Axe Updates: New Tools and Machine Learning Enhancements

We are very excited to announce the immediate availability of the 4.4 release of the axe Chrome Extension! A new Intelligent Guided Test for modal dialogs, Machine Learning enhancements to the Forms tool, improvements to the Keyboard Guided Test and an upgrade to axe-core 3.5.1 are the main highlights of the release.

Introducing the ARIA Modal Guided Test

The ARIA Modal Intelligent Guided Test is the latest test to be added to the axe Pro beta. This test is designed to help ensure an ARIA conforming implementation of your modal and alert dialogs – including focus management, correct use of ARIA properties and keyboard interaction. These can be difficult to test across all Assistive Technology (AT) and browser combinations, now axe does this for you.

In addition to evaluating the appropriate use of ARIA properties for screen readers and other AT, the ARIA Modal Guided Test goes beyond executing more complicated actions such as opening and closing dialogs to evaluate various states of dialogs and how they operate.

Screenshot of axe attempting to automatically open the modal based on inputs provided via the modal tool

Figure: Notice the axe extension is attempting to automatically open the modal based on inputs provided in a sample demo app.

Machine Learning Enhancements

Yesterday, Deque announced it was bringing Machine Learning to Accessibility Testing. Today, the Forms Intelligent Guided Test just became more intelligent and now leverages computer vision capabilities to help reduce the number of questions a user must answer manually, saving time and effort in the process.

This is just the beginning of our foray into leveraging Machine Learning to enhance accessibility testing and we look forward to expanding our use of it in the near future.

Improvements to the Keyboard Guided Test

We received quite a bit of feedback on the Keyboard Intelligent Guided Test and we have made quite a few adjustments as a result. Namely, it no longer raises issues when the focus indication is deemed insufficient. This check was based on a draft version of WCAG 2.2 and has been rolled back (we got a little ahead of ourselves).

Upgrade to axe-core v3.5.1

This upgrade is a significant improvement as the algorithms responsible for evaluating color contrast have been completely reworked, resulting in significantly enhanced performance. Users will notice scans complete more quickly and pages that would fail to scan entirely now return full results.

Upcoming Releases

The team behind the axe extension is hard at work on a number of improvements and can’t wait to share the fruits of their labor. Stay tuned to this blog and our Twitter feed in the coming months for a number of enhancements and improvements coming to your favorite accessibility extension as well as information about general availability.

Upgrade to the axe Pro beta for free and try our 8 guided tests, manage multiple tests, export results, and more…

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