Why is the number of Accessibility issues shown on the Page Report different than the number shown in the Accessibility module?

Modified on: Thu, 1 Jul, 2021 at 5:32 PM

Note: This article refers to our old accessibility product. Information on our current next-generation Accessibility product can be found in Learn more about Accessibility NextGen

In some cases, you may notice a difference between the number of Accessibility issues shown on the Page Report than in the Accessibility module.

This article explains, why this might happen, what you can currently do to reconcile the discrepancy, and what we are doing to resolve this issue once and for all.

During the crawl, your website is checked for Accessibility issues. The Siteimprove Accessibility crawler emulates a Google Chrome browser. The issues found and the number of occurrences of each issue are then updated within the Accessibility module. This number is saved from the last crawl, but when you generate the Page Report, the number of occurrences you see there are live. In the intervening time, there are a number of factors which can cause fewer or more occurrences to appear on the Page Report than listed in the platform.

Siteimprove currently relies 100% on the Page Report to re-find and highlight issues originally found during the crawl.

These factors include: the browser you are using, whether CSS and JavaScript are enabled, and the nature of the dynamic content on your webpage.

If the number of occurrences in the platform is higher than the number listed on the Page Report, here are some things you can try to re-locate the missing occurrences on the Page Report:

Recheck the page

Re-checking the page will update the results if changes have been made to assets (e.g. CSS or JavaScript) since the last crawl. To recheck, use the recheck button on the top menu bar of the Page Report.

Try using a Chrome browser

Browsers can interpret web pages differently, and as the accessibility checker emulates Google Chrome, we advise viewing the Page Report in Google Chrome if there is a discrepancy.

Toggle the CSS and JavaScript buttons on/off

Issues seen in the Accessibility Page Report are live. Assets such as CSS, and JavaScript may not have been available to the crawler at the time of the initial check, potentially creating a discrepancy between the checking environment and the page report environment. Try toggling the CSS and JavaScript buttons on/off when debugging any discrepancies.

Change the screen resolution

Siteimprove runs accessibility checks in a 1280 x 1024 resolution. If a responsive page is opened in the Page Report in a different screen size, the number of occurrences may differ from the number previously shown in the Page Report. Try a 1280 x 1024 screen resolution if there is a difference in the number of occurrences. Refresh the page (Ctrl + F5 / Cmd + R) after changing screen resolution.

Use the Siteimprove Accessibility checker (chrome extension)

Users have encountered issues loading assets into the Page Report as they are blocked due to cross-site scripting. In these cases, we suggest you view the accessibility results using the Siteimprove Accessibility checker chrome extension.

Still getting mixed results?

If you have tried the above and still have a discrepancy between the number of occurrences in the platform and on the Page Report, it’s likely related to the dynamic content.

Dynamic content can:

  • be inserted/removed while a page is loading

  • be inserted/removed after the page has loaded

  • change each time a page is loaded depending on location, time, cookies etc.

  • change over time

i.e. content viewed in a browser may be different from the content checked by a crawler like ours.

A lower number of issues or no occurrences on the Page Report is a good thing from your website’s end-user perspective.

From a Siteimprover users’ perspective, it can be very frustrating trying to address issues that are flagged in reports but cannot be located. These are essentially false positives – issues that are technically seen by our checking engine but not relevant to your website’s typical users in a browser.

What can I do right now?

In the Page Report, you have the possibility to mark an issue as “Can’t fix” for either one specific page or the entire site. This will remove the issue and its occurrences for that page by ignoring them. However, this should be seen as a temporary solution, since all future occurrences of the issue will not be flagged until that decision is undone. Decisions can be undone in the decisions section of the accessibility module.

What is Siteimprove doing to avoid inconsistencies in results?

To address this issue we are developing a new accessibility checker engine that can perform checks and present results in a consistent environment. This means that when you open the Page Report you will be presented with an exact snapshot-in-time from when we ran our checks.

There will be no discrepancies in the number of occurrences because there will no longer be a discrepancy in the environments.

This project work requires an overhaul of our existing checking engine and some of our infrastructure. The good news is that it's already underway!

It will take some time until this work is complete. We appreciate your patience and will repay this by delivering a new and improved engine to manage your accessibility issues with more accuracy and confidence than ever before.

Find out more about Siteimprove's Next Generation Accessibility checker project. 

If you have further questions, feel free to contact Siteimprove Technical Support with your request.