Accessibility Toolbars

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Accessibility Toolbars

Accessibility Toolbars

  • Recommended:
    • Download the Lynx browser
    • Accessibility Toolbars

In this lesson, we will talk about using your browser to check your pages. We will also introduce you to some accessibility toolbars and, by way of example, look more deeply at the Web Accessibilty Toolbar for Internet Explorer.

I used to recommend downloading the Lynx browser, which can still be useful. However, some of the other accessibility tools give you a text view or "Lynx view" of the current page. This view provides an appoximate idea of what a screen reader user listening to your page will hear.

Below is a list of accessibility toolbars:

  • 15 Menu buttons - detailed menu by menu documentation available on the WAT website

The Web Accessibilty Toolbar for IE

After downloading and installing the toolbar (Version 2), the menu items appear just above the browser main window. screenshot of the toolbar

The toolbar consists of a series of fifteen buttons shown in the screenshot above. Many of the buttons bring down menus of functions. The buttons are:

  1. WAT - Documentation and update function.
  2. Check - Validation tools including a Quick Check which returns the number of errors from the W3C HTML validation site in an alert box without having to display the Validator page. Two one page testing tools are included here. Also this is where you find the Lynx view option.
  3. Resize - Various options to resize the browser window.
  4. CSS - Options to Disable CSS or certain parts of CSS. Extremely useful.
  5. Images - Various options to explore the alt-text of images including Remove Images which used to be called Toggle Images and Alt; it just replaces each image with its alt-text or "No alt" in the image has no alt attribute.
  6. Colour - Options to test for contrast or view in Grayscale. The Contrast Analyser application can be launched from this menu.
  7. Structure - Functions to analyze (i.e. highlight) the semantic markup on the page, including headings and lists.
  8. Tables - This is separated out from Structure in the previous version. That definitely is helpful because the Structure menu had become too long. Here you can look, for example, at Table headers - the tool gives a black background to th cells.
  9. Frames - From the Frames menu you can navigate to specific frames or get a list of frame and iframe elements including important title information. With Version 1 of the Web Accessibilty Toolbar , none of the non-frame functions like replacing images with alt-text, worked if a page had frames. That has been corrected, and each function will be applied to each frame page in the frame set.
  10. Doc Info - Lots of information about the current document including Downloadable files, List of Links, Internal Links (In-Page links) , and JavaScript / New Window links
  11. Source - Various source code options, including the important "partial source" for highlighted text on the page. The Highlight Source menu allows you to specify which elements you are interested in, and then the source code is displayed with those elements highlighted so they are easy to find.
  12. IE - A menu of easy to access standard IE accessibility functions like Text size.
  13. Log - Press the Log button and a small edit area opens at the top of the browser. Functions add information and you can type information, and save the results.
  14. FireFox - Open the current page in Firefox - how cool is that!
  15. Opera - Open the current page in Opera!

Detailed Menu by Menu documentation is available on the WAT web site.


This tutorial is based on Webucator's Web Accessibility and Section 508 Training for Experienced Web Designers Course. We also offer many other Web Accessibility Training courses. Sign up today to get help from a live instructor.