At the wireframe stage the website exists only in graphical form, perhaps in PhotoShop format or PDF. Nevertheless it is possible to assess a subset of the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) checkpoints even though no code has yet been written.
In addition it is possible to identify potential issues and provide guidance for the developers and content creators, such as the recommended semantic structure.
Checkpoints that can be assessed may include the following – depending on the level of detail that is present.
- All information conveyed with colour is also available without colour, for example from context
- There is sufficient colour and brightness contrast between text and backgrounds. This will be applied to both text and graphical representations of text
- The use of markup rather than images to convey information
- The use of heading, subheadings and lists to divide large blocks of information into more manageable groups
- The destination of links is clear from the link text (e.g. don't use 'click here' or 'read more')
- The existence of a sitemap page or table of contents
- Consistent use of navigation mechanisms
- Appropriate labelling of form controls
- Consistency of presentation style
Other accessibility issues may be identified depending on the content of the pages and the degree to which the site's structure and behaviour can be determined from the wireframes.