There are a range of ways to check if your website or web content is accessible.

It's important to note that there are two main types of checking, automated checks and human checks, and that you need to do both in order to check the accessibility of your content.

Automated checks

A software program, website or browser plug-in can detect some types of accessibility errors.

For example, a program can check if an image has alternative text, or detect that headings haven't been used in the correct order. 

Human checks

For many aspects of accessibility, it is not possible to do an automated check.

For example, an automated check can tell you that an image has alternate text, but it can't tell you whether the text provides the same information as the image.  A human needs to check that the alternate text is appropriate for the image.

What you'll need to check depends on your site and content, but it includes:

  • text alternatives to images, audio, video and multimedia
  • forms
  • tables
  • headings
  • content order
  • dynamic content (e.g. javascript-driven). 

Checklists

There's more to accessibility than just following a checklist, but a checklist is a good way to start. 

Web Writer's Accessibility Checklist - good if you just write web pages and don't control anything more technical such as forms or templates

Easy Checks - A First Review of Web accessibility -  a step-by-step guide to doing some initial checks of your site

WebAIM WCAG 2.0 Checklist - a comprehensive checklist which covers web content, web design and development

Checking tools

Checking tools can make it easier to review a page or site, but keep in mind they may only do the automated checks, not the human checks.

Page checking tools

These check a single page at a time, but give you detailed information about the page

HTML_CodeSniffer - a browser bookmarklet which will comprehensively check a page and give you a report on Level A and Level AA errors and warnings.

WAVE - a website which checks your page and shows you the accessibility features and errors within the page. Not as comprehensive as HTML_CodeSniffer, but helps you do some human checks such as reviewing alternate text. There is also the WAVE toolbar for Firefox which runs the same checks as the website, but also enables you to check additional aspects such as the content structure and order.

Juicy Studio Accessibility Toolbar - a Firefox toolbar which helps check some more advanced areas including colour contrast, ARIA landmarks and tables.

Site checking tools

These are useful if you oversee an entire site. The better tools are usually paid tools, and they often don't help with the human checks. They can also be more complicated and technical than the page checking tools.

Funnelback's WCAG Compliance Auditor - a paid tool that regularly checks an entire site and can report on your number of accessibility errors over time.

Total Validator software - the Pro version can check an entire site and provide a report.

OzArt - a paid tool from an Australian accessibility consulting company. It has features to help you do human checks as well as automated checks.