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Accessibility: Reviewing Potential Issues

Modified on: Thu, 2 Nov, 2023 at 9:57 PM

One of the most exciting and engaging features for your team in the new Accessibility product is the ability to review potential accessibility issues found by our checks.

This article gives an overview of the "potential issues" feature, including: 

What is a “potential issue”?

A potential issue is defined as an accessibility rule that requires human review. After the review, Siteimprove is able to determine if the potential issue should be considered an issue in need of fixing.

Within the new product, accessibility issues are no longer labeled as “Errors”, “Warnings” or “Review Items”. Instead, there are two types of checks:  Issues and Potential Issues.

Issues are automated checks for WCAG conformance based on the ACT ruleset.  An issue means the content fails to meet the relevant success criteria, either because content or code is missing or incorrect.  

Potential Issues are comprised of “assisted” checks for WCAG conformance. This means that content is flagged as a potential issue, however, we need human input to complete the check regarding the success criteria.

Best Practice checks are included in Issues and Potential Issues.

Note that there are also now Resolved Issues in the platform, which displays all of the issues that have been resolved, regardless of where they originated. 

Are Potential Issues WCAG requirements?

Yes, WCAG requirements are A, AA, and AAA issues and potential issues. Issues and potential issues can be WCAG requirements and best practices.

How do I review a Potential Issue?

With Potential Issues, accessibility testing is taken to the next level. We have built an assisted workflow inside the platform where users are guided through a step-by-step review process to evaluate the content of their website that could potentially be problematic from an accessibility perspective.   There are potential issue reviews for HTML5 and ARIA code, text, images, and videos, etc.

From the Potential Issues page, users are asked to assist the Siteimprove robot in reviewing potential issues, to assess if they are in fact accessibility issues.

You can review Potential Issues from the Page Report in the following ways:

  • Answer simple questions - For each occurrence on the page, the user is presented with a number of questions that can be answered by inspecting the element in question, either in the Page View or HTML view. In some cases, the user is asked to point to certain elements on the page to show us how the issue has been resolved.
  • Additional information - Help icons containing additional information or explanation about the content are available at each step.
  • User inputs to determine the issue - Through your inputs, we can then determine whether the content contains any outstanding accessibility issues, or in fact, there are no issues present or, a solution has already been applied to resolve the issue in question.
  • Reuse the answers - You may also reuse your answers if you have the same occurrences on multiple questions.

Example 1: Does the video have captions?

This means that the Siteimprove crawler has detected a video on the page, however, like a robot, it cannot play the video and listen to determine whether there is an audio track that requires closed captioning.

Through the guided flow, a user can complete a review of the video and determine there is an audio track.  They now answer “No” - there is no closed captioning on the video.

With this input, Siteimprove determines that “This is an issue” and moves the check from the Potential Issues listing to the Issues listing.  Immediately, the platform now shows there is a new Issue, that the team can start working on getting fixed.

Example 2: Does the video contain a multimedia alternative?

In this case, the guided flow would be similar, but there would be a question that will ask whether there is a media alternative present on the page for the video.   If there is a textual transcript available for the video, your team can highlight to the Siteimprove crawler where it exists – as text on the webpage, in the HTML code, or as a PDF download through a link.  In this case, the review would be completed with the outcome, “This is not an issue”.  The issue would be removed from Potential Issues and then listed in Resolved Issues. Done!

After any review, you can complete another review on the same Page Report or return to the Potential Issues page.  

The check will now be present on the Issues page.  

Accessibility Potential Issues video

Video Transcript file (.docx): Using Accessibility: Potential Issues

Why should I review Potential Issues?

Better and broader coverage of websites. With this input from users, Siteimprove is able to determine whether certain accessibility issues do in fact exist on a website – e.g. the code and/or content is present on the page - and can thereby provide users with better and broader coverage in ensuring accessible websites.

Assisted reviews and testing completed inside the platform. Your team can conduct some testing right inside the platform, where results are immediate and there is insight into the decisions for training and education purposes.  Share your knowledge across teams.

More engagement and control over your own content. As a user, your input, through the steps of the guided flow, helps Siteimprove learn more about how you have coded and designed your website.  Similarly, users on your team have more accountability and ownership related to their content for accessibility.  

Can anyone on my team complete a review of Potential issues?

Reviewing potential issues is available to all users but might be restricted to certain user roles in the future.

The guided flow is not technical – it is designed for those team members with little to no technical knowledge, and you do not need to be an accessibility expert.

The review flow is intuitive and guides you through a series of questions that require simple interaction with the webpage such as verifying that there is audio on a video.

Can I edit or reverse the decision on a potential issue?

Yes, within the guided flow there is an option to remove the answers provided in a previous review to clear the review.

There is also the ability to see who completed a review and on what date.

What should I prioritize first: Potential Issues or Issues?

This is a decision that is entirely up to your team and what operates best within your workflow.  Some teams like to tackle the list of Potential Issues first, conducting the guided step-by-step flow to identify issues that will be added to their existing Issues list before getting started. Others prefer to tackle true Issues first and leave Potential Issues as a second priority.  It is up to you! Related Product Walkthrough: How to Prioritize Accessibility Issues

More information on the updated Accessibility product 

Visit this page for a full overview of the key features in the updated Accessibility product.

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