Our mission here at Allyant is to ensure everyone has equitable digital access. A free program called Trusted Tester web certification provides valuable resources and training in web accessibility. It is a highly useful guide for those interested in this field.
This program focuses on helping testers earn an essential understanding of website accessibility issues and how to test for them. The program is an online web accessibility training course run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The course focuses on Section 508 Compliance, a U.S. law requiring federal agencies to ensure their technology is accessible to people with disabilities.
The Trusted Tester course can only be taken on Windows operating system computers.
A brief overview of the Trusted Tester course
The Trusted Tester course has five sections.
The first section is an overview of Section 508 and why it is important to conform to Section 508 standards.
The section covers Section 508 web standards and includes a detailed discussion of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which comprise the foundation of web accessibility testing.
Introduces users to two tools needed to complete the course: ANDI (Accessible Name & Description Inspector) and the Color Contrast Analyzer.
Provides more detail about web accessibility issues and how to test for them. Users test webpages for potential accessibility issues and receive a score based on their performance. You are allowed to retake each test multiple times until you score 100%.
This section is a practice exam covering the entire course content. To become certified after completing the course, you must score a 90 or better on the official Trusted Tester Certification exam.
After completing each section, including the “knowledge checks” within each subsection, users will receive digital certificates showing they have concluded that section. These certificates are important when demonstrating web accessibility testing knowledge.
ANDI and the importance of manual testing
ANDI, the primary tool used in the Trusted Tester course, is an automated tool that checks for accessibility issues on web pages. While Allyant encourages its staff (and others) to take the course to understand web accessibility issues further, we need to caution against relying too heavily on automated web accessibility tools.
Although it is perfectly acceptable to use automated tools (our staff and clients use our internally built and managed “HUB ToolKit” testing tool here at Allyant), manual testing must be done in addition to automated testing.
Manual testing is not only a more accurate representation of accessibility issues (as instructed in the Trusted Tester program), especially when done by people living with disabilities who have personal experience with web accessibility issues, but it also closes the gap on a much broader set of WCAG success criteria as automated tools at best find 25%-30% of violations.
Documenting and including manual testing can also protect you from potential litigation and provide a much more robust remediation roadmap, as we outlined in our recent blog on building a web accessibility audit plan.
Benefits of the Trusted Tester course
By taking the Trusted Tester web certification course, you will better understand Section 508 Compliance standards and related web accessibility standards. This will benefit you significantly when designing or developing websites or mobile apps to be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.
The course also provides users with hands-on experience identifying and testing website accessibility issues that can be applied in ongoing design and development work. Completing the course demonstrates that you know and can assess critical web accessibility issues.