QUAIL ( quailjs.org ) is a piece of software that uses more than 200 tests to assess if web content conforms to the widely used Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Kevin Miller, a web developer at California State University, Monterey Bay, developed the first version in 2009 after he found other accessibility checkers that he used in his job too limited. “I wrote QUAIL out of frustration about what products were out there at the time,” Miller told E-Access Bulletin.
Issues for which QUAIL can test include seeing if headers on web pages are being used correctly; if links to other pages make sense when read on their own – perhaps by a screen-reader; and if images have appropriate text to describe them for someone who cannot see the image. It can be used to provide accessibility checking for any web page, including learning management systems, social media sites or content management systems.
The software is aimed primarily at developers and content authors. “Ultimately, the goal was to provide instant feedback to content creators, kind of like spell-check-as-you-type lets users know they misspelled a word with a red underline, QUAIL can do the same about images missing a description … When a document is easier to read for everyone, it’s also a big win for users with assistive technology” Miller said.
Speaking about how he would like to develop the software in the future, Miller said that QUAIL can help make accessibility testing a more automated and integrated experience, by registering and testing every change made when a web application is being built, for example.