Deque (opens in new tab) is a privately held, web accessibility company based in Herndon, Virginia with additional locations in Ann Arbor, MI, the Netherlands, and India. It takes its mission to increase accessibility of the internet to the disabled so seriously it has helped to develop international accessibility guidelines via the W3C working groups.
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Deque indicates that it has over 250,000 installed extensions, and its employed experts have 95 certifications- more than any other web accessibility company worldwide. It has worked with businesses in all sectors, including notably both Google and Microsoft along with Verizon, InvestCloud and CarFax.
A core offering of Deque is the axe DevTools browser extension, which has a healthy 150,000 plus users on a weekly basis. Via this free tool, automated testing is performed, or in Deque’s lingo “Intelligent Guided Testing,” to provide instant results of an assessment of web accessibility with browser based interactive features. These results can then be saved, or even exported.
The browser extension makes it super simple to be able to scan a page to find details about potential accessibility violations. Better than that, not only are the problems identified, but the solutions are presented as well, with links to in-depth information on how to fix them. There is the ability to either scan part of a page, or the entire page, on demand as needed, and repeatedly as the web page is changed. Via this method, reportedly up to 83% of accessibility defects can be found while coding.
Beyond this is the Intelligent Guided Testing. This tool has the developers answer a series of questions that are simple about the web page content, which then incorporates this information to generate an issue report. These AI powered tests form the basis to more complicated web accessibility testing that includes: forms testing, keyboard testing, and buttons and links testing.
The DevTools get divided into two tiers. The lower tier, designated as ‘Pro,’ is the lightweight browser extension with component-level testing that is guided by machine learning. There is also detailed remediation help available.
The higher tier of DevTools is ‘Enterprise,’ which features the same tools as the lower tier, and adds CI/CD integration, a command line interface (CLI), mobile testing for iOS and Android, and premium security and support. Unfortunately, there is not a free trial, but just a message to “Contact us.”
DevTools was created with multiple user groups in mind. This includes all phases of development, from front-end web developers, test engineers, designers, to both iOS and Android mobile app developers.
The user reviews for Deque are generally favorable, however they are few and far between. For example on Facebook, there are only a total of 6 reviews, with a score of 4.3 out of 5. The comments range from “Everyone should use this,” to “5 stars,” although there is also a “Doesn’t recommend” rating. Also not reassuring is that the last review was entered from 2020.
Further internet searching did not identify user reviews of Deque, however, it is notable that the Twitter feed from Deque was a lot more consistently updated than Facebook.
As is too frequent in this web accessibility sector, the pricing for Deque is not transparent, and not provided at all on the site. That being said, there is at least a free demo offer that can be accessed via an online web portal, with a response promised in a business day. The axe tools can also be trialed for free, without credit card information, for a full 14 days.
The pricing for Deque’s services gets determined by the level and intensity of service requested, and this requires company contact for the quote. While not on the Deque website, and we can’t vouch for the accuracy, but via a web search we found one indication that using Deque’s axe tools runs in excess of $700.
Support for Deque could be more robust, and the options are limited. While establishing initial contact with the company to price out a plan there are options offered for an online portal, and for a direct phone number. However, after the initial contact, the option is limited to just an email that gets sent from an online portal, with a response taking one working day. We were disappointed that Deque lacks a toll free number, a direct email, a chat, and educational videos.
Deque is a market leader in the important space of web accessibility. The strong points include the ease of use via the browser based extension, the offering of a free 14-day trial, support for mobile apps for both iOS and Android, and the high level of expertise at this company as indicated by the employee’s certifications and participation in creating web accessibility standards. The shortcomings are there as well such as the limited support options that lack chat, or even a direct email, the lack of upfront pricing, and the lack of user reviews. In conclusion, Deque is an attractive offering and it becomes clear why they remain at the top of this segment.
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