Interpreting Test Results

It's not always easy to understand results from accessibility testing, but we hope these explanations will help.

  • Note that some of the violations and warnings may relate to the code and must be addressed by the developers. However, you will be responsible for anything related to the content you put on the site.
  • If you see violations related to the code, ask your developers how they want to handle the errors.

The following address some of the most common errors over which you will have control:

Violations versus Warnings

  • Violations are things that are wrong and don’t meet compliance standards. Violations must be fixed!
  • Warnings show possible violations and should be checked manually.


  • If you have used headings for layout purposes and not in a clear, logical order, you may get this error. Headings should be sequential, and only the title of the page should be an H1.
  • To avoid violations related to headings, don't format your text by using headings.


  • Often these are violations of the alt text requirements. All images relevant to the understanding of the content must have succinct alternative text that gives meaning to the image. Non-relevant images (images of people, etc.) do not need alt text.
  • Violations sometimes regard the use of images for tables or charts. Don't use images in place of these as images will make them inaccessible.


  • These violations are often because two or more links that lead to different destinations have the same text (Click here, Read more, etc.). All links should be distinguishable and give clear indications as to where they will lead.
  • Tips on using links are available on the A11y Project site.


  • One type of violation concerns table captions. If you omit them, your visitors using assistive technology may not be able to make sense of the relationships in the table or determine what is relevant.
  • Tables are also not to be used to create the layout of a page as this makes it difficult for screen readers to make sense of the page. Also, with different screen sizes, this is problematic.
  • Don’t use table summaries unless necessary since screen readers will read the summaries before they read the table itself.