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Helpful Accessibility Tools

A person using his pencil to measure a flask

Read time: 7 minutes


While web accessibility practices have been around since the late ’90s, it’s only really started to gain some more attention from the general public over the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has helped push it more into the mainstream, as people were forced to move online. 

As a result, more and more people have started to implement web accessibility practices. From alt-text on social posts to following proper content structure on blogs, we’re slowly starting to see web-accessible practices become the norm in people’s “online routines.” 

With that said, we do recognize that consistently practicing web accessibility can be hard for some people. Whether it’s because it’s not part of their online routines or they have a hard time finding how to do so, there are a number of reasons why web-accessible practices aren’t always implemented. 

Frankly, we get it.

Although our overall goal is to the entire internet an accessible place, we do understand that there are some “hurdles” to go through for new people trying to implement web accessibility. 

Fortunately for us, other accessibility experts felt the same way, and they’ve created some wonderful tools for us to utilize in order to better practice accessibility. 

The Unity team has been fortunate enough to rely on these tools, and they’ve been incredibly helpful during our project process and in creating accessible websites.

So if you’re looking to make web accessibility implementations a little easier, make sure to check out and download these helpful web accessibility tools! 

Tota11y

An example of the tota11y user interface

Credit: tota11y

A personal recommendation from our Lead Developer — Andy Marino — tota11y shares a very similar mission to what we have at Unity:

To make web-accessible practices more accessible.

While we at Unity focus on providing educational content that can help you better understand the “why” and the methods behind web accessibility, tota11y aims to reduce this barrier through their brilliantly designed accessibility tool.

For a lot of backend developers, the process of testing and checking for accessibility can be tedious, time-consuming, and intimidating. 

So just imagine how that experience can be for those without a lot of experience in doing it.

The tota11y app helps change that, as it provides a visual tool that showcases what accessibility standards a piece of content may be missing in a simpler and more understandable manner. 

But along with providing an easy-to-use and understand interface, the tota11y application takes it one step further:

It also maps out why the accessibility violation is a violation in the first place! 

This is incredibly valuable on two levels:

  1. It slowly helps people learn more about web accessibility expectations in general.
  2. It tells people exactly how to fix it, so you can avoid it in the future! 

While other checker tools may just tell you something is wrong, tota11y takes it a step further and allows you to learn from your mistake so you don’t make it again!

If you’re looking for an unintimidating way to learn more about web accessibility and practice it, this is the tool you need to use!

Sim Daltonism

Sim Daltonism, the color blindness simulator

Credit: Sim Daltonism

If you’re looking to create colorful imagery or graphics, this app is a must-have. 

Sim Daltonism allows users to see colors through the lens of a person with color blindness. Additionally, the app takes into account various types of color blindness, so you’ll be able to fully understand how your visual content can be perceived by those who are color blind! 

This app has been considered a “critical tool for inclusive design,” with many of today’s designers relying on this for their work. 

With that said, it is work noting that this app is only provided on Mac and iOS. But if you use a virtual machine, the app will still work flawlessly! 

One thing that is fantastic about this app is that it can be seen on any Mac or iPhone screen, regardless of what website you’re on.

So whether you’re uploading pictures on WordPress, editing photos on Canva, or getting your next tweet ready, you’ll be able to use the Sim Daltonism app with ease. 

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to provide more inclusive graphics, illustrations, photos, and designs to your online presence, we highly recommend downloading this wonderful app! 

Amara

The Amara Logo

Credit: Amara

If you’ve uploaded a video before, it’s likely you’ve come across the option to add closed captions to it. 

And if you’ve completely disregarded that option and opted to rely on YouTube’s “auto caption” feature, we understand.

Writing word-for-word captions and subtitles is hard. 

Fortunately, we’re provided with options to make this process a lot easier with the help of translating applications and websites. Although these resources may not capture everything accurately, it does provide you with an option to update the transcript after it’s been generated.

So instead of writing a full transcript, you’re simply rewriting it and filling in the blanks. 

For us, nothing has been as accurate or helpful as the Amara app. This award-winning application allows you to accurately translate videos for YouTube and social media! 

Their free platform is fantastic and does a lot for being free. But if you’re looking for more accuracy or have a larger project, they also have a paid service where you can send them your project and they’ll do all of the translation for you! 

Everyone, regardless of ability, uses subtitles and captions to better understand and enjoy video content. By taking the time or investing in accurately captured subtitles and captions, you improve the overall quality of your audience’s experience. 

And that itself could pay dividends later on, whether you’re looking to improve viewership or delight a family member. 

Alt-Text Tester

The alt-text tester showcasing how it lists alt-text

A go-to for all members of our team, the Alt-Text Tester is a fantastic tool for those that want to scan photos on their site for alt-text without having to rely on a screen reader or manually going into the backend for each photo. 

Although this is slightly useful for people that want to scan their social media feeds, this tool is mostly used by webmasters that have a lot of photos and content on their site and not enough time to manually check every photo. 

Simply download the app and have it pinned on your toolbar. From there, you’ll be able to toggle it on and off, so you won’t have to worry about clicking off to a different page or tab!

Whenever the tool is on, you’ll either see a green highlighted box (like what you see in the illustration above) with the alt-text listed or a red highlighted box with the words “alt-text missing” show within it. 

Additionally, the tool allows you to hover over a photo or click the photo to check the alt-text, which is particularly useful if you have your photos arranged in an “Instagram feed” format. 

While the everyday web user may not find this tool as helpful, this tool is fantastic for those that are wanting to review alt-text on their site without having to navigate the backend for every photo. 


If you’re looking to implement web accessibility into your “online routine,” these apps are a great and unintimidating way to get into it. 

With that said, we’re only scratching the surface of all the different types of accessibility tools that you can use, and we highly recommend taking the time to explore what works best for you! 

As long as you’re practicing web-accessible practices, you’re doing your part in making the internet an inclusive space for anyone regardless of ability. 

(Just make sure to avoid overlays.)