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Web Accessibility

Illinois follows the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Like the United States Section 508, Illinois only requires compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA but encourages compliance with WCAG 2.1 and Level AAA guidelines when possible. For more information, see:


The Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) guidelines explain how to make custom Javascript-based web components like dialogs, grids, menus, and tab panels accessible. With ARIA, almost anything is possible, but it's not easy. And remember, with great power comes great responsibility!

  • Introduction to ARIA - instructions and cautions about using ARIA. READ THIS FIRST!
  • ARIA 1.2 - the (almost) current ARIA specification. (ARIA 1.3 is already on the way.)
  • ARIA Authoring Practices Guide - extensive instructions, examples, and requirements for implementing ARIA in almost any way you can imagine. You shouldn't be using ARIA without referring to this guide.

Accessibility Testing

There's a lot you can do to test websites and applications for accessibility without being an accessibility expert:

  • Keyboard Testing - anything you can do with a mouse, you should be able to do from the keyboard. Here's how to check.
  • Visual Testing - you can do a few basic visual tests using only your web browser and Windows settings.
  • Screen Reader Testing - testing with a screen reader is harder than it seems. Here's how to get started, but don't do it without getting some training.
  • Testing Standards - the process the State of Illinois follows when testing accessibility.

Accessibility Testing Tools

There are a number of free tools that can help you test accessibility. NONE of these tools can test everything that's required to be accessible. (If one says it can, don't use it!). But they're a good start:

  • axe DevTools - Deque's browser extension is reliable and careful about false positives.
  • Accessibility Insights for Web - Microsoft's browser extension uses the same rules engine as axe and adds some helpful guided and manual tests.
  • ARC Toolkit - TPGi's browser extension is a little more aggressive, which is good as long as you can recognize false positives.
  • WAVE - WebAIM's browser extension and web-based tester is probably the easiest to use and understand, but has some technical limitations. (It can't yet test within iframes or shadow DOMs.)
  • Why Automated Accessibility Testing Isn't Enough - read this before you try any automated testing tool.

Test Pages & Examples