The Tenon.io blog

Core features for a true shift-left web accessibility testing tool

By Matt Arana | April 11, 2019

Thanks to the growth and maturation of the digital accessibility industry, automated testing tools are becoming more valued as a critical piece of development infrastructure for any successful accessibility program. As the importance of having a strong accessibility program increases, companies and organizations are expressing more interest in how they can harness the power of automated testing tools to improve their accessibility program, reduce costs, track compliance, create more accessible IT products, and mitigate risks. At Tenon, we believe our flagship tool is one of the most robust and frictionless automated testing tools in the entire accessibility industry and it can help your organization to excel at automation. As the number of automated testing tools increases, we understand that finding the best automated testing tool for your program can be overwhelming. To help your organization make an informed decision, we created a list of essential features as a baseline to help with identifying features that we think are a must have in order to support your accessibility program:

  1. Dashboard
  2. Configurable Testing Settings
  3. API-First Approach/Frictionless Integration
  4. Code-level Guidance
  5. Spidering and Monitoring

Let’s start with dashboards. A good accessibility dashboard provides a combination of strategic and analytic data for program and product managers. This data can be used to track Key Performance Indicators for important strategic initiatives as well as identify potential training opportunities for team members. Tenon’s Dashboard provides early detection and actionable data that allows program and product managers to make decisions based on performance, issue density, and historical efficacy, allowing for early remediation of issues that leave organizations open to risk.

Another key component of any robust testing platform is the ability to customize and configure the platform in order to align it with internal testing requirements. This feature allows program and product managers to determine testing and reporting thresholds that best suit their accessibility program’s needs. Tenon’s goal is to provide maximum flexibility; that’s why we introduced thirteen parameters, such as viewport dimensions, to our testing platform. This way your organization can configure Tenon to best suit your testing strategy and requirements.

By using an API-first approach, Tenon shifts your testing to the left. By shifting your testing left, your organization will embed accessibility testing into your already defined systems without adding extra steps to your development lifecycle. Shifting left allows for early detection of accessibility issues before they hit production and produces higher quality of accessible code, increases efficiency, reduces the costs of maintaining an accessible product, and mitigates the risk of becoming embroiled in ADA litigation. Tenon’s API, with its frictionless and flexible integration, allows your teams to leverage our testing platform to produce higher quality accessibility in your applications without adding extra steps, effectively providing the tools and data needed to impact accessibility where it matters most: while you build your website and applications and not after.

Another key feature is that the tool should not merely be a diagnostic tool. Many automated tools will alert you to a problem, but how is a developer or even content author to know how to actually fix the issue if they are not proficient with accessibility guidelines? Chances are, they probably don’t and will then spend countless hours researching how to fix the problem instead of being shown or given context on the issue and what needs to be done to fix it. Tenon’s platform provides code-level guidance and context to the issues, effectively saving time and bridging the knowledge transfer gap for your team.

Finally, continuous accessibility monitoring and spidering capabilities should be included in any tool platform. Since the primary benefit of automated testing tools is efficiency in testing, it makes little sense to have a tool that only tests a single page at a time. Comprehensive spidering and testing of tens of thousands of web pages can take some tools a considerable amount of time. Tenon’s testing platform provides classic spidering, but it also provides continuous monitoring through our Accessibility Analytics. This is done via a piece of javascript that is placed in the footer of your page which allows your program and product managers to continuously track accessibility compliance.

To help our audience learn more about these core features, Tenon will be hosting a Core Feature webinar on May 7, 2019 at 2pm US Eastern time. We’ll share our testing platform and how it can enhance your accessibility initiative or program.

Please register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KieWjEauQ0i2ZmQ593ktyw