Automated local accessibility testing using WAVE and WebDriver

I wrote a while back about automated WCAG 2.0 accessibility testing in our build pipeline.

My solution involved capturing the HTML of each unique page in our application visited via WebDriver, then navigating to the online WAVE tool to check the accessibility of each chunk of HTML, all done during a dedicated accessibility stage of our build pipeline.

That was working pretty well until I noticed our IP address was starting to become blocked by WAVE due to a unreasonable number of checks… Doh!

Locally we’ve all been using the Firefox WAVE toolbar, as it’s very easy to run against a locally running instance of our application. Which made me think: how do I automate the Firefox WAVE toolbar to avoid having to use the WAVE web site alltogether?

Today I changed our accessibility tests to use the WAVE toolbar. It was a bit of a pain since we use Windows and the WAVE toolbar seems to be broken in configuring Firefox shortcut keys to trigger accessibility checks.

What I ended up doing is firing the keystrokes needed to run the check via the Tools menu in Firefox. I then check the DOM to ensure there are no WAVE errors and screenshot it and fail the test if there are. Quite simple really, and it works very reliably and quickly.

Makes me think I should have done this to start with, but a good outcome nonetheless.

Some C# WebDriver code to do this follows. This should be easy to adapt to another language.

using System;
using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;
using OpenQA.Selenium;
using OpenQA.Selenium.Firefox;
using System.Drawing.Imaging;

namespace Dominos.OLO.Html5.Tests.Acceptance
    public class AccessibilityTests
        public void AccessibilityTest()
            var profile = new FirefoxProfile();
            var driver = new FirefoxDriver(profile);


            var b = driver.FindElement(By.TagName("body"));
            b.SendKeys(Keys.Alt + "T");

            var waveTips = driver.FindElements(By.ClassName("wave4tip"));
            if (waveTips.Count == 0) Assert.Fail("Could not locate any WAVE validations - please ensure that WAVE is installed correctly");
            foreach (var waveTip in waveTips)
                if (!waveTip.GetAttribute("alt").StartsWith("ERROR:")) continue;
                var fileName = String.Format("{0}{1}{2}", "WAVE", DateTime.Now.ToString("HHmmss"), ".png");
                var screenShot = ((ITakesScreenshot)driver).GetScreenshot();
                screenShot.SaveAsFile(fileName, ImageFormat.Png);
                Assert.Fail("WAVE errors were found on the page. Please see screenshot for details");

and finally the resulting screenshot:

Apple WAVE check results

3 thoughts on “Automated local accessibility testing using WAVE and WebDriver

  1. Wow! I was not aware that this had been already done. Anyway, you may be interested to look at our solution:

    If you look deeper into the integration, there’s just a small integration extension, which publishes required js methods to be available in the browser window namespace so that they could be called directly by Selenium. The rest is just about analyzing the results.

  2. Hi,

    Wow. This is exactly what I wanted. Thanks a lot for posting.
    Also, I am trying to extend your functionality by getting all the elements in the page that had WAVE errors. I tried to use getAttribute “label” for the webelement but it doesnt work since WAVE error elements are images inside the main div i.e. they are child elements of the div of the original element. Hence getAttribute doesnt work for WAVE errors.

    Your thoughts?

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