WAVE from WebAIM

Using WAVE to run a quick accessibility test of your page


WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) was developed by the Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) organization. WAVE is a user-friendly web accessibility evaluation tool that provides valuable insights into potential accessibility issues on websites. In this article, we will explore how you can effectively use WAVE to meet accessibility standards.

Accessing WAVE

You can go to the WebAIM website to access the WAVE browser extension. Alternatively, Chrome users can install it from the Chrome Web Store.

Understanding WebAIM’s WAVE

WebAIM’s WAVE is a web-based tool that allows you to assess your web pages for accessibility barriers. It provides a comprehensive report, identifying potential issues and offering helpful suggestions for improving accessibility. The tool is free.

  • Running an Evaluation - Once on the WAVE evaluation page or while browsing a specific webpage using the extension, you can initiate the evaluation process by clicking the “Evaluate” button. WAVE will then analyze the webpage’s elements and provide a detailed accessibility report.

  • Interpreting the WAVE Report - The WAVE report is divided into three main sections:

    • Errors - This section highlights accessibility issues that need immediate attention. Errors are significant barriers that prevent certain users from accessing content. Examples include missing alternative text for images, incorrect heading structure, and empty links.

    • Alerts - The alerts section includes potential issues that may affect accessibility. While not as severe as errors, alerts should still be addressed to enhance the user experience for all visitors. Common alerts include low contrast ratios, missing form labels, and empty buttons.

    • Features - The features section lists accessibility features present on the webpage, such as ARIA landmarks and roles. This section can help you confirm that they have appropriately implemented accessibility enhancements.

  • Understanding the Visual Feedback - In addition to the detailed report, WAVE also provides visual feedback directly on the webpage. Icons and color-coded indicators are placed alongside problematic elements, making it easier for you to identify and locate accessibility issues visually.

  • Using the Issue Details Panel - For each accessibility issue, WAVE offers a detailed description and guidance on how to address it. You can click on the issue to reveal the Issue Details panel, where they will find an explanation of the problem and recommended solutions.

  • Utilizing the Contrast Checker - WAVE includes a built-in contrast checker tool that allows you to test the color contrast of text and background elements. This feature helps ensure that text remains legible for users with visual impairments. It is limited in that it cannot compare some of the more modern color standards like RGBA, HSL, and HSLA.

  • Evaluating Dynamic Content - WAVE can assess the accessibility of dynamically generated content and single-page applications. You can use this functionality to verify that your website remains accessible even as content changes dynamically.


Implementing WAVE’s suggestions not only helps you comply with legal requirements but also fosters a more positive and inclusive user experience for all visitors. By using WAVE regularly and proactively addressing accessibility issues, you can contribute to a more inclusive and accessible internet for everyone.

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Last modified August 3, 2023 by Scott C Wilson (a0a04d0).