Deque is a web accessibility consultant working for over fifteen years with major corporations, government agencies, and other organizations to ensure that their websites and mobile apps are accessible to people with disabilities. We talked to Sujasree Kurapati, Managing Director at Deque, for a better understanding about web accessibility.
- How did the idea of Deque come about? Was web accessibility a significant market 15 years back or was it more of a social motive?
During late 90’s, our CEO Ms. Preety Kumar observed Section 508 mandate requirements in US and thought that it could turn out to be a very good business in future due to the legality around it. It was neither a complete social motive nor a significant market but our leadership has anticipated the growth and impact that this specialized domain can make in future and hence established Deque.
- How would you define web accessibility? What are the standards and methods of measurement?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. At Deque, we work on all types of digital content accessibility, including mobile applications, design comps and documents.
Our recommendation is to be compliant with international standard Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
- How has the market changed in last 15 years, is there more awareness and demand for it now?
Certainly, there is growth in several markets. Internationally, Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and 2030 Sustainable Development goals fron United nations are driving the momentum in this space. Nations are demonstrating willingness to adopt the inclusive policies and making legal mandates accordingly. While only some countries have strong enforcement in place, many countries are still finding a long way to go about enforcing the mandates. It is and will be a promising market.
- About your India operations, it is a development center or do you have clients in India too?
So far, it has been operated as a development center but we will be extending our services in Indian market too.
- Given the multiplicity of platforms and content, is web accessibility feasible for small businesses?
It is feasible if you start thinking from the beginning phase of the product.
- Is there a regulatory framework for ensuring web accessibility for businesses or is it completely voluntary?
In most of the countries, national ACTs mandate the regulations for government and public sector companies. For companies in private sector, it depends on the type of the service that a company is offering. It may get impacted if the company is offering services related to public.
- What has been the contribution of Deque to the sector? How is it doing things differently?
Deque has been doing a phenomenal contribution. In addition to employing people with disabilities and providing equal opportunities for everyone, Deque's biggest and successful contributions for the accessibility community are:
- Deque has open sourced its 17+ years of expertise in the form of rule engine aXe, which helps organizations to test and develop the accessible content while building their products, for FREE... Visit https://www.deque.com/products/axe/ for more details.
- Deque University has been offering one year free access on web accessibility modules for people with disabilities through its scholarship programto make people more skillful and spread the awareness on digital accessibility. Visit https://dequeuniversity.com/scholarships for more details.