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Accessibility: Troubleshooting "instances we cannot re-find"

Guðrún Unnur Gústafsdóttir avatar
By Guðrún Unnur Gústafsdóttir

When it comes to Accessibility, a website is first crawled and when a crawl is complete, the site will be checked for accessibility issues. Sometimes, Siteimprove finds more issues in the crawl than can be displayed in the Page Report. When this happens, the issues will be displayed as  "Instances we cannot refind" in the Page Report. This often happens when instances which were found in a previous crawl do not exist on the page anymore (according to the most recent crawl).


Instances we cannot refind displayed in the Page Report

Why does this happen?

The only information that is saved from the latest crawl is the number of instances of each accessibility check. Therefore, Siteimprove 100% relies on the Page Report to be able to refind the issues. 
We have complied a table of potential causes why "instances we cannot re-find" is displayed in your Page Report.

Potential Cause Description Examples Workaround
Browser differences Browsers interpret web pages differently, and some things can in fact cause accessibility issues in one browser, but not another. Siteimprove uses Google Chrome for finding accessibility issues after a crawl of the website is complete. You use the Firebox browser. The Firefox browser interprets web pages differently than Chrome.  Try using Chrome to align better with the crawl results.
Updated assets   Siteimprove always uses live assets for checking pages for accessibility issues, including checks in the Page Report. If changes have been made to assets since a crawl was last made, results will be different on the Page Report.  You've updated JavaScript files and therefore eliminated some accessibility issues that caused "Instances we cannot refind".  Re-crawling the page or refreshing the page (refreshing the browser) will update the crawl numbers to match the current assets found on the page.
 Screen sizes  Siteimprove runs accessibility checks in a 1280x1024 resolution. If a page is responsive and is opened in the Page Report in a different screen size, the number of instances might differ from what Siteimprove has found previously in the Page Report. Responsive websites Resize the Page Report window and refresh the page. 
Siteimprove has made updates to accessibility checks  When Siteimprove updates its accessibility checks, it may not take effect on a customer's site until a crawl has taken place. When updates are made, it can cause fewer instances to show up on the Page Report ("Issues we cannot refind"). The Page Report is always updated immediately, but the saved number of instances will stay the same until a re-crawl of the website is made.  Landmark checks are updated due to a change in WAI-ARIA specifications. The update is made so false positives do not occur according to the new specification.  Re-crawl the website to try and rectify the issue.


Further troubleshooting

If the above troubleshooting principles don't seem to work, try checking the specific page in Siteimprove's Accessibility Checker

Siteimprove continuously updates its checks to reflect changes in technologies and accessibility guidelines. We always strive to present to our customers the most accurate results for their accessibility issues, and this continues to be an ongoing project. Currently, we are focusing on providing our customers with accurate results for pages that include dynamic content. Stay tuned!

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