Illustration of a magnifying glass revealing the stat 57% from a report

Deque Study Shows Its Automated Testing Identifies 57 Percent of Digital Accessibility Issues, Surpassing Accepted Industry Benchmarks

 Results of Extensive Data Set Redefine Limits of Automated “Accessibility Coverage”

HERNDON, VA – March 10, 2021 – Deque Systems, the trusted leader in digital accessibility, today announced results of a large study which shows the total of digital accessibility issues identified through its automated technology – 57 percent – is much higher than the widely-accepted belief that automated accessibility testing only provides 20-30 percent of coverage.

Study Synopsis: Deque’s study used anonymized data from over 2,000 audits in various industries, spanning over 13,000 pages (all first-time page assessments) covering nearly 300,000 issues. The automated testing in this data set was conducted using Deque’s axe suite of tools, powered by the open-source axe-core rules library. Deque found that, on average, 57 percent of accessibility issues were completely covered by this automated testing.

“When we shifted the definition of ‘accessibility coverage’ beyond the number of WCAG Success Criteria to total volume of issues, the true impact of automated testing became clear,” says Dylan Barrell, CTO, Deque Systems. “This study expands the realm of what is possible through automation, and can speed the mission of accessibility testing professionals: to ensure their digital assets are accessible to all, including people with disabilities.”

Redefining “Automated Coverage”: Measures of automated testing coverage are often based on the percentage of WCAG Success Criteria that can be tested using automated accessibility tools. Deque’s analysis shows this method of measurement downplays the effectiveness of automated testing. Measuring the total volume of issues detected by severity and impact is a more meaningful and accurate metric.

In practice, some types of issues occur much more frequently than others, which can result in a much higher percentage of total accessibility issues discovered using automated tools. It should be noted that the axe-core rules library places a huge emphasis on not reporting false positives or erroneous issues.

To download the full report, visit:

It’s clear that accessibility coverage should be calculated based on the volume of real-world data of issues that occur in the wild. This allows development teams to make a much greater impact,” says Preety Kumar, CEO, Deque Systems. “Combining automated testing with Intelligent Guided Testing™, enabled through tools such as our just-announced axe DevTools Pro, empowers organizations to achieve quick wins and sustain accessibility testing over time without having to learn the ins and outs of accessibility.”

Today’s agile development practices rely on automation to achieve maximum throughput. Managers need to plan for resources in advance and require the ability to forecast how much work can be handled by automation. The higher the number of issues that can be caught and addressed in the early stages of product development, the lower the cost. Automated tools with high coverage reduce the reliance on specialized skills and make it possible to mainstream the development of an accessible product. 

About Deque Systems

Deque (pronounced dee-cue) is a web accessibility software and services company, and our mission is Digital Equality. We believe everyone, regardless of their ability, should have equal access to the information, services, applications, and everything else on the web.

We work with enterprise-level businesses and organizations to ensure that their sites and mobile apps are accessible. Installed in over 250,000 browsers and with over 4,000 audit projects completed, Deque is the industry standard.

Axe and Intelligent Guided Testing are trademarks of Deque Systems, Inc.

News Media Contacts

At Deque:
Ryan Bateman, +1-703-225-0380,

At Deque Europe:
Ron Beenen, +31 6 28 26 78 54,

Photo of Deque Systems

About Deque Systems

Deque (pronounced dee-cue) stands for digital equality. For over 20 years, our software, services and training have helped eliminate billions of accessibility barriers from websites, mobile apps and other digital content - improving the web for everyone, including people with disabilities.

We work with enterprise-level businesses and organizations to ensure that their sites and mobile apps are accessible. Our axe tools have been downloaded over one billion times by accessibility champions around the world. Our experts have implemented thousands of successful accessibility programs. Our training has impacted over a hundred thousand learners.

Deque is the digital accessibility industry standard.
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