Find website accessibility issues with Koa11y


Koa11y is a cross-platform tool for detecting accessibility issues in any web page you specify. Problems detected include missing image Alt attributes, color contrast issues, missing titles, lengthy ALTs, poorly designed forms, and anything else that doesn’t play nicely with accessibility software and APIs.

We downloaded a copy of the Windows version. It’s a portable program, no installation required, we just unzipped the download and launched Koa11y.exe.

The interface is straightforward. Enter a URL, click "Run", and an HTML report is saved to your desktop. You can change the output folder and file name to whatever you like.

The report is aimed at professionals, not the casual user. Individual items are detailed, and the issues are organized into three categories: Errors (fix now), Warnings (take a look), and Notices (suggestions).

Take a look at a sample report here.

By default Koa11y validates your web page for Level AA conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, aka "WCAG2AA". You can switch to WCAG2A or WCAG2AAA if you prefer, or opt for the US Government’s Section 508.

There’s some control over the output format, too. By default this is HTML, which neatly has all its styling and scripting embedded in the same file (no separate CSS or anything else, making it easy to share). But if that doesn’t suit your needs, reports can be saved in CSV, JSON, XML and Markdown.

Koa11y doesn’t give you much flexibility in its analysis. You can tell the program to ignore one or more issue categories (display "Errors", ignore "Warnings" and "Notices"), but you can’t tell it not to check particular rules.

As the report is a static file, you’re not easily able to filter it. There’s no button to hide all the "missing image Alt attribute" warnings, for instance -- you have to scroll past each and every one.

There’s no way to spider through a group of pages, either. Koa11y gives you the report on the single URL you specify, and that’s it.

Despite that, Koa11y does have some value. It’s fast, produces detailed and well-packaged reports, and can be used offline with local files. Give it a try.

Koa11y is available for Windows 7 and later, Linux and Mac.

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