National Federation of the Blind
Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program

"We know that it is a SNAP to ensure accessibility when websites, products, and services are developed properly from the start.”

Technology has created opportunities for the blind to live, work, and play in areas previously inaccessible to us. However, in order for blind people to capitalize on the variety of ways that innovative technologies are being used to improve our quality of life, the technology has to be designed with accessibility in mind. The myth is that ensuring accessibility is too difficult and too expensive. The truth is that when done correctly, with the right partners, building in accessibility is simple, cost effective, and beneficial to both blind and sighted users of the technology. Our Strategic Nonvisual Accessibility Partnership (SNAP) Program works to ensure that websites, and applications are accessible to the blind. We know that it is a SNAP to ensure accessibility when websites, products, and services are developed properly from the start.

The goal of our SNAP program is to increase the accessibility of technology by developing productive on-going partnerships with organizations in an effort to assist them with infusing accessibility into their corporate culture. Today, traditional certification programs are unable to achieve this goal. In order to be responsive to the various needs of a range of users, devices and systems are frequently updated and modified. As a result, a product certified as accessible on one day, may be inaccessible the next day, making a static certification process incapable of ensuring on-going accessibility. Our SNAP Program makes our accessibility process more dynamic, and assists our partners gain access to a team of experts and a collection of user experiences. By partnering to address accessibility throughout the development life-cycle, we can do a better job of enculturating accessibility and ensuring that commercial and public products/systems are nonvisually accessible.

Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program for Websites

Our Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program for websites acknowledges the collaboration between the National Federation of the Blind and our nonvisual accessibility partner that specifically endorses the organization’s development and implementation of a nonvisually accessible website. In simple terms, a nonvisually accessible website is one where screen access software can obtain sufficient information from the web application to enable the blind user to access information, complete transactions, and utilize features that have been identified as primary to the application. Such transactions may include finding information; making purchases; completing forms; registering for activities; downloading information; communicating with others; and participating in online educational programs.

Our SNAP Program for Web Accessibility creates a structured collaboration that results in the development of accessible, more useable websites. The following components are the heart of the program:

  • Initial Assessment: An initial accessibility standard must be met before an entity is considered a NFB Nonvisual Web Accessibility Partner. The guideline used will be the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.0, AA.
  • Blind Users Innovating and Leading in Design (BUILD) Feedback: The NFB will establish a group of blind users to evaluate partners’ websites, products, and services. The BUILD team will provide valuable feedback, detailing usability experiences and any potential accessibility issues.

  • Quarterly Reporting: NFB’s access technology staff will provide quarterly accessibility and usability reports, based in part on BUILD team feedback. The reports will provide regular and timely feedback on existing usability barriers and offer a foundation for future design efforts.

  • Quarterly Discussions on Best Practices and Troubleshooting: NFB’s access technology specialists will engage in quarterly teleconferences to share new techniques and best practices, in an effort to resolve most accessibility issues. Should additional consultation be needed for complex accessibility problems, NFB will provide expanded support on a fee-for-service basis.

  • NFB Strategic Nonvisual Accessibility Partner (SNAP) Icon: the partner is invited to place the NFB’s SNAP icon on its website. This icon serves as a symbol to users that the organization's website and apps are accessible and that the organization is committed to an enculturation of accessibility. Moreover, when users select the icon, they are able to access a form by which they can report any perceived accessibility issues directly to NFB accessibility staff for evaluation.

  • Promotional Opportunities: NFB will highlight the partner on its SNAP webpage.

  • Policy and Implementation Strategies Discourse: Because policy and implementation strategies are key to enculturating accessibility, we recommend implementing policies in line with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recommendations.

Websites and applications are used to communicate, to access information, to purchase products and services, and for entertainment. Access to the web helps blind people live the lives we want. However, on any given website, the information accessed and actions performed may contain narratives, databases, forms, graphics, tables, controls, buttons, and other elements that must be designed properly in order to ensure nonvisual accessibility. Through our Strategic Nonvisual Accessibility Partnerships, the National Federation of the Blind establishes productive mutually beneficial working relationships with organizations that lead to their structural enculturation of accessibility and increased opportunities for blind people. For more information about our Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program, and to get information about costs and timelines, please contact us at [email protected]