Comparative Analysis of Accessibility Testing Tools and their Limitations in RIAs
DescriptionAccessibility is a required quality for websites today and there are several tools that are available to test for this quality. Sadly, the existing accessibility testing tools have several limitations. A particular set of challenges they face is in the evaluation of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). The technologies that constitute RIAs are changing the way in which websites are being developed, however, these technologies pose new challenges to web accessibility. The inability of accessibility testing tools to assess the dynamic content that constitutes RIAs results in most of them being partly or completely inaccessible to people with disabilities, in particular visual disabilities. In this paper we carry out an experiment to compare and analyze four accessibility evaluation tools. We would be judging these tools based on their correctness, coverage completeness, similarity to one another, and their relative performance when evaluating RIAs. The result of this experiment showed that AChecker and Wave have an equally good performance when evaluating static websites while FAE has the best performance when evaluating RIAs. We came to the following conclusion after this experiment; accessibility testing tools are not always correct in terms of the results they produce, there are certain guidelines which accessibility testing tools are not able to cover, some evaluation tools are similar, and lastly, that there is a discrepancy in the behaviour of tools when evaluating RIAs versus when evaluating static websites. We envisage that the results of this experiment will provide a lot of useful insights to researchers and developers.