How to test early

Testing early can help resolve many accessibility issues – before they happen. Read this article to learn more about how and why to test accessibility earlier.

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Amber Knabl, Customer Success Manager

“Fable strongly believes that the most effective testing occurs prior to code hitting a production environment. For this reason, we have compiled some ways that you can consider using to evaluate your products or designs earlier in the development lifecycle.

Prototypes

Invision, Figma, XD 

Fable’s platform makes it easy to engage with our testers, in order to perform prototype reviews using all of the most popular prototyping tools.  When performing a prototype review, you can either share the link to the prototype directly in the live links field, or share your screen over Zoom and review the prototype that way, depending on your security needs.  This works extremely well for screen magnification and alternative navigation users.  For more tips on prototype reviews, we have also written this article with a collection of other tips that you may find helpful.   

Screen Reader Users

It is not currently possible to conduct prototype reviews with screen reader users on the Fable platform.  This is because the majority of prototyping tools do not produce output that is compatible with screen readers.  If you would like to conduct a prototype review with a screen reader user, you will need to adapt the prototype.  You can: 

  • Use a tool that produces HTML prototypes 
  • Create a low fidelity prototype using Microsoft Excel, Word, or Google Docs or Sheets.   

Once you have an adapted prototype, you may review it with screen reader users by booking a user interview.  For help with the process of producing a screen reader accessible prototype, feel free to contact your Customer Success Manager, or book support hours, for tips and direction on the process.   

Web-based products

HTTP Basic Authentication

HTTP Basic Authentication (BA) implementation is the simplest technique for enforcing access controls to web resources because it does not require cookies, session identifiers, or login pages; rather, HTTP Basic Authentication uses standard fields in the HTTP header 

Basic access authentication 

  1. Set up HTTP Basic Authentication on an environment which is publicly accessible (e.g. possibly a staging or UAT environment)
  2. Provide HTTP Basic credentials in the Special Instructions field when creating Fable Requests

Test accounts with targeted feature flags

  1. Create properly conditioned test account(s) in a publicly accessible environment (e.g. production)
  2. “properly conditioned” means that the test account is in the correct state to be able to be used to perform the desired testing
  3. If necessary for the testing to be done, configure feature flags to enable pre-production features specifically for the test account(s)
  4. Provide the credentials for the test account(s) in the Special Instructions field when creating Fable Requests
  5. If an email address is needed for login, authentication, or account creation, Fable can create shared email addresses that testers can use, and share those addresses with you, so you can correctly identify test accounts even before creation.

Native applications 

Mobile apps

We’ve had success with TestFlight and BuddyBuild for providing access to beta / pre-production apps for our Testers to install. 

In the case of TestFlight, you will need to provide an invite link in the environment to allow our testers to install the beta app you would like to test.  You can find more information on the process of creating an invite link on this page from Apple, under the heading “using public links to invite testers”.  Unfortunately, we do not currently support inviting testers by Email, in order to preserve the privacy of our Testers.   

Similarly, if testing an app via BuddyBuild, you will need to provide the BuddyBuild link to install your beta app under the environment.  As BuddyBuild provides a choice of multiple versions to install when you provide the link to your app, it is important that you also indicate exactly what version of the app you would like the tester to install.

What about VPN?

Unfortunately, creating and deploying a VPN solution that is accessible across the multiple platforms, countries, and assistive technologies that we support is prohibitively complicated.  VPN would need to fully support video and audio sharingbe easy to use, accessible across all platforms, with every assistive technology we support, while preserving the security and privacy of our testers and customers.  Currently, there is no VPN solution on the market that meets Fable’s accessibility, security, and quality requirements.  This means that unfortunately, we are unable to test products that are only available behind a VPN.  Consider using one of the techniques outlined above, in order to help get the things you would like to test available outside of the VPN.