Website Accessibility Audit Reports via GH Actions

13 Sep 2023 01:29 UTC

I promise this isn't a stalling tactic. I will be working on the accessibility violations. I wanted to create a way to easily see the report.

This is where GH Actions comes in. Currently I have a few issues that GH Actions can temporarily solve.

  • Tests have to be on a live server and not the HTML
  • Test Results need to be veiwable and optionally downloadable

Testing the new site after BEFORE publishing

One of the original issues I ran into was how to actually load the site to test it. My early tests for this were just testing against my live-url. That said it's kinda sucky to test something after you've deployed it.

Luckily I had recent solved this issue at work while writing tests for a flask application. In the cookiecutter-relecloud project. We used the multiprocess' Process method to create a background process that loads the serve. Then we run our tests and then kill the background daemon.

def run_server():
    class server(http.server.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            super().__init__(*args, directory="output", **kwargs)

    httpd = http.server.HTTPServer(('localhost', 8000), server)

def main(url: str = "http://localhost", output: str = "") -> None: 
    """Run Axe on a URL and save the results to a file.""""routes:app")
    proc = Process(target=run_server, daemon=True)
    ... # code for running tests

For those familiar with render-engine that runserver process is very similar to the render_engine.cli.serve module. In fact it's practically identical but I couldn't get it to work as I think you have to supply the function and not call it. I believe this is possible but it would require a change to the render-engine codebase.

The GitHub action to test

The GitHub action is relatively simple as we're doing the same process that we normally do with many Python-based workflows 1. Install the dependencies 2. Run the workflow 3. Generate a Summary and Artifact the File??

Okay the last thing is pretty new but it's a cool feature that I would like to use more often.

You can output results to your GH Action using the GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY value.

I cat the output of our accessibilty report to the value.

    run: |
          python --output "accessibility-report-${{}}-${{github.run_id}}.txt"
          cat "accessibility-report-${{}}-${{github.run_id}}.txt" >> $GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY

snippet of action step summary

But what if I want to compare two reports? This is where using the upload-artifact action comes into play. Upload Artifact allows us to take the report file and make it available as a download.

Accessibility Artifact in GitHub actions

Deploy after testing

I did all that work to make it so that I can test the site prior to loading the website; how do we make it a pre-requisite.

We can use Github Actions needs parameter and we call the action as a job in our deploys action.

    uses: ./.github/workflows/a11y-test.yml
    needs: runs_a11y

deploy post relying on a11y.yml

What's left

Now the goal is improvement. That being said it's very unlikely that a site that is built by a theme will add lots of breaking accessibility changes.

But that is what testing is for (catching the unexpected). My hope is I can set a value based on the violations_count parameter. That said a I do have an issue with how violations are counted.

Even though in the last post on this the report claims 3 violations, there were several errors for each violation. This means that while I can catch errors, I can't check against a total count of issues.

I'd like to figure out the best way to do this. I have some ideas with the generated report, which is in JSON.

But I'm excited to learn more about how how to ensure that my site is as accessible as possible.