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Axe DevTools Rulesets

In order to better match your accessibility testing requirements, we offer several different rulesets, or testing standards, which map to different sets of web accessibility guidelines. Each one of these rulesets contains individual automated tests based on specific principles and requirements of web accessibility. Users have the ability to use a single ruleset or select multiple. If one of these rulesets does not fit your testing needs, custom rulesets are available.

An important note about automated accessibility testing is that no automated system can test for 100% compliance of any accessibility standard. Our rulesets constitute the maximum available coverage of these standards.

Section 508

The original web accessibility testing standard was ADA section 508. This ruleset is still available, and the standard is still important. However, since the original release of ADA section 508 in 1998, more modern and comprehensive testing standards have become available. We continue to support our section 508 ruleset for any customers who need to achieve ADA section 508 compliance.


WCAG, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines constitutes the most comprehensive and modern accessibility guidelines. Each version of WCAG has tiered standards from level A, denoting minimum requirements, to AAA, denoting the highest level of accessibility principles. All WCAG guidelines are backwards compatible, meaning guidelines in earlier versions are still covered in newer versions. We currently support rulesets for WCAG testing guidelines version 2.0 and 2.1, with both level A and level AA criteria. For most customers, we recommend using the most comprehensive and up to date ruleset, which encompasses WCAG 2.1 AA rules.

Best Practices

The complex and ever changing nature of the web, accessible technology, and web accessibility guidelines means that there are some tenets of web accessibility not covered explicitly in legal guidelines. While not legal liabilities, the issues found within the coverage of our best practices ruleset help ensure equitable use of the web for everyone.


Our experimental ruleset consists of rules at the bleeding edge of what's possible to test for in an automated fashion. We're continously pushing to increase testing standard coverage, promote excellent design and principles, and ensure equitable use of the web. Many are still under development, and represent the future of automated web accessibility testing.

For more detailed documentation on each ruleset and the rules contained within, read the axe-core ruleset documentation

If you aren't sure which option is right for you after reading this guide, contact your Deque representative directly, reach us via our support desk, or send us an email. We'll be happy to help.