WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

Accessible Website Certification

Our accessible website 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 website on a specific date. Certification is an extension of our Site Evaluation and Reporting and Consulting services.

There are four steps to site certification:

  1. WebAIM will conduct a comprehensive review of your site, generally on a representative sample of pages, to a pre-determined standard.
  2. We will deliver a report that documents compliance and other accessibility barriers found on your site.
  3. Once the documented accessibility requirements are met and verified (this may take a few iterations of re-evaluation and reporting), we will publish the certificate, valid for two years.
  4. We can then monitor and re-certify your site for a two-year renewal, to ensure accessibility is maintained over time (or sooner, if you choose).

How much does certification cost?

There is no cost for the certificate itself; only the effort to evaluate the site.

Can you provide pricing and a proposal for the evaluation?

Yes, if we are given access to the site or application in question. Cost depends on sample size, complexity, and current accessibility. 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?

Implement as much basic accessibility as possible 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?

  • You may receive federal funding that requires adherence 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 competitors.
  • 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 your needs. If your content 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. 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.

Would training be more effective than evaluation and certification?

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 report gaining more value through training than evaluation, but 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 website?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are primarily the basis for our evaluations. We will also document other accessibility issues not defined in the guidelines. If your organization is either part of, or does business with, the U.S. 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 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.

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