Accessibility testing: Working with Perkins School for the Blind

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Perkins School for the Blind logo

Mass.gov accessibility standards

We follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 from W3C, the gold standard for accessible web design and development. WCAG drives many of the decisions we’re making as we build the new Mass.gov.

Testing strategy

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An example of what one of our users’ view of the website looked like
  • 10 test subjects — Our participants ranged in age from 18–64 and had varying levels of sightedness.
  • 4 assistive technology programs — Our subjects used VoiceOver, JAWS, ZoomText, and high-contrast mode, providing a representative sample of technologies.
  • 7 device types — From desktop to mobile, PCs to Macs, we integrated a range of devices into testing.

Positive outcomes

Overall, we were encouraged by the results. Most of our participants were able to navigate the site effectively and find the key information and action items they needed to access our test service.

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Graph of results for testers to find “Apply for MassHealth online” — 90% were able to locate the action.
  • More than half rated the pages’ ease of use positively and said they would feel confident applying for the program.
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Graph of results for testers rating the “Apply for MassHealth” page’s ease of use: 8 out of 10 rated it positively.

Improving the experience

However, we still have work to do. One of our participants used ZoomText, a tool for people with low vision that enlarges their computer’s screen. ZoomText works at the OS level, which meant that our tablet and mobile break points were never triggered. That left our participant with just a sliver of the desktop version of the site. As a result, the tester wasn’t able to find the contact information we’d housed in the right rail. Following the test, we revised our designs, moving key content from the right rail to the main body copy and left-justified jump menu.

Testing continues — with your help

We learned a lot from this first test at Perkins — and as we continue working with our partners there and among other constituencies across the state, we’ll find new opportunities to make the site more accessible. It’s an ongoing process, but it’s worth the effort to make Mass.gov better for everyone.

Mass.gov CMS resources

The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security…

EOTSS Digital Services

Written by

Digital Services from @MassEOTSS uses technology, design & data to make interacting with government simpler, faster, more meaningful & wicked awesome.

Mass.gov CMS resources

The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) Digital Services' mission is to use the best technology, design, and data to make every interaction with Massachusetts government simpler, faster, more meaningful, and wicked awesome.

EOTSS Digital Services

Written by

Digital Services from @MassEOTSS uses technology, design & data to make interacting with government simpler, faster, more meaningful & wicked awesome.

Mass.gov CMS resources

The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) Digital Services' mission is to use the best technology, design, and data to make every interaction with Massachusetts government simpler, faster, more meaningful, and wicked awesome.

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