Wednesday 26 August 2015

Accessibility & Usability Testing Pathway

This pathway is a tool to help guide your self development in accessibility and usability testing. It includes a variety of steps that you may approach linearly or by hopping about to those that interest you most.

Each step includes:
  • links to a few resources as a starting point, but you are likely to need to do your own additional research as you explore each topic.
  • a suggested exercise or two, which focus on reflection, practical application and discussion, as a tool to connect the resources with your reality.

Take your time. Dig deep into areas that interest you. Apply what you learn as you go.

STEP - Understand the impact of accessibility

Learn what accessibility testing is and discover why it is needed:
[1 hour] Developing an accessible product requires commitment from the entire development team, not just the tester. To share your new found appreciation of the impact of accessibility, challenge your team to spend 30 minutes without a mouse. As well as day to day work, ask them to check out the applications you develop. Afterwards, reflect as a team on the difficulties you encountered and the number of changes required to make your applications more accessible.

STEP - Accessibility standards

These formal documents are relatively difficult to read exhaustively, but it's worth browsing through the standards to get an understanding of what they contain so they can be used as a reference:
[30 mins] Can you locate information in the standards to answer the following questions:
  1. What is the minimum contrast for large scale text?
  2. What are the restrictions for time limited content e.g. form submission timeout?
  3. If an error is automatically detected, what are the accessibility considerations for displaying error messages?

STEP - Accessibility testing heuristics and strategy

Investigate how we test whether applications are compliant. These practical resources include heuristics, mnemonics, test strategy, demonstrations, etc.
[2 hours] Select a set of heuristics or test ideas that appeal to you. Talk to your business analyst or business lead about which aspects of accessibility they feel are most important. Conduct a 60 minute tool-free accessibility tour of the application that you work on, prioritising the testing that your business representative indicated. Note any problems that you encounter. Share the results of your tour with the same person and discuss how improvements to accessibility might be incorporated into your development process.

STEP - Accessibility testing tools

Learn about the tools that are available to help test accessibility in applications:
[2 hours] There are a lot of tools to help assess accessibility properties of a site, many of which integrate within the browser. Evaluate the tools on offer and discover which you prefer. Compare the results of the automated assessment against the results of your own accessibility tour. What type of problems did the tool discover that you missed? What type of problems did you discover that the tool missed?

[2 hours] Download and trial the JAWS screen reader. See which areas of your applications perform well, and which are incomprehensible. Discover the main features of JAWS and learn how to navigate our sites as a non-sighted person would.

STEP - Developing accessible software

Tips to develop an accessible application, to prevent problems before they are caught by testing:
[1 hour] Talk to the developers in your team about the techniques that they use to write accessible applications. Share what you've learned and investigate together whether there are any changes that could be made to development to help improve accessibility.

STEP - What is usability?

An introduction to usability and some short experiences from testers:
[1 hour] To cement your understanding of the basic principles of usability testing, explain the concept to another tester.

STEP - Usability testing with real users

Discover different methods for tackling usability testing with real users of your software, from structured user sessions to guerilla usability testing:
[4 hours] Talk to a user experience specialist about how customer sessions are run in your organisation. Attend some customer sessions and observe. Debrief with the user experience specialist about the process for seeking customer input and the feedback that was provided. Reflect on these experiences and try to align your approach to the theory and experiences you've read.

STEP - Usability testing for testers

Read about some techniques for performing preliminary usability testing within your development process:
[2 hours] Select a resource that you'd like to try. Conduct a 60 minute usability test session of the application that you work on. Note any problems that you encounter. Discuss your approach and the validity of your results with your user experience specialist. Reflect on where opportunities exist for you to improve your development process to create a more usable application.

STEP - Agile accessibility & usability

How can we effectively embed accessibility and usability in our agile development process:
[1 hour] Discuss with your team how your Definition of Done could be altered to reflect accessibility and usability requirements. Determine the importance of these attributes as a group and make a shared commitment to considering them, to whatever degree you are comfortable, in future work.

STEP - Mobile accessibility & usability

There are different tools and user expectations for accessibility and usability on mobile:
[1 hour] Switch on some of the accessibility features of your mobile handset, e.g. inverted colours, voice over, larger font sizes, etc. Complete a simple tour of the features in one of your mobile applications. Note any problems you encounter in using the application with these accessibility options enabled. If possible, compare your experience on an Apple handset vs. and Android handset.

STEP - Introduction to user experience

Testing supports a positive user experience with your application. Read through the basics of user experience and learn about how user experience is distinguished from other terms:
[30 mins] Chat to your designers about their views on user experience. Discover what they want your customers to say when they use your products. Discuss how testers can support the UX vision.

1 comment:

  1. All of these recent pathways are awesome. A wealth of information. Thank you!