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How Do I Test Website in A Text-only Browser?

Checking your site using a text-only browser is an excellent way to find out how accessible it really is. If you find it easy to navigate your site using a text-only browser, it’s likely that visitors using screen readers will too.

You can view pages from your site using Lynx, a text-only browser, through the online Lynx Viewer. While this is a useful test, Lynx is free to download and install, so you may as well install a copy on your system. This option provides the added advantage of testing pages before you upload them to the Web.

Linux/Unix Users

You may find that Lynx is already installed on your system; otherwise, you should be able to obtain a copy easily via your package management system. Alternatively, you can download the source from the Lynx software distribution site.

Windows Users

Installing Lynx on Windows used to be a tricky process, but now an installer is available from csant.info.5 Download and run the installer, which will also make Lynx available from your Start menu.

Mac OS X Users

Lynx for Mac OS X is available from the Apple web site.

Discussion

Lynx behaves consistently across all platforms, but you’ll need to learn a few simple commands in order to use it for web browsing. To open a web page, hit G and enter the URL. Press Enter, and Lynx will load that URL. If the site that you’re trying to visit uses any form of cookies, Lynx will ask you if you wish to accept them. Type Y for yes, N for no, A to accept cookies from that site always, or V to ensure that you never accept cookies from that site.

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