Section 508 VPAT or WCAG 2.0 certification for your product
With our services and guidance, you can be compliant with ADA, Section 508, and W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and get an accessibility certification. Our thought leadership and expertise in accessibility is recognized globally and we leverage it to help you lead your industry.
NBC Learn achieves accessibility compliance with the help of Interactive Accessibility. NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, has digitized more than 12,000 stories from the NBC News archives and is dedicated to making these available on-demand to ALL teachers, students, and parents.
What is an accessibility certification?
An accessibility certification summarizes the level of compliance with the Section 508 standards or WCAG 2.0 guidelines on a particular date. Interactive Accessibility recommends updating the website or application certification at least once a year.
There are three different types of certification:
- Statement of Accessibility - this is a written document summarizing the types of features and level of compliance achieved based on a review of both a representative sample and random sample of pages on the site. The statement would include a list of the pages, sections and/or types of pages included and the date of the assessment. Because we are not reviewing every page on the site, this statement would provide a reasonable confidence that it conforms to the accessibility standards and guidelines.
- Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) Statement - For U.S. based websites and applications, the level of accessibility is documented using the VPAT or GPAT templates which are used by procurement departments and government agencies for gauging the level of accessibility. For additional information about VPATs, visit Information Technology Industry Council.
- WCAG 2.0 Conformance Claim - A conformance claim under WCAG 2.0 means that every page that is included in the claim meets the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria at either A, AA or AAA level of compliance. To make a conformance claim, there must be no content which violates the Success Criteria. This review involves a comprehensive review of every page that you would like included in the conformance claim and is the most expensive option but is the most thorough type of claim.
Steps and criteria
Interactive Accessibility uses a repeatable and highly-tailored approach to provide an objective and thorough assessment. We follow the recommended evaluation methodology set by the W3C. For information on this methodology, please see the Web Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology 1.0.
The following steps are typically performed as part of an iterative process to achieve accessibility conformance.
- Define the evaluation scope including a list all sites and sub-sites to be included in the review, the minimum set of browsers and assistive technology that will be supported.
- Select a representative sample of pages to be included in the detail accessibility audit.
- Audit the selected sample to identify any areas that do not conform to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 level AA. This will include an assessment of the level of support for assistive technologies and browsers defined in step 1.
- Document findings along with detailed recommendations on how to fix the identified issues.
- The developers can then fix the accessibility issues on the pages included in the accessibility audit and on all other pages in the site.
- Quality assurance testing to ensure the changes have been made and meet the accessibility requirements.
- Conduct a final site verification. The scope of this accessibility audit review will depend on the type of accessibility statement but most of the time this includes a random sample of pages.
A statement of accessibility can be written anytime after step 5 and can be updated with each iteration of changes to the site. Note: If you would like to make a conformance claim under WCAG 2.0, all webpages included in this claim must be evaluated for accessibility.
Why have a statement of accessibility?
A statement of accessibility demonstrates your commitment to accessibility and provides details to users with disabilities that lets them make informed decisions about your products which will help you win new sales and improve customer loyalty.
Testing your products to determine their levels of compliance helps to:
- Reach the substantial market of web users with disabilities
- Cater to the growing market of baby boomers experiencing normal vision degradation
- Improve usability for all users
- Expand opportunities with government agencies
- Reduce legal exposure to potential legal complaints or lawsuits
How often do I need to renew the certification?
Accessibility statements should be updated yearly or when you release a new version of an existing product. Maintaining an accurate and current statement of accessibility is an important part of incorporating accessibility into your best practices for development.
When you have achieved accessibility conformance, Interactive Accessibility provides an accessibility certification seal that can be posted on your website.
If the page has achieved a WCAG 2.0 A, AA or AAA conformance, the W3C provides conformance logos that can be displayed on that particular page. The conformance icon refers to a single page and if the claim is meant to apply to more than one page, then a statement of scope should be provided with the the logo.
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