The axe-con logo and a diverse set of hands holding a heart together

Deque’s fourth annual axe-con does it again with nearly 30k digital accessibility champions in attendance

Axe-con is a digital accessibility conference that took place virtually February 20-22, 2024. Over 75 experts from companies such as Adobe, ADP, Amazon, GitHub, Hilton, HSBC, PNC, Proctor and Gamble, Ubisoft, and more shared their expertise on what it takes to build and expand upon digital accessibility efforts in this rapidly expanding space.

During the conference, developers, designers, business executives, and accessibility professionals from 158 countries expressed the demand for efficient, simple, and practical digital accessibility testing practices to help ensure a more accessible digital experience for all, including people with disabilities.

“The community response we see during axe-con is truly heartwarming and energizing. In a profession that is susceptible to burnout, events like this remind us about the positive difference we’re making and that there are tens of thousands of others working toward the same goal. It gets better every year.” – Glenda Sims, Chief Information Accessibility Officer, Deque Systems.

New to axe-con this year were “Watch Parties,” where local event organizers from around the globe assembled groups ranging from 3 to 150 to watch live and recorded sessions together, followed by a lively discussion. Gareth Ford Williams attended at HSBC UK in London and reflected on his experience: “Today was absolutely brilliant. Connecting out with your community again at something like this and finding out all these great ideas and great energy that’s happening. It’s just great.”

This year’s axe-con speakers emphasized the role of human-centric and ethical AI in digital accessibility. Evident in talks like Dr. Rumman Chowdhury’s “Responsible and Ethical AI“ and “Human-Centered AI and Accessibility” with Preety Kumar and Dylan Barrell, as well as “How AI will help us re-invent accessibility, lower industry load, and cover more disabilities.” with Gregg Vanderheiden.

“We want to make digital accessibility easy and ubiquitous. That is a serious endeavor and we have to make sure AI helps. Doing so in a responsible manner means having “humans in the loop” including people with disabilities.” – Preety Kumar, CEO, Deque Systems

We made several new announcements during axe-con this week:

  1. Axe Awards at axe-con 2024
  2. Deque University is offering early access to a new AI tool and automated consultant, axe Adviser.
  3. Deque Adds New Appium Plugin to axe DevTools Mobile

This year’s axe awards recognized individuals and organizations making important contributions to the world of accessibility. Winners included HSBC UK, Google and GitHub, and Jennison Asuncion, who received the annual Jim Thatcher Lifetime Achievement Award. These people and organizations raise the bar for inclusion everywhere. We’re proud to showcase their achievements and encourage others to follow their lead.

In addition, axe-con attendees and organizers are working to support NV Access, a nonprofit supporting the NVDA screen reader application, and Black Girls Code, a nonprofit supporting young women of color to embrace programming and technology.

Couldn’t tune into axe-con live? Registrants can view sessions on demand at:

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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