Accessible Web Site Certification
Our accessible web site certification service can help you ensure that you are meeting and will continue to meet the needs of your site visitors while verifying compliance with accessibility guidelines and requirements.
What is site certification?
WebAIM will provide a statement declaring the level of accessibility of your web site on a specific date. Certification is really nothing more than an extension of our Site Evaluation and Reporting and Consulting services.
There are four steps to site certification:
- WebAIM will conduct a comprehensive review of your site, generally on a representative sample of pages.
- We will provide a report that documents compliance and other accessibility barriers found on your site.
- Once the documented accessibility requirements are met and verified (this may take a few iterations of re-evaluation and reporting), we can certify the accessibility of your site to a pre-determined standard.
- If you'd like, we can then monitor and re-certify your site to ensure accessibility over time.
How much does certification cost?
That's right, certification itself is offered at no cost. However, in order to provide the certification, WebAIM must conduct an evaluation of the site and all compliance issues identified must be resolved.
Can you provide pricing and a proposal for the evaluation?
Yes, but only if we are given access to the site or application in question. The cost of our evaluation and reporting services is based upon the size, complexity, and current accessibility of your web site, but is very reasonable priced. For most moderately-sized sites which already have some accessibility in place, a detailed evaluation of a representative sample of pages and a report documenting issues will be priced in the range of a few thousand dollars.
What can I do before I request certification?
WebAIM will only certify sites that meet accessibility guidelines. While our evaluation and report will document compliance and accessibility issues, we recommend implementing as much basic accessibility as you're able before we begin. At a minimum, we suggest evaluating the site with WAVE and trying to address errors that are identified.
Why would I want certification?
There are several reasons why you might want WebAIM to certify the accessibility of your site:
- You may have a received funding from the federal government that requires that your materials adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act or other accessibility guidelines or laws. WebAIM can verify that you have met these technical requirements.
- You may be creating a service or application that you would like to market to the federal government. If you can verify that your product conforms with Section 508, you will have an advantage over other similar products and services that do not meet this standard.
- You want to confidently proclaim that your site is compliant and has been certified by a recognized leader in web accessibility.
Is certification a one-time or an ongoing process?
WebAIM can offer either one-time or regularly scheduled certifications, depending on the needs of your organization. If you are creating content that is unlikely to change over time, a one-time certification might be sufficient. If your site is updated regularly, you may desire regular re-certification on the content of the site. The frequency and comprehensiveness of each re-certification will vary based on your needs. These follow up checks are usually less extensive than the original certification. When certification is ongoing, WebAIM will usually host a page showing the current level of accessibility of the site, as well as the date of the next scheduled re-evaluation.
Would training be more effective than evaluation and certification?
Probably. Web accessibility training provided by WebAIM will provide a broader accessibility knowledge base than our evaluation reports, which will only document current accessibility issues on your site. Most WebAIM clients get a better 'bang for the buck' through training than through evaluation, though doing both (providing broad training and a brief evaluation of specific issues on your site) is often the most effective.
What standard do you use when certifying a web site?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are primarily the basis for our evaluations, though we will also document other accessibility issues not defined in the guidelines. If your organization is either part of or does business with the US federal government, then we can verify that your site conforms with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Many other countries or states in the U.S. have laws regarding accessibility which we can evaluate to. WebAIM can even help you create your own accessibility standard and/or policy to which we can help you attain and certify compliance.
Is this certification the same as a VPAT?
Government agencies often require a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) that documents your products compliance with Section 508. Our site certification also can document compliance, but it is not a VPAT. WebAIM can, however, help you author a VPAT for your product as part of our consultation services.
What if a certified site starts to have accessibility problems?
WebAIM site certifications are for a specific date and compliance level. It is up to you to ensure that your site maintains that level of accessibility over time. Of course, WebAIM can help you in these efforts by auditing and re-certifying your site upon request or at regular intervals.
Contact WebAIM about accessibility certification services