Accessibility testing automation - tools

Author: Tomasz Bonior

There are many tools that support building and maintaining accessible applications. We can divide them into three main categories:

  1. Tools for automated accessibility testing of complete applications.

  2. Tools that verify accessibility during automated scripts execution.

  3. Tools that support the creation of accessible applications.

In this article, we will focus on the first of these categories, as it is the most common application of automation in accessibility testing. These platforms do not require detailed technical knowledge, but at the same time have functions for scheduling and performing automatic scans of our websites or portals.

Some of them also give the possibility to automatically verify the availability of desktop and mobile applications. The main features of such tools are:

  1. Regular scanning of our system for accessibility.

  2. Reports with detailed information on possible accessibility problems .

  3. Accessibility metrics, including measuring the accessibility trends.

The following comparison includes tools that provide similar capabilities, but target a different customer. Perhaps one of these may be useful in your organization?

We have compared basic parameters of these tools, which, in our opinion, should be taken into account when planning implementation of automated accessibility tests. We took into account price, popularity, possibility of testing websites requiring authentication, testing of mobile versions as well. Here is the result of this comparison:

Key parameters of commercially available tools for automated accessibility testing:
Axe MonitorPope TechARCTenonAMPA11yWatchAsqatasunPa11y
Free plannonoyesyesnoyesyesyes
Pricenot specified165$/month up to thousand pages29$/month/user + 0.05$/single check0.05$ for each API callnot specified9,99$/month up to 5 pagesfreefree
Verification of sites requiring authenticationyesyesyesnoyesnonoyes
Verification of web applications in mobile versionyesyesyesyesnonoyesyes

[UPDATE - 11 May 2022] A11yWatch gets mobile support (source)

After even a superficial analysis of the table above it seems that there can be only one winner: Pa11y. It is a tool that we ourselves use in our projects and trainings and that we recommend to majority of our customers.

Thinking about accessibility testing automation?

We can organize training, workshops or consultations for your team. Let us know what is needed - we will think about what makes the most sense in your specific case and propose a solution.