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8.0 Testing for Accessibility

Today, there are several ways to test your application for accessibility:

  1. Use standard desktop personal computers and software in different ways
  2. Use accessibility testing tools
  3. Use assistive technologies
  4. Use assistive technology vendors and users during the development process

An example of the first method of using standard desktop personal computers is to unplug your mouse and try to navigate your application using only the keyboard. Is there documentation on how to use the tab, arrow, and shortcut keyboard keys? This approach will uncover where you need to implement keyboard access and how to do it in a way that is usable. Section 2.1 Making Your Application Keyboard Accessible will help you in your implementation.

The second way to test your application for accessibility is to use an accessibility test tool. Currently, Sun Microsystem's Java Accessibility Utilities contain a set of tools which you can use to help test the accessibility of your application. For example, the Explorer tool will display each component's accessibility information (e.g. AccessbleName and AccessibleDescription). A developer can use the tools to ensure that relevant information is available on components.

You can find the utilities and how to use them for testing at http://java.sun.com/products/jfc/jaccess-1.3/doc/examples.html

The third way to test your application for accessibility is to test your application with an assistive technology that presents your application in the form needed for a specific disability. The IBM Self Voicing Kit for Java (SVK) is available for download from the IBM alphaWorks site (Text Only Version). The SVK also includes accessibility testing tools.

The fourth way to test your applications for accessibility is to involve assistive technology vendors and users who have disabilities in your development process. For example, post a notice of a beta program on the java-access@java.sun.com and the IBM-SVK@talklist.com lists and ask for feedback.

Each checklist item in the "IBM Java Accessibility Checklist" includes testing techniques specific to that checklist item and link to this section for additional information..

8.1 Accessibility testing checklist

Follow this testing checklist that explains how to use the SVK to test your Java application for accessibility.

  1. Fully run your application using only the keyboard to ensure each component which performs a user function can be accessed through the keyboard.
  2. Ensure the keyboard focus is set to a component when a window is activated.
  3. Using the Self Voicing Kit (SVK), press the F7 key to launch the Accessibility Test Tool to analyze each component for accessibility
  4. Listening to the SVK output and/or viewing the output window, make sure text and components are spoken properly
  5. Press the F8 key on each component to verify that the Accessible Action works as you intended
  6. Press the F6 key to make sure that all text and components in the visible parts of your application are read out loud and/or displayed in the output window.

Next: 9.0 Online Information and Help