Microsoft’s Accessibility Insights Now Available as Open Source Code


Accessibility Insights, which is available for Windows and web, help developers address accessibility issues early in the design process

Microsoft reiterated that it is on a journey to design, build and launch more accessible products to foster inclusion by announcing the open sourcing of two of its Accessibility Insights applications.

The two free tools, Accessibility Insights for Windows and Accessibility Insights for Web, help developers find and fix common accessibility issues early in the software development cycle.

Built on open-source axe technology from Deque Systems, Accessibility Insights can be used as stand-alone tools or can be integrated through their rules engines into a developer’s build process, Keith Ballinger, a developer services general manager with Microsoft, wrote in a post on the company’s Open Source Blog.

He said, “We are driven by the promise of more accessible products for more people.  That’s why we’re releasing Accessibility Insights to the open source and accessibility communities – it’s all of ours now, and together we’ll continue to make it a better tool and build a more accessible future.”

Ballinger also announced that Deque Systems is providing GitHub issue filing for Accessibility Insights for Web and color contrast detection heuristics for Accessibility Insights for Windows. Microsoft contributed its Windows rules engine to the axe accessibility project so all major platforms could be covered.

Quickly spot accessibility errors

The automated checks in Accessibility Insights can identify common accessibility issues in seconds. This enables the developer to find and fix any issues detected through automated checks before proceeding to the remaining tests, which require human judgement. The human-powered tests are supported by assistance from the tools, which makes these tests easier, faster, and more reliable.

“By focusing on easy-to-use tooling, we hope to help make accessibility more accessible,” Ballinger wrote.

He added, “Our aim with Accessibility Insights is not to reinvent the wheel, but to modernize existing technology and optimize it for use in developer workflows. It’s a piece of a much larger inclusion effort – one that involves inclusive hiring, Trusted Tester – all the tools in the toolbox!”

Accessibility Insights for Web is open source on GitHub.


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