WAVE has many useful features. Unlike any other such tool I have used, it provides a visual layout of a Web page with embedded icon indicators. Red ones are for accessibility errors; yellow ones are alerts for possible issues, green ones are for accessibility features, and light blue ones are for elements that may aid accessibility.
Ordinarily, when using WAVE, I prefer its Toolbar version. The following descriptions are for the Web-based version of WAVE, which people use for a quick check to determine if a site has made an attempt to be accessible.
Near the top, right of the WAVE report is a button to disable/enable styles. This is useful to show how readable the page is should a user decide to disable page styling.
Across the top of the report, there are tabs for ancillary reports showing the Web page’s:
- Structure/Order, which indicates the order in which the content will be read as a person tabs through it.
- Text-only, which shows the page without images or styling.
- Outline, which displays content headings and their order.
Use of WAVE is a good start for determining a Web site’s accessibility. Other such tools, commercial and free, and many of which I have used on other sites, attempt to check against sets of standards such as 508, WCAG 1, and WCAG 2. Ultimately though, true accessibility can be determined only with testing by people with disabilities.
Note: When the “Clear Helper” Web site is available for public use, I expect its design will be much different. Yet, because this is my first foray into using HTML 5 and CSS 3, I wanted an indication I am using those technologies accessibly. I will continue to perform accessibility checks as I experiment.