarios. The way users interact with digital content can vary based on where they are – at home or on the move. It also varies from device to device and other specific needs. 

How to avoid it 

Carry out field testing with disabled users in their usual environments. Observe how they interact with your website using their choice of assistive technologies. Record their interactions under various conditions. 

Mistake 8: Neglecting ongoing testing and maintenance 

Don’t make accessibility testing a one-time event. Your healthcare website will evolve as you add new features, content, and updates. So, accessibility issues can crop up if all is not thoroughly tested and maintained. 

How to avoid it 

Have an ongoing accessibility testing and maintenance plan in place. Test your website for accessibility problems after major updates or changes. Be prompt in addressing any issues identified. 

Mistake 9: Lack of accessibility expertise 

Accessibility testing requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Testing for accessibility without trained individuals and resources can lead to missed issues. It can also result in ineffective testing strategies. 

How to avoid it 

Invest in adequate accessibility training. Make it mandatory for your development and testing teams. You can also choose to partner with certified accessibility experts and consultants. Ensure in-house or outsourced teams have the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct effective testing. 

Mistake 10: Failing to involve users with disabilities 

Accessibility experts are no doubt important to your website accessibility testing project. But it’s equally important to involve users with disabilities throughout the testing process. These users can give you invaluable insights and feedback based on their experiences. 

How to avoid it 

Establish a diverse pool of users that includes those with disabilities of all kinds. Invite them to participate in usability testing, feedback sessions, and pilot studies. Make sure you use their input to improve your healthcare website’s design and testing processes. 

Takeaways 

Accessibility testing is a vital part of your website’s overall quality assurance testing. It’s not simply another item on your developer’s to-do list that they must get done and dusted. Accessible healthcare information matters greatly, so accessibility testing is a serious responsibility that requires time and effort. 

By steering clear of the mistakes highlighted above, your organization can create an inclusive website. This will enhance overall website quality, benefiting everyone, regardless of their ability. 

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