Free Tools to Test Your Nonprofit’s Website for Accessibility

The BIG Question

Does your nonprofit have an accessible website? As a starting point, try testing your site using these free tools:

  • Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) by WebAIM. Enter a website address and the tool will give you information on accessibility errors and warnings, displayed right near the corresponding element on the web page, along with information on correcting issues it finds.
  • CheckMyColours.com. This site provides (very!) detailed analysis for color usage on a web page, including contrast ratio, brightness difference and color difference.
  • Additionally, if you’d like a taste of what it’s like to use screen reader software, like people with vision-related disabilities often do, open your organization’s website using the free, browser-based screen reader tool WebAnywhere. It’s can be a real eye-opener!

Wait…What is Web Accessibility?

People generally associate the topic of web accessibility with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but I like to think of web accessibility as the practice of making websites with content, features and functionality that people of all abilities can access and use.

Benefits of an Accessible Website

There are many benefits to having a website programmed to accessibility standards, including:

  • The site works in any browser and on any mobile device.
  • Greater search engine visibility.
  • Ability to easily update content or appearance without having to re-do the entire site.
  • Faster access on low bandwidth or mobile devices.

For More Information

There are two main sources in the United States for guidelines on Web accessibility:

  1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 by the Web Accessibility Initiative at the World Wide Web Consortium
  2. Section 508 guidelines by the U.S. Federal Government
Cindy Leonard
Consulting Team Leader
Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University
Cindy Leonard joined the YWCA Westmoreland County as Executive Director in September 2018, bringing over 20 years of nonprofit leadership and management experience. The YWCA endeavors for social justice by working to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Previously, Cindy spent 12 years at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, working with the director and consulting team to enhance the Center's consulting and technology programs. She also performed community organizing around technology through the Center's popular Bagels & Bytes meetups and annual TechNow conference. Before that, she managed IT for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. An experienced speaker and trainer with a highly engaging, interactive style, Cindy has successfully worked with groups as small as 10 and as large as 200 on a wide variety of topics. She has presented and trained at over 100 conferences and classes, including conferences by Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Technology Network, Nonprofits LEAD, Alliance for Nonprofit Management, Association of Fundraising Professionals of Western Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Library Association. Cindy presently serves on the board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Education, all from Seton Hill University. Raised in Blairsville and Derry Township, Cindy has had a lifelong love affair with the Laurel Highlands, and currently resides in Youngwood with her husband Rob and a handful of very spoiled felines. She blogs about nonprofit management and technology at www.cindyleonard.org.