Best Website Accessibility Software: WAVE Automated Scan Tool (Free and Easy to Use)

I am screen-recording the homepage of I’m in the bottom left. And I’m going to activate the WAVE browser extension in Firefox. And so instantly I get results on the accessibility issues that WAVE has flagged, and it’s showing 12 errors, two contrast errors, and 225 alerts. And so already that’s very intuitive and helpful.

I have a summary of the accessibility results. And then I can click on the details tab and then I see exactly what errors are showing up. And there is one instance of missing alternative text and nine instances of a linked image missing alternative text; two instances of a broken ARIA menu, two contrast errors, and then several alerts.

So I’m going to click on one of the nine linked images missing alt text results. And then it’s going to take me to the exact place on the homepage where that is occurring.

And then I can click on the red error square, and it’s going to pop up and it’s going to say linked image missing alternative text, and then there’s an option to look at the code or look at the reference. So I’m going to click on the code.

And then- in the code that pops up on the bottom, I can see there’s an image and I can see there’s a link, but there’s no alternative text. So this image is linked and it’s missing alternative text. So now we know what we need to fix.

And if we need help, we can click on the reference and we can see that- we can find out what the error means, and why it matters. And it says images that are the only thing within a link must have a descriptive alternative text.

If an image is with any link that contains no text, and that image does not provide alt text. A screen reader has no content to present the user regarding the function of the link and then it talks about how to fix it, and so on.

So this is just a quick demo on why- how WAVE is so simple and easy to use. It’s completely intuitive. Even a beginner can go into WAVE and start finding accessibility issues and learning about accessibility as they go. To me, it’s by far the best software.

There are many accessibility professionals who think that other scans are better. They may be more advanced, but they’re not for everybody. They’re not, for- they’re not as easy to understand and that is really, what is so important is that WAVE in practice is understandable by the general population and it’s easy to use for everyone.

And it’s just- overall an excellent product. I really like WAVE. Now, you may be wondering about when it comes to software, there are accessibility overlays that push themselves into the conversation.

They don’t make your website accessible, first of all. Scans are the best we can do, and what scans do, scans are incomplete at that, and if you read the WAVE materials put out by WebAim, they will tell you that, here’s an automated scan.

This helps you flag issues based on automation and rule sets and then, that we have- then you have to inspect manually. You always have to inspect manually, but the automated scan can help you identify issues quickly.

And then you need to review manually and then you’ll have to find other issues- accessibility issues manually. But the WAVE scan is a great headstart. Other scans are good too, but they’re just not as intuitive as WAVE, and then of course, as I said with accessibility widgets, they don’t actually do anything.

They call themselves solutions because it’s a word- it’s a word that allows them to work their way out of saying that they make your website accessible. They don’t, they’re just- they’re really there to sell website owners, but they don’t actually, one. I mean, there’s a reason why WAVE only claims to be an- a scan and an incomplete scan at that. So many people think of them as a ADA compliance checker.

They don’t do that. There are certain rule sets that they scan and they can identify accessibility issues based off of automation, but they can’t identify all accessibility issues based on automation. What the overlay widgets do, is they claim they can catch; they can catch everything.

They can not only, they can catch everything, but they can fix everything, and they can’t- it’s preposterous, but that’s the current work environment we’re in and they’ve gotten away with that, to a large extent so far.

But if you’re watching this video, now, you know that these overlay widgets, they don’t actually- they don’t catch the errors, and they’re not, so they’re not really scans, but they’re saying that they fixed everything, they remediate your website to WCAG conformant and ADA compliant.

And that’s just completely false, but back to WAVE. WAVE is an excellent scan, and I think it’s the best software on the market.