Accessibility Testing: Don’t Just Rely on What Automated Tests Tell You

Handouts Media

Presented at 8:00am in Penrose 2 on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Mike Williamson, Assistant Director, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Marisha Lamont-Manfre, Accessibility and Usability Assessment Coordinator, University of Colorado Boulder

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Join us, CU Boulder's Digital Accessibility Office, to learn about how we conduct accessibility testing for our campus. We will outline the benefits and drawbacks of manual and automated accessibility testing. Drawing on our experiences and procedures, we will provide examples of how manual accessibility testing is integrated into our campus and why manual testing is vital to understand the overall usability of digital technology.


With Colorado passing legislation like House Bill 21-1110 requiring state and local entities to meet website accessibility standards, many wonder how they can check and ensure the accessibility of their digital assets. Having an established process for accessibility testing will benefit any entity working to ensure the accessibility of their digital environments. What does accessibility testing mean, and how should it be done? This session is for people interested in learning more about the details of conducting an accessibility test and the overall testing process. We, the CU Boulders Digital Accessibility Office (DAO), will discuss what accessibility and usability testing is as well as the benefits and drawbacks of automated and manual accessibility testing. Drawing on our experience and using live demonstrations, we will show where automated accessibility testing alone can often fall short of providing a complete picture.

Since we recommend manual testing, we will offer insight into why we focus on manual testing for accessibility and usability, our processes, how we report, and how we use recognized accessibility guidelines and standards. We will present the usage of screen readers as a primary testing tool and the importance of native assistive technology users while manually testing digital products and software.


  1. Implementing manual accessibility testing can significantly improve the usability of digital technologies.
  2. Understanding accessibility as a usability or UX consideration will improve your approach to accessibility.
  3. Understanding key indicators of accessibility can improve your efforts to implement digital accessibility.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Other, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Mike Williamson

Mike has worked in the fields of accessibility, assistive technology (AT), and disability services for over 15 years. Mike has a Master of Science degree in Assistive Technology and Human Services from California State University Northridge. Throughout his career, Mike has worked as a certified assistive technology trainer, accessibility consultant, and director of a low vision and blindness support center.

Mike manages the digital accessibility assessment and usability activities within the Digital Accessibility Office, where he oversees accessibility testing, procurement, and consulting efforts. Mike also teaches multiple courses in accessibility and assistive technology at California State University, Northridge.

Marisha Lamont-Manfre

Marisha Lamont-Manfre is the Accessibility & Usability Assessment Manager. She will be coordinating the stages of accessibility assessments and consulting work. Prior to CU, she has worked in accessibility services, assistive technology, and digital accessibility. Marisha received her BS in Mathematics from Regis University and her MA in Research and Evaluation Methods from UC Denver. She is currently in the Ph.D. program for Research and Evaluation Methods at UC Denver. In her free time, she gardens and spends time with her husband and her dog.