Ahead of this week’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, IBM is releasing an open-source Equal Access Toolkit and Accessibility Checker to help developers and testers easily embed accessibility into their workflows.

“Although nearly 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. face some type of disability, an industry sample has found that in 2020 over 98 percent of home pages had a detectable accessibility error. Accessibility can be forgotten or left until too late in the process when it is difficult to retrofit the site or application,” Si McAleer, program director of IBM Accessibility, wrote in a blog post. “Knowledge, discipline, and tools are all essential to building in accessibility throughout a development process.”

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The toolkit includes a public set of guidelines that delivers phase-based guidance about accessibility to all members of a team creating an enterprise offering and the accessibility checker is a browser extension that allows developers and auditors to evaluate web-based components or solutions for accessibility issues. 

The project offers guidance on what is needed at each stage of development, shows a prioritized breakdown of accessibility requirements, and includes test automation, and is constantly updated to meet the latest accessibility standards.

“We understand it is not always easy to find the best practices or guidance to fully understand or test accessibility solutions,” McAleer stated. “This is why we wanted to establish an open source platform that empowers offering teams to conceive, design, develop, ship, and report on their accessible offerings regardless of their accessibility expertise. “

The tool can be run in a variety of Node.js environments for automated testing and the checker is available through the NPM repository if the checker is intended for a batch configuration.

Additional details are available here.