Accessibility Assistant Certification

 

Certification

Accessibility certification creates a layer of trust with websites users by signalling it conforms to the standards and needs of people with disabilities. Accessibility Assistant provides a trusted certification platform that is based on industry standards and signals your commitment and seriousness to Internet equality.

Accessibility Assistant Certification

Accessibility Assistant Certification (AAC) is based on Section 508 standards, WCAG 2.0 guidelines, particular date, viewer device support and effective integration of Accessibility Assistant Toolbar & Simple Stream products. AAC is produced by AccessibilityAssistant.com after a review is performed acknowledging and confirming key components of compliance. These include:

Statement of Accessibility - Every accessible website requires an accessibility statement much in the same way they should have Terms of Use & Privacy Policy. Typically the statement is located on a page titled "accessibilityassistant.htm" and is a document summarizing the types of features and level of compliance achieved based on a review of both a representative sample and random sample of pages on the site. The statement would include a list of the pages, sections and/or types of pages included and the date of the assessment. Because we are not reviewing every page on the site, this statement would provide a reasonable confidence that it conforms to the accessibility standards and guidelines.

WCAG 2.0 Claim - A conformance claim under WCAG 2.0 means that every page that is included in the claim meets the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria at either A, AA or AAA level of compliance. To make a conformance claim, there must be no content which violates the Success Criteria. This review involves a comprehensive review of every page that you would like included in the conformance claim and is the most expensive option but is the most thorough type of claim.

VPAT/GPAT Claim - For U.S. based websites and applications, the level of accessibility is documented using the VPAT or GPAT templates which are used by procurement departments and government agencies for gauging the level of accessibility. For additional information about VPATs, visit Information Technology Industry Council.

AA Toolbar Integration - Successful integration of the Accessibility Assistant toolbar assists users that are not using an external tool. Color and placement of the toolbar become key factors in determining if the toolbar can be seen and used properly on the website. Additional factors also include the selection of toolbar features relevant to website media. For example: A website that targets a user community of an non-supported browsers should have audio and voice commands disabled with the accessibility statement giving notice to the effect.

AA Simple Stream Integration - Successful integration of Simple Stream technology requires that every dialog have a complete navigation structure and concise articulated messages that read near an 8th grade level.

Accessibility Assistant Seal

When you have achieved accessibility conformance a unique certification seal is generated that you can place on your website. A URL is also provided that users can visit to verify authenticity and examine the details of conformance reached. As an Accessibility Assistant customer you can access the "Certifications" link from the Dashboard.

Other Seals

A variety of other seals and badges exist that can be placed on your website. These confirmation seals tell users that the website has attempted to conform to the standard but they are not verified by an authoring or regulatory body. A certified seal such as Accessibility Assistant Certification is verified [Get Certified Now!]. If the page has achieved a WCAG 2.0 A, AA or AAA conformance, the W3C provides conformance logos that can be displayed on that particular page. The conformance icon refers to a single page and if the claim is meant to apply to more than one page, then a statement of scope should be provided with the the logo. WCAG2A-Conformance WCAG2AA-Conformance WCAG2AAA-Conformance

Renewals

Most accessibility standards are resilient to time but web browsers and the languages used to build the sites change frequently. This is why accessibility certification should be updated at a minimum of once per year. Accessibility Assistant Certification can be updated monthly and provides the highest seal of trust.

Accessibility Statement Compliance

A statement of accessibility demonstrates your commitment to accessibility and provides details to users with disabilities that lets them make informed decisions about your products which will help you win new sales and improve customer loyalty.

Testing your website to determine their levels of compliance helps to:

  • Reach the substantial market of web users with disabilities
  • Cater to the growing market of baby boomers experiencing vision problems
  • Improve diversity of users
  • Improved opportunities that may include acceptance by government agencies
  • Reduce legal exposure from lawsuits and regulatory fines.

ADA Compliance

The Department of Justice (DOJ) published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design in September 2010. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

The ADA differs from Section 508 regulations, which are an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and apply to all information technology, including computer hardware, software and documentation.

The ADA standards apply to commercial and public entities that have “places of public accommodation” which includes the internet. The DOJ is currently determining the specific regulations but that does not mean website discrimination will be tolerated. This law effects Americans with disabilities and their friends, families and caregivers, private employers with 15 or more employees, businesses operating for the benefit of the public, all state and local government agencies.

Section 508 Compliance

The US Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended in 1986 and again in 1998 to include all information technology, including computer hardware, software and documentation. These amendments also created enforcement measures to mandate compliance for websites, documents, and applications developed with US Federal funding or for US government agencies.

These amendments are known as Section 508 and they dictate specific accommodations for various types of content. The “Section 508 refresh” or Section 255 Standards Refresh updates the requirements. A final rule with more details about the standards is expected in the fall of 2012 and codified into law in 2013. It should be noted that U.S. government websites developed using US Federal funds must comply with Section 508.

WCAG 2.0 Compliance

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets the main international standards for the World Wide Web and its accessibility. W3C created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) which are similar to Section 508, but on an international level. WCAG 2.0 requires specific techniques for compliance and is more current than Section 508.

Many countries and international organizations require compliance with WCAG 2.0. The guidelines are categorized into three levels of compliance: A (must support), AA (should support), and AAA (may support). Representatives from the accessibility community around the world participate in the evolution of these guidelines.

WCAG 2.0 is also ISO/IEC 40500 and was formally recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012). For compliance with ISO/IEC 40500 there are extensive supporting resources from W3C WAI.

All organizations, Federal and State agencies, and educational institutions should look to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to provide guidance on how to make websites accessible. Section 508 is currently undergoing a refresh and will likely require compliance with these guidelines for all Federal agencies and to those who are selling to government agencies. The Department of Justice is also looking to these guidelines for the set of guidelines that organizations will need to comply to under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To comply to WCAG 2.0 guidelines can be easy or hard depending on your preference. The easy way is the use Accessibility Assistant services & tools to meet these guidelines quickly and effectively. The hard way is learn and implement all the rules yourself. For a more complete list visit our resource page.