Microsoft open sources Accessibility Insights

The term accessibility might read better if the English language had decided to spell it accessability — or perhaps even access-ability — given its use to describe products or services or environments designed to easy to use by people with disabilities.

As an adjective, accessible means easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use — and a ‘thing’ that can be used, entered, reached etc.

Microsoft is now open sourcing the code in its Accessibility Insights zone to allow developers to fix accessibility issues earlier in the dev cycle.

GM for developer services at Microsoft Keith Ballinger says that this open source shunt sees Microsoft offer a set of two free tools for developers.

Built on Deque’s open source axe technology (from the axe accessibility project), Accessibility Insights can run as standalone tools, or programmers can integrate the rules engine into their own build process.

“We’re on a journey to design, build, and launch more accessible products to foster inclusion. That’s why we created Accessibility Insights, a first step in developing tools that help developers address accessibility issues early in the design process. Our aim with Accessibility Insights is not to reinvent the wheel, but to modernise existing technology and optimise it for use in developer workflows,” said Ballinger.

Ballinger also notes that this is a part of a “much larger” inclusion effort by Microsoft.

Why open source?

On this point, Ballinger pays lip service to Redmond’s [unquestionably impressive] general efforts in this space, but says nothing too specific.

Deque Systems is one of the first contributors, providing GitHub issue filing for Accessibility Insights for web and colour contrast detection heuristics for Accessibility Insights for Windows.

Microsoft, for its part, has contributed its Windows rules engine to the axe accessibility project, the intention being to hel the axe engine cover all major platforms.

Find Microsoft code repositories on GitHub at: and


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