IMPORTANT: This article is being preserved for historical purposes. Current information and documentation about GNOME Accessibility can be found at: the GNOME Accessibility Project

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Testing for Accessibility

Automated Testing

This section should describe the use of any automated accessibility compliance tools we provide.

Manual Testing

This section describes a number of tests you can perform manually on an application to test its accessibility. Passing all the tests does not necessarily imply that the application is fully accessible, but if the application fails any of thes tests, then further work may need to be done to improve that aspect of its accessibility.

Keyboard Navigation

The following keyboard operations should be tested. Do not use the mouse in any part of this test.

  • Using only keyboard commands, move the focus through all menu bars in the application.
  • Confirm that:
    • Context sensitive menus display correctly.
    • Any functions listed on the toolbar can be performed using the keyboard.
    • You can operate every control in the client area of the application and dialog boxes.
    • Text and objects within the client area can be selected.
    • Any keyboard enhancements or shortcuts are working as designed.

Graphical Elements

Test the application using a screen reader and confirm that:

  • Labels and text are being read correctly, including menus and toolbars.
  • Object information is read correctly.

Visual Focus Indicator

  • Verify that when moving among objects that the visual focus indicator is easy to identify.
  • Keyboard navigation through the software and menus should be clearly visible when the focus moves.
  • Confirm that the screen reader is tracking the visual focus indicator as you navigate using a keyboard.
  • Run a screen magnification program (if available) and verify that the magnifier can track the visual focus indicator as you navigate using the keyboard and mouse.

Fonts and Text

  • Change the font in the application and test to confirm that the settings are maintained.
  • Test the application by changing colors and confirm that all settings are maintained.
  • If magnification is available, test the font, color, and size using the magnification option.

Colour and Contrast

  • Print screen shots to a black and white printer and confirm that all information is visible.
  • Test applications using only black and white, high contrast settings and confirm that all information is conveyed correctly.
  • Test that the application provides at least three combinations of colour schemes and that high contrast schemes are available (e.g. white on black or yellow on blue).
  • Turn on high contrast settings in the Gnome Control Center and confirm that the application respects these settings.
  • Test various themes to ensure that the software is working for all the available settings.


There should be an option in the application to show audio alerts visually.

Test that the audio is working correctly by enabling sound in the GNOME Control Center and then perform the following actions:

  • Perform an action that should generate an audio alert and confirm that the application is working as designed.
  • Verify that the application works correctly when increasing or decreasing the volume.
  • Confirm that warning messages and alerts can be heard correctly in a noisy work environment.


Verify that an option is available to stop animation and that it is working as designed.

Turn the animation off. Confirm that all information is still conveyed correctly.

Keyboard Focus

  • Test all messages to confirm that the user is notified before a message times-out and is given the option to indicate that more time is needed.
  • Make sure an option has been included to adjust the response time and confirm that it is working as designed.


Test ASCII text documentation with a screen reader to confirm that it is clear and precise and can be read by assistive technologies.

Test HTML applications using a web browser and screen reader to confirm that the documentation is accessible to assistive technologies.

Note: There are web accessibility guidelines available at

Confirm the following information is included in the documentation:

  • State if the application does not support the standard keyboard access used by the OS.
  • Identify if there are unique keyboard commands.
  • Identify any unique accessibility features.
  • If an action is documented for the mouse, make sure there is an alternative for using the keyboard.

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Accessibility/Documentation/GNOME2/GNOME Accessibility for Developers/Testing for Accessibility (last edited 2011-07-21 18:02:10 by JoanmarieDiggs)