Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access

The Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access is a concentrated center of expertise, best practices, and resources that enables businesses, government, and educational institutions to more effectively provide accessible information and services to the blind community.

Founded by the National Federation of the Blind in 2014, CENA works to:

  • Share the considerable knowledge that the NFB and its partners have of web accessibility and access technology in order to bring about greater accessibility in government, education, and business
  • Promote best practices nationwide 
  • Increase awareness of accessibility and the tools available to blind users

Building on the expertise of the blind, CENA seeks to create a more accessible world.

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

May 20, 2021 is the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day to emphasize theGAAD logo importance of integrating accessibility into everything digital (web, software, mobile, etc.). The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will be celebrating GAAD by highlighting the NFB Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA). The CENA is a center of expertise, best practices, and resources that enables business, government, and educational institutions to effectively provide accessible information and services to blind citizens. When websites, products, and services are made nonvisually accessible, it creates opportunities for blind and low vision individuals to be competitive, contributing members of society and the workforce. This is why the NFB invests significant time, funding, and other resources toward creating a more accessible world. 
Members of the National Federation of the Blind pride ourselves on being active, informed, experts in the design, development, and implementation of accessible innovative technology. Our unique expertise lies in our lived experience of problem solving and developing nonvisual alternatives to performing everyday jobs. The solutions we design and implement make tasks easier and more enjoyable for everyone, not just blind people. This page provides a list of projects and programs developed and led by the National Federation of the Blind that depend on consumer engagement to develop meaningful partnerships resulting in the creation of nonvisually accessible products and services that benefit everyone.  

NFB & Deque GAAD Gift Matching Campaign

Thanks to the generous donations from Deque Systems and an anonymous donor, there will be a gift matching campaign during the week of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. A gift matching donation means that every dollar you donate to the National Federation of the Blind will be matched up to $25,000 during the week of May 16 through May 23. This will also be part of our Give 20 campaign, so donations during the gift matching will also be including the in the Give 20 Drawing to win a trip to the 2022 national convention OR take the cash prize of $2,000. 

More details coming during May 16 through May 23.

Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access GAAD Presentation

May 20, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. eastern via Zoom

As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), an international day of highlighting the importance and advancements in the area of accessibility, the National Federation of the Blind will mark this day with a review of our 2020-2021 efforts to promote accessibility. We will be primarily highlighting the work we have done under a Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative (NVAI) grant administered by the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) to develop and execute a variety of projects within the following six focus areas:   

•    Enhance Access to Education Technology and Strategies
•    Enhance Access to Employment-Related Tools and Services
•    Offer Accessibility Boutiques and Other Training Seminars
•    Assist with the Integration of Smart Technologies for Accessible Cities       
•    Maintain the Accessibility Switchboard and Community of Practice
•    Coordinate the Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program

We invite those individuals interested in learning about the projects we designed to increase accessibility in education, public information, and commerce to join us on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 20, 2021) from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. eastern for a review of our successes in 2020-2021. 

Register herehttps://nfb.org/programs-services/center-excellence-nonvisual-access/cena-2021-gaad-presentation

Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative (NVAI) Grant Program  

The State of Maryland, through the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD), partners with the CENA to support a series of projects through a Nonvisual Accessibility Initiative (NVAI) grant with an aim to establish Maryland as a leader in nonvisual accessibility. This public-private partnership between MDOD and the NFB has resulted in a variety of projects and programs that improve the standard of accessibility throughout the state of Maryland. 
 

International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind

The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind is a comprehensive technology evaluation, demonstration, and training facility located at our national headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Trainings & Accessibility Boutiques

Experts at CENA offer various training events and workshops throughout the year to share best practices in web accessibility and access technology. Learn more about our trainings.

Blind Driver Challenge

The Blind Driver Challenge is a collaborative research and education project with the active participation of the blind that began over ten years ago. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to increasing the speed at which we move toward the design, development, and implementation of accessible technology that presents us with opportunities to live, work, and play as active members of society. Learn more about the Blind Driver Challenge.

2020 Online Research Platform Study

This fall, we will be working with HathiTrust Accessibility to conduct a study on the accessibility and usability of an online research platform. If you are a college student, higher education faculty member, or other professional conducting academic research, please complete this survey in order to be considered to participate in the study. All who complete the survey will be entered into a raffle drawing. We will be reviewing the pool of applicants with the goal of identifying 100 study participants. Additional information will be provided to those chosen to participate in the study.

Accessibility Switchboard

The Accessibility Switchboard is a web portal that provides freely available resources and guides for those who want to improve accessibility in their organizations. This is one of the many projects funded through the state of Maryland’s Nonvisual Access Initiative grants administered by the Maryland Department of Disabilities. This dynamic portal was developed with support from Accessibility Track Consulting, LLC, and members of the Accessibility Switchboard Community of Practice.

Strategic Nonvisual Accessibility Partnership Program (SNAP)

The National Federation of the Blind's Strategic Nonvisual Accessibility Partnership program works to ensure that websites, products, and services are nonvisually accessible by developing productive, on-going partnerships with organizations in an effort to assist them with infusing accessibility into their corporate culture.

Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program

The Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship program helps instructors begin to include accessibility concepts in at least one course offering in their institution with help from the nation’s blind. 

Blind Users Innovating and Leading Design (BUILD)

The NFB is establishing a database of blind users to test and evaluate the accessibility of websites, home-use medical devices, home appliances, fitness equipment, and other products and services. We need your help to ensure that this technology is accessible to blind people. Apply to become a tester today.

Higher Education Accessibility Online Resource Center

The Higher Education Accessibility Online Resource Center is an online resource designed for colleges and universities that includes examples of digital accessibility policies, legal requirements, and links to accessibility standards and procurement policies. 

National Center for Nonvisual Election Technology

The National Center for Nonvisual Election Technology shares best practices about blind voters' needs and houses accessible voting machines that are available for demonstration and evaluation at no cost to officials or the public.

More Information

For more information about CENA or to inquire about potential partnership opportunities, please call us at 410-659-9314, option 5 or email us at [email protected]