Nonvisual Accessibility Web Certification
It does not necessarily take more time or cost more money to design accessible Web sites . . . . Why not work within the medium and build Web sites that are accessible to the largest possible audience?
— Sarah Horton, New York Times, June 10, 2002
What's In It for You?
Seize the Market!
Increasingly, individuals in developed and developing countries are relying on computers to perform integral functions of their everyday lives. In many industries it is becoming more and more important for businesses to have an Internet presence to compete in today's market. Computers have also opened up avenues to vast quantities of information formerly unavailable to or difficult to access for consumers with special needs.
Consider the following:
- In 1997, approximately 54 million people in the U.S. had at least one disability (U.S. Census)
- In 2001, 180 million people worldwide were blind or visually impaired (World Health Organization)
- In 2008, 25.2 million people in the United States had vision problems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- In 2000, almost as many employees with vision problems had Internet access as those without vision problems (54% versus 64%) (Lighthouse International)
There is a large market of blind and visually impaired individuals who are able and willing to use the Internet for a variety of purposes'personal and professional'provided that they can navigate the sites and the applications. Moreover, Web applications and sites that are accessible to blind people are often accessible to persons with other disabilities as illustrated by making an application navigable without the use of a mouse. The business potential of having an accessible Web application is enormous. Your having NFB-NVA Certification will guide users to your application over those of your competitors.
The recent amendments to Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act mandate federal sector compliance to a fairly specific definition of what is meant by access to technology for the disabled (and nonvisual access in particular). Moreover, many state governments*, have also enacted laws requiring nonvisual access for any state-procured or -used technology. While these new regulations cover all disabilities, it is well accepted that over 90 percent of the provisions are relevant to nonvisual access design. These regulations are predicted to be the cornerstone for the evolution of a worldwide disability access standard. Get ahead of the curve by building accessible technology design from the ground up or ensuring that what you have is accessible. The process of receiving the NFB-NVA Certification can move you towards legal compliance'a must for any federal or state agencies, or those selling Internet services to the government.
Do the Right Thing . . . and Promote it
A 1996 report, Families with Disabilities in the United States, indicates that nearly 30 percent of U.S. families include someone with a disability. Acquaintances and friends must also be accounted for. Making a Web application accessible is appreciated not only by direct beneficiaries, but also by those who know them.
Also consider that according to the House Ways and Means Committee, those between the ages of 35 and 65 "have a 30 percent chance of experiencing a disability" and that "a person's greatest earning potential occurs between the ages of 35 and 65." (Michael Paciello, WebReview.com). Moreover, elderly persons have a greater incidence of disability than those in other age groups. As today's computer- and business-savvy Baby Boomers age, many of them will rely increasingly on assistive technology. They will recognize businesses that make the effort early on to provide complete accessibility to their Web applications. These businesses will create new customers for the present and the future by accepting a social responsibility. The NFB-NVA Certification will announce to your visitors that you have met the challenge of going beyond what mere necessity dictates.
Why Certify? | Why the NFB? | Criteria for Certification | Becoming Certified | Fees | Seal | Web Accessibility Consultants (WACs) | Certified Web Sites and Applications | Inaccessible Web Site Notification Form