Using Best Practice or Experimental Rules

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The axe Expert extension is officially retired. Read more about this on the axe Expert Replacement page. These pages will be taken down in July of 2024. Email with any questions or concerns.

Rules to further enrich your website's accessibility

These are not to be confused with the tags that are displayed on the drawer area at the bottom of the right results pane of the Analyze panel, which display rule categories and applicable standards. Tag settings on the Rules panel instead refer to the bottom, left sidebar section of the Rules panel that allows you to select or deselect options to enable both best practice and/or experimental rules in the analysis engine. When selected, these run in addition to those that are a part of the active ruleset standard (and any custom rules, if present). Both experimental and best practice rules are subject to change, and the total number of each that is available are also subject to change with each new release of the axe-core ruleset.

location of the Tag Settings section of the Rules panel at bottom, left

Testing against best practices

Enabling page testing against best practice rules includes Best Practices rules along with the selected standard. Enable page testing by checking the box in the Tag Settings section of the left pane of the Rules panel.

Deque best practices are time-tested techniques that effectively deliver desired accessibility outcomes when specific formal methods either do not exist or are insufficient. Although not formally a part of any established accessibility ruleset, conformance with Deque best practices can contribute to the accessibility and overall quality of the page under test. Violations of Deque's best practice rules are NOT considered failures. More importantly, expert judgment is required to consider the appropriateness in the context of the application, site, or page goals. Sometimes the best practice accessibility technique isn't applicable or practical for resolving the specific issue.

Enable best practice rules:

  1. Select Rules in the main menu.
  2. In the Tag Settings section of the left sidebar menu, check the Test best practices checkbox.

checking the Test best practices checkbox in the Tag Settings section of the left pane of the Rules panel

The tag setting is immediately active; however, you will need to analyze the page again to view best practice rule violation results. See Analyze Now for further information.

Use experimental rules

Just under the Tag Settings section on the left sidebar menu pane of the Rules panel is the Use experimental rules checkbox. When enabled, the Use experimental rules checkbox enables Deque's experimental accessibility rules in the analysis engine. Analyzing a page when experimental rules are active results in the display of experimental rules violations in the analysis results.

Unlike other automated rules in the axe Expert Extension engine, experimental rules could be subject to false positives, so they are not enabled by default. Since accessibility standards lag behind evolving and emerging web technologies, Deque Labs is continuously working to stay ahead of the curve. The number of rules this setting enables may vary by product version. Deque's experimental rules are not necessarily considered best practices, nor are they formally associated with a particular official standard, but may potentially become so in the future upon "graduation" to non-experimental rules that are a part of a standard ruleset.

Enable experimental rules

  1. Click Rules in the main drop-down menu.

  2. In the left pane under the Tag Settings section, select the Use experimental rules checkbox.

    Clicking the Rules panel main menu item, then checking the Include Experimental Rules checkbox under the Tag Settings left sidebar menu section at left

    Exclude experimental rules by clearing the Use experimental rules checkbox.

  3. Proceed with performing an analysis.