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March 7, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Tools for Digital Accessibility

In today’s digital age, creating websites and content that are accessible to everyone is not just a good practice; it’s a legal requirement in many parts of the world. For nonprofit organizations, accessibility is not only best practice but an extension of their mission and cause to serve others.  

Fortunately, getting started with implementing accessible marketing and fundraising appeals doesn’t have to be complicated.  

In this blog post, we’ll explore some essential tools to help make the internet journey for your organization accessible for everyone. 

  1. Screen Readers
    Screen readers are software applications that read the content of a webpage aloud to users with visual impairments. Some popular screen readers include: 
    - NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access): A free, open-source screen reader for Windows. 
    - JAWS (Job Access With Speech): A widely used commercial screen reader for Windows. 
    - VoiceOver: The built-in screen reader for Apple’s macOS and iOS devices. 
    By testing your website or other content with these screen readers, you can gain valuable insights into how individuals with visual impairments experience your digital assets.

  2.  Color Contrast Checkers
    Proper color contrast is essential for people with low vision or color blindness. Tools like the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker or the aXe browser extension can help you evaluate and adjust the color contrast of text and background elements on your website. 
    Use Adobe? You’re in luck. Adobe Color’s online color contrast tool makes it simple to create designs and ensure color contrast is up to par with recommendations.
  3. Keyboard Navigation Testing Tools
    Keyboard navigation is vital for users who cannot use a mouse.The Keyboard Accessibility Testing tool, built into most web browsers’ developer tools, allows you to test your website’s keyboard navigation experience and discover any issues that need to be addressed.
  4. Accessibility Validators
    Online accessibility validators like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Validator or the  WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool can scan your website for compliance with accessibility standards, providing a detailed report of any issues that need attention.
  5. Browser Extensions
    Several browser extensions can help you quickly identify accessibility issues while browsing the web. Extensions like axe DevTools, tota11y, and WAVE Toolbar Extension can highlight issues and offer suggestions for improvement. 
  1. Text-to-Speech Tools
    Text-to-speech (TTS) tools can help individuals with reading disabilities or cognitive impairments access written content. Popular TTS tools include ReadSpeaker and Natural Reader.   
  1. Captioning and Transcription Services
    For multimedia content, captioning and transcription services like Rev or 3Play Media can ensure that videos and audio content are accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. 
  1. Accessibility Plugins and CMS Extensions
    If you’re using content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, consider installing accessibility plugins or extensions like WP Accessibility or Accessibility Checker. These tools can help you identify and address accessibility issues within your CMS. 
  1. Responsive Design Testing Tools
    Responsive design is crucial for accessibility across various devices and screen sizes. Tools like BrowserStack can help you test your website’s responsiveness across screens and browsers.  
  1. User Testing and Feedback Tools
    Nothing beats real user feedback. When given the opportunity, consider engaging individuals with disabilities to test your website and provide valuable insights. Platforms like UserTesting can help you find relevant testers. 

For nonprofit organizations, adding digital accessibility to your checklist can feel daunting, but implementing small steps to ensure web accessibility goes a long way in ensuring that individuals looking for your services or wanting to contribute towards them can navigate your site.  
After all, accessibility ensures that individuals with disabilities can fully participate in the online world, and the online world is for everyone.  

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