I just published an update to Access Monitor, and based on some of the feedback I’ve gotten, I want to talk about a handy trick for using Access Monitor more effectively. The feedback amounts to concerns about the amount of processing time Access Monitor can consume. This is fair – after all, if you want to test 50 pages of your site every day, that could be a lot of queries to Tenon, and those can each take a healthy chunk of processing time, depending on the response time from Tenon.
I can easily imagine a large site with a lot to check ending up with a crazy amount of processing spent on testing the accessibility of their WordPress-based web site.
But here’s the crazy trick: you don’t need to run Access Monitor on the site you’re testing.
It’s obviously easy to set up Access Monitor directly on your main web site, but it’s by no means required. If you want to use the admin testing to review your WordPress admin pages, that’s got to happen on the site you’re testing. But for front-end testing, all Access Monitor needs to receive from you is a set of URLs to test – and those can be any publically-available URLs.
If you want to use Access Monitor to run a weekly test of the homepages of Apple, Google, and Microsoft – you can do that. If you want to set up dozens of different tests for each site you manage – you can do that, too.
This can be a huge advantage – you don’t have to clutter up your client’s web sites with an installation of Access Monitor – just maintain your own installation, and configure a set of tests for each site. No need to worry about various hosting characteristics – pick what you’re happy with. No need for tons of complex plug-ins that need to be worked around – just set it up on a vanilla site.
I have some future features in development that are seriously awesome, and do depend on having Access Monitor installed in that site – but you’d still be able to set up all of your ongoing testing in an independent site.
I’m aware that when you go to create an Accessibility Report in Access Monitor, it pre-fills the fields with your home page, your most recently created page, and your most recent post – but those are just suggestions. The actual pages you test can be absolutely anything.