Accessibility Insights is an open source project created by Microsoft aimed at helping developers build more accessible software.
It was created internally at Microsoft and then released as an open source solution in 2019.
“We were motivated by Microsoft’s mission to ‘empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.’ We realized that to empower every person, we need to help support all developers in building more accessible products. The power of open-source software is increasing transparency into our methodologies and encouraging trust in our tools. It also allows us to accept contributions and to allow developers to experiment with our tools. These products belong to the community now and I am excited to see how we will develop them together over the coming years,” Mark Reay, principal group software engineering manager for Microsoft, wrote in a post.
The project includes FastPass, which is a five minute process that identifies common accessibility issues and provides recommendations on how to fix them.
The first step of FastPass is an automated scan and the second step is the Tab Stops test, which provides developers with a visualization of how someone would use a keyboard to navigate through the user interface.
Microsoft has put effort into ensuring that Accessibility Insights doesn’t give false positives and it utilizes scanning libraries that share that commitment, such as axe-core from Deque Systems.
Accessibility Insights is available in a few different forms. Accessibility Insights for Web can be added as a browser extension for Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Accessibility Insights for Windows is a desktop application that includes axe-windows, which is a scanning library. Microsoft also recently added Accessibility Insights for Android for Android developers.