Running scans is one of the most important part of your project. It will aid in keeping a timeline of your progress, and also help look for new issues within the code of your website that may have been previously overlooked. All scan settings and data is available within the Scans section. The Web Accessibility Team advises that scans should be handled by the team’s Accessibility Liaison to ensure smooth workflow.
It can sometimes take around an hour to possibly several hours for a scan to finish. Scan times can fluctuate greatly depending on several factors:
- How many pages the scan needs to screen.
- How many types of issues you’re scanning for.
- If there are complex pages or files that it needs to also sort through.
- If you are saving local copies of the pages to view the source code. (This is on by default.)
At the beginning of a project, the Web Accessibility Team will provide a baseline scan, called the Initial Scan, for your team to begin with. During the process of working through issues with the Accessibility Liaison of your team, the scan specifics can be changed and updated. This will allow a more batched process of tackling issues, versus having everything available all at once. This does not mean that a team is unable to create their own scans. Please be aware though that multiple scans will produce multiple results which will all pile on top of one another.
The Initial Scan
When a project within an Organization is created, the Web Accessibility Team creates what we call the ‘Initial Scan’. This scan is generally labeled after the website to which the project is created for, and is the default scan. The Initial Scan is generally set for a ‘one step’ level and is not set for a consistent schedule.
From the Scan Menu the following options are available for the Initial Scan:
- Edit: Edit the options of the scan.
- View: See the recently completed tasks of the scan OR watch it in action.
- Start Scan: Immediately start this scan once more.
- Schedule: Schedule the scan to start in the future, or have it done during certain frequencies such as monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly- as well as a safety mechanism to turn it off if it exceeds a certain time or after a number of failures.
Scans can be started or scheduled regardless of how many issues are still left in your Project Dashboard. It will go through the site once more, and only add issues currently not in the report. This is also an excellent way of tracking progress.
Creating a Scan
The Initial Scan created by the Web Accessibility Team is the baseline scan created with the project. It can be edited and manipulated by project administrators. This does not mean that your team is not allowed to generate your own scans.
Custom scans allow for a multitude of additions that may be convenient for pages with more complex infrastructures or behind user login walls. With these cans a team can:
- Modify settings for Accessibility, PDF, Mobile, or Quality analysis separate from the Organization default.
- Limit items from the scan such as:
- Specific URLs.
- MIME types and file types.
- Strings of text in a URL or page.
- Change scan parameters to:
- Require strings of text in a URL or page.
- Setting URL parameters to consider unique pages.
- Change the maximum number of pages to crawl and scan.
- Utilize use case scripts such as:
- Logging into the site.
- Filing and submitting forms.
- Interacting with a shopping cart.
- Loop through values by providing list of parameters into a script (example: Zip codes / selected countries dropdowns).
- Set a predetermined schedule for the scan.
- Spider crawl through pages for the sake of finding pages.
New scans can be created from the Scans section. It provides a wealthy source of options to customize a scan which allow flexibility for both your team and your website. Due to the complexity of the settings and the unique cases to which custom scans may be created, please refer to the axe Monitor User Guide to elaborate on creating a custom scan.