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Thursday, May 19th is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The date is recognized as a day of action, a time to think about how we can support digital access and inclusion for the one billion people living with disabilities. Mabl is supporting this important cause with actionable tips and information to help software development teams embed accessibility testing in their DevOps pipelines for more inclusive quality practices. 

DevOps Limits Accuracy of Accessibility Audits 

Accessibility is one of the most pressing concerns facing companies today, yet it’s often unclear who owns or manages accessibility in an organization. Legal teams are concerned about maintaining compliance with regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act, but they often lack day-to-day contact with software development. On the other hand, development teams are struggling to manage accelerating development cycles and a talent shortage, making it difficult to add more steps to development pipelines. DevOps, with its focus on automating and accelerating code releases, only adds to the confusion by limiting the amount of time available to bring new stakeholders into the development process. 

Quality Engineering Allows QA to Expand Testing to Include Accessibility Checks

Enter quality engineering, a discipline that incorporates best practices and data-driven testing into the end-to-end customer experience and drives organizational growth. Quality engineering leverages high-impact manual testing and comprehensive automated testing to ensure a positive user experience everywhere a user can interact with a brand. Accessibility testing is a natural - and ethically imperative - extension of this practice. As the glue between development and users, quality engineers are well positioned to take a leadership role in managing accessibility - if they have the right tools and processes in place. 

Once adopted, quality engineering ultimately enables a culture of quality, where everyone shares responsibility for software testing and product quality. QA harnesses automated testing to make it possible for developers, product owners, and other stakeholders to run tests throughout development. When testing is a shared responsibility, QA teams have more time to create and run additional tests, such as accessibility checks. Using a unified test automation platform like mabl, software testers can embed automated accessibility checks into development pipelines, typically in the pull request stage. This means every release can be checked against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) - versions 2.0 and 2.1 - for accessibility management practices that match the pace of DevOps.  

The resulting data from these frequent accessibility checks makes it easier for quality engineering teams to collaborate with their organization’s compliance departments for cohesive accessibility management. Rather than wait for a quarterly or annual accessibility audit, the entire company can turn to accessibility testing data and proactively make their application or website more accessible, even as it evolves with daily code releases. 

Stay Tuned: Mabl’s Best Practices for Building Accessibility Processes is Coming Soon! 

If that sounds too pie in the sky, stay tuned this week! Mabl’s team of software testing and quality engineering experts are sharing their best practices for establishing an accessibility testing strategy, tips for turning test data into action, and building partnerships with compliance teams all week in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Together, we’re building more inclusive digital experiences. 

See how Friend of mabl SmugMug is embracing accessible development practices at our  webinar on Wednesday, May 18th. Can’t make the live event? Register to receive the full recording and discover how a real quality engineering team built accessibility checks into their development pipelines.