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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Accessibility Checker Open-Sourced and Redesigned

Date & Time
Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 2:20 PM PST  
Orange County  

IBM’s accessibility team has opened sourced and totally redesigned its accessibility checking software. This is not a product sales pitch, its freely available to designers, developers, and accessibility auditors. Lessons learned and innovations in this talk come from IBM’s own journey over the last several years to have accessibility issues fixed earlier in the product’s life cycle, moving accessibility into the design phase. By leveraging IBM Design Thinking, open sourcing its software tools, expanding the frameworks and browser coverage, improving automation, increasing comprehensive rules, and the focus on the end user, we have done exactly that.

IBM’s accessibility team moved from IBM Research to IBM Design allowing accessibility to influence IBM’s core design teachings, enabling accessibility conversations to begin at the design phase of the product lifecycle. This move and newly acquired skills and practices led the accessibility team itself to use design thinking to redesign its own accessibility software tools. This redesign is helping accessibility to reach a much broader audience of non-accessibility experts. A variety of disciplines are now able to make their applications more accessible across all IBM’s extensive set of internal and external businesses. The team completely redesigned the previous Rational Policy Tester (RTP) and the Dynamic Assessment Plug-in (DAP) with much more intuitive user interfaces. Addressing the needs of both experienced professionals and early-career designers and developers, and expanded the rich set of features, frameworks and browsers supported.

The open-source approach was used to re-develop the entire suite of accessibility software tools. With support for both Chrome and Firefox, development operations and testing frameworks with Karma and NodeJS modules, and expanding to include Cypress. The users are now more efficiently able to design (prevent issues), quickly identify accessibility issues, more effectively tackle accessibility problems, and more easily report to stakeholders. User feedback over the last couple years from the freely available tools has led to improvements that will be highlighted in this talk.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 17, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Higher Education
  • Government
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Finance & Banking
  • Retail & Wholesale
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Dive into the IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker (formerly RPT/DAP). This tool will help you get your web application from inaccessible to accessible. It’s now open-source, with free extensions for Firefox and Chrome. This tool with robust ARIA/ACT support will help both developers and auditors become accessibility experts.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Development
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Evaluation & Remediation
  • Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Web


  • Josiah Hoskins
    IBM Accessibility
  • Ali Unwala
    IBM Accessibility
  • Phill Jenkins
    IBM Accessibility

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