FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Federation of the Blind Certifies eBusiness Leaders HP, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Social Security Administration for Web Accessibility
 

NFB-NVA Certification SealBaltimore, MD, May 12, 2003 – The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's largest consumer and advocacy membership organization of blind persons, today announced the first national recipients of its “Nonvisual Accessibility Web Application (NVA) Certification.” The first companies and national organizations to be recognized by the NFB for their efforts in the area of Web accessibility are HP, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

In support of companies that stand behind every blind Americans’ right to full and active participation on the Internet, the NFB enacted the NVA certification program to recognize organizations that construct Web sites to be as fundamentally usable by the blind as by the sighted. Today’s announcement recognizes HP, Wells Fargo, and the U.S. Social Security Administration as leaders in Web accessibility for the visually impaired in their respective fields and also demonstrates the growing success of the certification program in assisting Web site owners to address the issue of creating content and services that are accessible to all.

“HP, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Social Security Administration are leaders in Web accessibility,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind. “We created the certification process so that Internet accessibility leaders, such as these, could be publicly recognized by the NFB for their efforts. We hope that more companies and organizations will follow the example that these innovators have set and make Web accessibility a priority in their organizations.”

Certification was granted after the NFB conducted task-performance tests of the primary functions of the organizations’ Web sites. It was determined that a visually impaired user can perform the primary functions of the Web sites using at least two talking-screen access programs. As part of the certification program, NFB will continuously monitor these Web sites for accessibility using an automated system that flags potential problems for review by blind users.

“This certification is a significant step towards our goal of connecting everyone to the power of technology by integrating accessibility into core business functions across HP,” said Marius Haas, vice president of worldwide eBusiness, HP. “Supporting these types of measures helps ensure that HP products, services, and content on hp.com are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.”

“The Internet provides a new medium to expand access to the visually impaired and blind,” said Avid Modjtabai, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo’s Internet Services Group. “Wells Fargo is pleased to be the nation’s first and only financial institution to be certified by the National Federation of the Blind. And, we are committed to bringing financial services to all of our customers including people who are blind or visually impaired.”

“The Social Security Administration’s re-designed Web site—http://www.socialsecurity.gov/—is easier to navigate and more accessible to all visitors, including people with visual and other physical disabilities,” said Jo Anne Barnhart, commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security’s programs touch the lives of nearly every American. Our Web site offers online services to people at every stage of life.”

The NFB worked closely with the technology community to develop the procedures by which the Web sites and applications of these organizations may be certified. HP, Wells Fargo, and the U.S. Social Security Administration worked with SSB Technologies of San Francisco, an NFB-designated Web Accessibility Consultant (WAC), to prepare for certification.

For more information about the NFB-NVA Certification program, visit https://www.nfb.org/seal/intro.htm.

About the NFB

With more than 50,000 members and 700 local and state affiliates and chapters, the NFB is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. As a consumer and advocacy organization, NFB is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind.

About Wells Fargo & Company

Wells Fargo & Company is committed to serving the diverse needs of our customer base by making our products and services accessible to our customers with disabilities. Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with $370 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer finance from more than 5,800 stores and the Internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo was recently ranked the #1 Internet banking site by Gomez, the preeminent Internet quality-measurement firm.

CONTACTS:

Patricia A. Maurer
Director of Community Relations
National Federation of the Blind
pmaurer@nfb.org
(410) 659-9314, ext. 272

Wells Fargo
Wendy Grover, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications
415-396-5905
groverw@wellsfargo.com

SSB Technologies
Tim Springer
415-359-5521
timsp@ssbtechnologies.com