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Deque’s Second Annual Axe-Con Marks The Year of Accessibility, With Over 26,000 Registrations in the Largest Accessibility Conference of its Kind

It’s been a busy week for the Deque team, but one that’s energized us around our mission to lead the industry in digital accessibility. At the time of this post, we’re in the process of wrapping up our second annual axe-con Digital Accessibility Conference, which took place virtually on March 15-17, 2022. If you were able to join us, thank you for your contributions to the accessibility community.

As ableism continues to make headlines, it’s time to accelerate how we tackle challenges around digital accessibility – and that’s why axe-con is centered around building accessible experiences. The event is a virtual digital accessibility conference that welcomes developers, designers, business executives and accessibility professionals to a new kind of accessibility conference. Not only is the annual event virtual, it’s completely open and inclusive, with free entry, an enforced code of conduct, stellar Speakers from around the globe and of course – built with a commitment to digital accessibility.

At this year’s event, industry leaders – from companies like Google, Microsoft, Disney, Verizon, Peloton and more – shared their expertise on topics ranging from building accessibility into design and development to how to find organizational success with accessibility. Building off of the success of its inaugural year in 2021, axe-con hosted the largest assembly of accessibility professionals ever, reaching a global audience of more than 26,000 registrants and featuring over 100 expert speakers.

The overwhelming interest and dynamic discussions at axe-con all point to one clear trend: the accelerating growth of accessibility importance and impact across industries, which is driving the need for high velocity accessibility. Clearly, it’s critical for both business growth and development speed. High velocity accessibility is driven by relevant automation that engages business, development, design and other teams across the organization. It’s a high bar that customers are setting for their own organizations, but with the latest announcements and releases we’ve made, we’re optimistic about delivering on the needs this community has expressed.

“The fact that over 25,000 people are attending axe-con this year is amazing but it also doesn’t surprise me – this is very much aligned with the increased interest and commitment to accessibility I’m seeing in my research at Forrester,” said Gina Bhawalkar, Principal Analyst, Forrester during her axe-con session, Augment Your Design Practice For Inclusion: Five Best Practices.

Recognizing the need for high velocity accessibility, we made two new announcements during axe-con this week:

  • We released our Semi-Automated Testing Coverage Report, detailing the problems with the current state of accessibility testing and pointing to the need for a new approach to make it easier for developers to find and fix issues while they code. Specifically, the addition of Deque’s Intelligent Guided Testing (IGT) to axe DevTools was shown to increase detection to 80.39%, on average through a short series of intuitive questions and exercises. This level of coverage has been unheard of in the accessibility industry. This dramatically advances high velocity accessibility, reinforcing the company’s mission to “shift left” to enable accessibility faster, easier and earlier in the development lifecycle.
  • We further addressed the market need for high velocity accessibility, announcing the addition of linting to axe DevTools. In addition to the free Accessibility Linter for Visual Studio (VS) Code, we’ve now released our cloud-based axe Linter service for enterprises, which adds accessibility-specific linting in pull requests and automated testing processes. A key fail-safe to ensuring that no obvious bad code slips through into builds and integrations, the linter service is a lightning-fast first step in your automated testing regimen – enabling developer teams with little-to-no accessibility experience to get started on their company’s digital accessibility journey with a familiar, easy-to-use tool, essentially getting accessibility for free.

We also celebrated this year’s axe award winners at axe-con, recognizing individuals and organizations making a huge difference in their own right. Winners included Adobe, Workday, User Testing, Ally Bank, REI, CDC and U.S. Bank as well as Lainey Feingold who received the annual Jim Thatcher Lifetime Achievement Award. These people and organizations are setting a new bar for inclusion in their respective industries. We’re proud to recognize their achievements and encourage others to follow their lead so we can realize a fully accessible and inclusive digital world.

In addition, axe-con attendees and organizers are working to support Black Girls Code and the Marconi Society, two nonprofits that align with our mission of Digital Equality.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Deque team, and our customers and partners, for all that they’ve done to push the accessibility industry forward this year,” said Preety Kumar, CEO of Deque. “I truly believe that 2022 will be the year of accessibility, and the year when we all fully embrace  high velocity accessibility. We’ve heard time and again from our customers that the need is real. It’s driven us to launch our IGT coverage report, enhance our Intelligent Guided Tests to be even easier by adding machine learning, and to release new products like our free Accessibility Linter for VSCode and axe Linter Server. In fact, we feel so strongly about shifting left with linting that we added it to all axe DevTools Enterprise subscriptions at no charge. But we’re just getting started – keep an eye on this space.”

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

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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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