Tools & Resources


This page provides a list of tools and resources that support accessible web development. The list was compiled with input from developers across the University of Washington, and is a work in progress. The University of Washington has allowed the use of this list on the CU Denver and CU Anschutz's OIT website.

Web and IT Accessibility Tutorials

  • WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)
    offers a wealth of helpful resources, including an introductory tutorial, articles for audiences of all levels of expertise, a blog, and an active discussion list.
  • HTCTU Trainings and Tutorials
    Developed by the High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community College system, these tutorials are extremely thorough and well-written, and cover a broad variety of topics related to IT accessibility.

Web and IT Accessibility Resources from DO-IT

The DO-IT Center (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) at the UW has worked tirelessly since 1991 to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. In doing so DO-IT has developed a number of resources related to IT accessibility, including the resources listed below.

Guidelines and Standards

Standards Validation and Accessibility Evaluation Tools

The tools listed in this section are all free and have been recommended by web developers at the UW who have experience developing accessible websites.

  • W3C Validators
    Having valid code is a first step toward web accessibility and cross-browser compatibility. The W3C provides several tools for checking the validity of your code, including an  HTML ValidatorCSS Validator, and Mobile Checker.
  • Total Validator
    This tool is an (X)HTML validator, an accessibility validator, a spell checker, and a broken links checker all rolled into one tool allowing one-click validation of your web pages. It’s available as a standalone application for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux; and is also available as a Firefox extension.
  • HTML Tidy
    This is a software library that evaluates and cleans up HTML, automatically generating a reformatted (i.e., “tidied”) version. HTML Tidy is integrated into the free web development editor HTML-Kit and is available in a Windows GUI version called TidyGUI.
  • Deque Axe is an open source rules library for accessibility testing. It was developed to empower developers to take automated accessibility testing into their own hands and to avoid common pitfalls of other automated accessibility tools.
  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)
    Online web accessibility evaluator from the University of Illinois, designed for testing WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA requirements. FAE is capable of crawling a website and providing a summary report, plus reports for each individual page.
  • WAVE
    Developed by the folks at WebAIM, this online tool evaluates the accessibility of a web page and shows results using icons and indicators, embedded onto the original page.
  • AChecker
    This online web accessibility checker was developed by the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto.

Color Checkers

The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 requires a specific contrast ratio between foreground and background colors. There are several tools available for measuring contrast:

  • Colour Contrast Analyser
    This free application, available in Windows and Mac versions, makes it easy to check foreground & background color combinations. Both versions include an eyedropper tool for easily grabbing a particular color from anywhere on the screen.
  • WebAIM Color Contrast Checker 
    This handy online tool includes a feature to “lighten” or “darken” existing colors until you find a combination that meets WCAG 2.0 requirements.

Browser Toolbars, Add-ons, and Extensions

  • Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox or Chrome.
    This highly useful toolbar is packed with features, including many that help developers to create websites that are accessible.
  • AInspector Sidebar for Firefox
    This tool conducts an accessibility evaluation (based on WCAG 2.0 and ARIA) of the page that’s currently loaded in the browser, and provides feedback in a sidebar.
  • WAVE Chrome Extension
    This toolbar from WebAIM is similar in some ways to the one preceding it in this list, albeit with a few different accessibility rules and a different user interface. We recommend trying both to see which one you like best.
  • Accessibility Bookmarklets
    This suite of bookmarklets can be used in any browser and work by visually highlighting specific accessibility features within a web page, including ARIA landmarks, headings, lists, and accessibility-related features of images and forms.
  • Web Accessibility Toolbar
    This toolbar is no longer actively developed, but still provides a rich set of features for checking structure and accessibility of web pages within Internet Explorer.

Programming, Scripting, and ARIA

Given the high level of interest in dynamic web programming among UW Web Developers, it is imperative that developers become familiar with accessibility standards, guidelines, and techniques, and apply them with developing web applications. Accessibility of dynamic web applications is dependent in large part on ARIA, the W3C’s draft specification for Accessible Rich Internet Applications. For additional information and resources related to ARIA see our ARIA for Web Applications page.

Also, the following tool enables developers to inspect the accessibility information that is being exposed by web browsers to the operating system through various accessibility APIs. This can be very helpful for gaining a deeper understanding of the accessibility of your website or application:

Mobile Development

Assistive Technologies

When testing web pages and IT products with assistive technologies, it is important to be aware that no two assistive technology (AT) products are alike. Developers are cautioned to use these tools only as an approximate gauge of accessibility. What seems to work perfectly in Product A may be inaccessible in Product B. Therefore, developers should resist the tendency to develop sites and applications that work with a particular AT product, and focus instead on developing sites that comply with standards.

Some assistive technology vendors provide demo versions of their products, some of which can be used indefinitely but time-out after a few minutes of operation. Product licenses vary as to whether using these demo versions is permissible for testing and development purposes.

Also, all major desktop operating systems are bundled with basic assistive technology utilities. For more information about these utilities in Windows and Mac OS X consult the accessibility sites at MicrosoftApple.

In addition, the following free assistive technologies can be useful for testing web pages.

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