Silktide accessibility coverage

This guide explains what accessibility issues are covered by the Silktide website testing platform.

Standards

Silktide measures accessibility against WCAG 2.1. This is widely recognized as the standard for accessibility internationally, and has been adopted into law in the UK, EU, and many other countries. Silktide also covers all of WCAG 2.0, an older version of this standard, which is primarily used in the United States.

Silktide covers all three WCAG levels (A, AA, AAA). Generally, where laws exist to enforce WCAG, they mandate Levels A and AA.

Pages tested

Silktide discovers the majority of most websites automatically, and can be taught to recognize other areas manually.

The following techniques are used to discover webpages for testing:

  • Automated crawling. Silktide downloads a page, finds any pages it links to, and then downloads those pages. The process is repeated until there are no more pages left. This approach is widely used by Google and others to explore the Internet, but it can omit areas that aren’t linked to, or which are behind forms or other interactions.
  • Sitemaps and Feeds. Silktide can look at lists of pages generated by a CMS, such as a Sitemap or RSS Feed, to discover pages that might otherwise be missed by automated crawling.
  • CMS integration. Silktide can integrate with the Content Management System powering a website, to identify when content is added, updated, or removed, and test it immediately.
  • Manual instruction. For interactions which a computer cannot guess – such as “log into this website” – Silktide can be given instructions to follow, such as “fill in this form and press this button”.

Frequency of testing

Every page in a website is tested every 5 days at a minimum. It can be tested more frequently on demand, for example when making a change to the website.

Where the CMS for a website is integrated with Silktide, content is tested immediately once it is published.

Where our pre-publish checks are enabled, content can be tested before it is published.

Criteria tested

Silktide provides both automated and assisted checks for web accessibility.

Automated checks are run entirely by a computer, and measure criteria where a computer has a very high probability of determining an issue by itself. For example, a computer can easily detect where a page is missing a title.

Assisted checks are where a computer can help a person test something, but it can’t make a definitive judgment by itself. For example, is a page title appropriate? Silktide presents this information for users to decide, and records their findings.

At this time, 40.8% of WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criterions are covered by Silktide’s automated checks. 75.5% of WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criterions are covered by Silktide’s Assisted or Automated checks. The remaining 24.5% need to be covered by manual testing.

Practical application

Silktide is designed to cover the largest percentage of a website as quickly and thoroughly as automated technology allows.

However like any automated platform, Silktide cannot test all of accessibility automatically.

Manual testing is the only way to comprehensively test every WCAG Success Criteria, but manual testing is time consuming and expensive. In most cases, it is only practical to test a small sample (5 to 20 pages) of a website manually, and to do so infrequently (e.g. when redesigning a website).

It is not practical for a team of accessibility experts to manually test every slight change to a website as it is being made, and it is not possible for automated platforms to detect everything a team of accessibility experts can.

Therefore Silktide is best combined with manual testing, to ensure the best of both approaches:

  • Manually test new templates and components, especially during a major redesign
  • Automatically test every page and interaction, all the time
  • For areas where human judgement is required, use assisted checks to help users make manual assessments quickly and efficiently

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