Different situations will require different types of web accessibility audits or reviews. More detailed information on each type of review is provided in the pages that follow. However, here are some questions that may assist you when deciding what type of audit to conduct:
- Is this an internal or external review? Depending on your audience, a review may be more or less formal. If you are providing feedback to a developer in your organization, it may be sufficient to provide point form notes in an email. If you are reporting to senior management, or perhaps to an external organization, a more formal review is likely more appropriate.
- What is the budget for the review? If you are working with a small company, or even a larger company with limited resources committed to web accessibility, a quick informal review may be appropriate. A template review may also be desirable in such cases. These tend to be completed quickly and produce the biggest effect on accessibility for the effort and cost expended. If you are working with a larger budget, then a combination of formal reviews and user testing might be conducted.
- What is the client’s motivation for the audit? For jurisdictions that have legislated web accessibility requirements, more detailed reviews may be desirable to ensure that organizations are in compliance. On the other hand, organizations may be in jurisdictions where there is no obligation to make their web content accessible and may not be willing to invest in an audit. A quick, informal review may open their eyes to the benefits of an inclusive website, acting as a loss leader for a formal review. And, there will be other organizations that just want to be good corporate citizens, who will be more open to a thorough review of their web content.
Balancing context, motivation, and budget will often guide the approach you’ll take as an auditor, giving clients what will serve them best. Depending on the answers to the questions above, it may happen that a series of reviews are offered to a client, beginning informally and building to more detailed reviews.