Tips and Tricks for Inexpensive Accessibility Testing


Presented at 8:00am in Westminster II on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • Elizabeth Simister, Product Accessibility Manager, Blackboard, Inc (now part of Anthology)

Session Details

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


The purpose of this session is to walk attendees through simple, inexpensive but effective methods for checking the accessibility of the applications at their institutions.


Fact or Fiction? To ensure that an application is accessible, you must test it using a screen reader, preferably JAWS.

Fact or Fiction? Results from automated accessibility testing tools contain all of the accessibility issues that are in an application.

Fact or Fiction? When using the keyboard, you must be able to Tab to all of the content in a web-based application.

The idea of testing applications for accessibility, like PDFs, can seem expensive, time consuming, and overwhelming to many people who are new to the idea of accessibility. This session will provide attendees some simple and inexpensive techniques to better understand the accessibility of the applications at their institutions. Techniques that will be covered include using basic keyboard commands, color contrast analysis, use of operating system accessibility features, and how to interpret automated testing results.


  1. demystifying the cost of accessibility testing
  2. provide techniques that novice testers can easily use to check for accessibility
  3. how to use alternative testing methods to validate automated accessibility test results

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Other, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Elizabeth Simister

Elizabeth Simister is the current product accessibility manager at Blackboard. Ms. Simister got her start in accessibility in 2004 in what is now the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University. One of her biggest responsibilities was understanding how to take scanned journal pages with lots of charts, graphs, tables, and math formulas and make them in accessible PDFs. After Cornell, she spent a number of years working as a contractor helping different organizations figure out what they needed to do to be accessible. Ms. Simister been at Blackboard for two years and her primary focus is on working with the development teams to get to a point where the Blackboard products are as accessible as possible.