IBM has launched a new design toolkit called Equal Access Toolkit to give designers and developers the tools they need to make their websites and applications accessible.

The open source IBM Equal Access Toolkit is a public set of guidelines to help deliver phase-based guidance about accessibility to all members of a team creating an enterprise offering, Si McAleer from IBM said in a blog post.

The Accessibility Checker, part of an open suite of automation tools, is a browser extension that allows developers or auditors to evaluate a web-based component or solution for accessibility issues.

The project comes in handy as it includes guidance on what’s needed at each stage of development; inclusive of initial research through planning, design, development, verification and launch. “Each guideline comes in bite-sized snippets to highlight where team members should focus their attention and get the most value at the most efficient pace,” explained McAleer.

The project also offers a prioritized breakdown of accessibility requirements at each stage; test automation; and browser-based accessibility checking with powerful navigation and built-in help that supports learning exactly the right information, at exactly the right time.

With the IBM Equal Access Toolkit, product teams can create accessible tools along the way without the need for an accessibility expert or formal education. Designers and developers can look forward to filling in gaps as they go without a loss of continuity, the blog post added.

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