Computer Software Accessibility Checklist

  1. Can just a keyboard be used to effectively operate this software?
    • Is there any part of the software where using a mouse is the only option to get to what you want?
    • Are keyboard shortcuts, for example Control + S to “Save” or ALT + F to access a File menu, included to activate all text labeled functions and program menus?
    • If cascading, drop down menus, or combination boxes are used, can you effectively access and manipulate selections with a keyboard?
    • Can you solely use a keyboard to do everything this software is capable of doing?
  2. Can you use the software while running adaptive technology or basic operating system accessibility options?
    • Can the software be used with basic operating system accessibility options, such as filter keys, high contrast, magnifiers, narrators, onscreen keyboards, sticky keys, visual warnings when sounds are made, etc.?
    • Can the software and a user’s adaptive technology work at the same time?
    • Can you use adaptive technology to work the software? For example, does a screen reader read all the information displayed on screen? Does a screen magnifier enlarge the display?
    • Does the software disable or ignore any of the adaptive technology or user enabled accessibility options?
    • Does the software run with older versions or only the most current version of adaptive technology?
  3. Does the software have any of its own accessibility features to assist users?
    • Does this software provide any of its own user enabled accessibility options?
    • Do these options successfully assist user’s that need them or do they fall short when assisting users?
  4. If using adaptive technology, can users distinguish where they are on the display?
    • When screens change or new windows open or close, are headings or titles used to identify where users are and what to do next?
    • Does a screen reader correctly identify the focus (currently active item, screen, or window)?
    • If multiple windows are opened on screen, can users easily tell which window is active?
  5. Have controls and functions for operating the software been properly labeled or described?
    • Do buttons, checkboxes, menus, toolbars, images, form fields (where you type in information), and any user action function (Save, Print, Copy, etc.) of the software have a text label description?
    • When using screen readers, is the user action correctly described? For example, if a user’s focus is on the “Search” button, does the screen reader say “Search button,” or once activated that the program is searching?
  6. Are images associated with certain user actions consistent throughout the program?
    • Are any user actions, such as printing, saving, searching, etc., associated with an icon or image? For example, is there an image of a printer, that when activated, will send a document to the printer?
    • Is the same image used for the same action throughout the software?
    • When moving the mouse over the image, does an alternate text tag appear identifying the image? Is this tag consistent throughout the software?
  7. Can all text be read when using adaptive technology, especially screen magnifiers and readers?
    • Does the software run through the operating system’s window, or does it run through its own window? For example, Microsoft Word runs through a Window’s operating system window, and Windows is controlling how text is displayed on the screen. Programs like Mavis Beacon, run through its own window, and control how text is displayed, not the operating system. Programs like Mavis Beacon, that run through their own window, and not the operating system’s window, have a greater chance of not being accessible to adaptive technology.
    • Are images of text used? If so, have they been accurately labeled to reflect what the image reads?
    • Is all the text displayed and typed into form fields able to be read with screen magnifiers, readers, and other voice output adaptive technology?
  8. If used, can any animation be disabled? Is there a text only equivalent for any information displayed using animation?
    • Are user controls for disabling and enabling animations accessible through the keyboard?
    • Can screen readers or other adaptive technology correctly read or identify the animation?
    • Does the animation interfere or inhibit the adaptive technology from working properly?
    • Does animated text have a text only, non-animated script elsewhere on the display?
  9. If color was removed, would it inhibit operating the software in any way?
    • If the display was viewed from a monochrome (white on black, green on black, etc.) monitor or printed from a black and white printer, could users still effectively distinguish visual elements?
    • If color is used to prompt a user action or response (ex. “Press the green button to Print or the red button to Cancel”), has another way of identifying that these are the Print and Cancel buttons been included, such as a text label?
  10. If users can adjust screen colors, do the color choices allow for a variety of contrasts?
    • If the program allows users to change the background color, font color, contrast, etc., are there a variety of basic and custom colors?
    • Does the software offer an option to choose pre-set high and low contrast, and soft background settings?
    • Does the program ignore color and contrast settings selected through adaptive technology or the operating system?
  11. Do any elements of the display blink or flash? Can they be disabled? If disabled, will it affect use of the software?
    • Ask if software vendor can prove that any blinking or flashing elements have a blink or flash frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. This requirement is necessary because some individuals with photosensitive epilepsy can have a seizure triggered by displays that flicker or flash, particularly if the flash has a high intensity and is within certain frequency ranges. The goal here is to recognize that blinking and flickering displays can trigger seizures, and to perhaps look for another presentation method.
  12. Can adaptive technology users effectively enter information where appropriate?
    • Can users access all form fields (areas where information can be typed in) solely through the keyboard?
    • Do forms have descriptive text labels so users know what information should be typed into each form field?
    • When using a screen reader, does it read the text labels identifying form fields in a logical order?