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Deque’s Third Annual Axe-con Continues to Usher a New Era of Digital Accessibility, With Over 25k Registrations in the Largest Global Digital Accessibility Conference

What an amazing time to be in digital accessibility. At the time of this post, we’re in the process of wrapping up our third annual axe-con Digital Accessibility Conference, which took place virtually March 15-16, 2023. The community surrounding the event was electric, and pouring over with passion as accessibility champions from around the world work to take digital accessibility mainstream.

Seventy-two experts from companies such as Google, Microsoft, GitHub, Meta, Adobe, Amazon, and more – shared their expertise on topics ranging from building accessibility into design and development to organizational accessibility success.

Developers, designers, business executives, and accessibility professionals from across 125 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.

“Axe-con is a success because of the community and because we work hard to offer an event that delivers what they ask for. The event is virtual, free and more accessible every year.” – Glenda Sims, Chief Information Accessibility Officer, Deque Systems.

This year’s axe-con clearly shows how digital accessibility has entered the mainstream, and that organizations are actively looking for the best ways to incorporate accessible design and development into everything they create. This means using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in completely new and responsible ways.

“We use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) with the axe suite very carefully and strategically,” explained Preety Kumar, Deque Systems, CEO, Founder and Board Member. “Progress with technology must be balanced by maintaining trust. That’s why we have a human-centric approach to AI.”

“We have amassed a high-quality and expansive dataset to find accessibility issues, but we test that regularly with real users–human beings–to make sure it remains relevant and fit for purpose. Manual testing for accessibility will not be replaced by machines and technology alone. It will be replaced by people working intelligently with AI and ML. That’s the future.”

We made a number of new announcements during axe-con this week:

  1. The importance of taking a Human-centeric Machine Learning approach to increasing automation and accessibility coverage.
  2. Deque Announces axe Developer Hub (Beta): The Future of Automated Accessibility Testing
  3. Axe Awards at axe-con 2023
  4. Deque announces axe for Designers (Beta): Bridging the Intent Gap between Design and Development

This year’s axe awards recognized individuals and organizations making important contributions to the world of accessibility. Winners included Apple, Microsoft, Citigroup, U.S. Bank as well as Jenny Lay-Flurrie 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.

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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