Reviewing Website Accessibility

This resource gives a brief overview of the existing options for reviewing the accessibility of a website, including using checklists, running automated checking tools, and hiring people to audit a site.

  • Subject(s):

    Website Accessibility

  • Resource Type(s):

    Standards and Best Practices

  • Audience:


Reviewing Website Accessibility

When it is time to review the accessibility of your website, it can be hard to know where to get started! This resource will share a few ways that you can begin checking on how accessible your website is. Basically, the approaches include:

  • manual checking, that you can do in-house if you have staff who are knowledgeable about meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—perhaps using the checklist resources offered on this site;
  • manual checking done by a person or organization you have hired to audit your website (preferably a person with a lived experience of a print disability, or an organization that employs those individuals); and
  • Automated checking, using a tool developed by an experienced organization.


Using a checklist like the one offered on this site (see Next Steps), or external ones (see External Links) can be a great place to start.

Website Accessibility Audits

For a more in-depth review of your site, you might consider having the site audited by professionals. This is a paid service offered by organizations like the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), among others. This work is best done by people with lived experience of a disability, as they have expert insight into the usability and functionality of a website.

Automated Website Accessibility Checkers

A popular suite of tools are the ones developed by Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM). Their Website Accessibility Evaluation (WAVE) Tools include several website accessibility checker tools. At the main WAVE page, you can enter a url to have a single page checked – this is another great place to start. Once you type in a URL and click the arrow (or hit enter), it will load the website you input together with a sidebar next to your page that lists errors, warnings and accessibility features found on your page. It will also overlay the page with icons that correspond to the sidebar, showing where the errors and features are! 

The WebAIM tools are excellent, but of course there are others — check out the External Links section to find some more!

Next Steps


Checking the Accessibility of a Website

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External Links to More Information

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

An accessibility checking tool that checks for possible accessibility issues on a web page. Issues that are automatically found are indicated, and it also provides information to help with manual checking. It is a great place to start testing a website, but does require some technical knowledge of WCAG.

5 Website Accessibility Checkers You Need Today

This blog post recommends five automated tools that can be used to check web accessibility. It mentions that manual testing is also needed in addition to automated checks. Tools discussed are WAVE: Website Accessibility Evaluation tool, SortSite, aXe: the Accessibility Engine, Pa11y, and Tota11y.

WebAIM’s WCAG 2 Checklist

This checklist, produced by the Web Accessibility Initiative, presents their recommendations for implementing accessibility principles and techniques for those seeking WCAG conformance. The language they use significantly simplifies and condenses the official WCAG 2.1 specification and supporting materials to make it easier to implement and verify for web pages.

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