Digital Accessibility Industry Calls for Professional Certification
In our work to support digital accessibility projects, we come across many developers and web professionals who know parts of the puzzle. Surprisingly though, many claim digital accessibility practices as an expert skill. In fact, a quick review of accessibility-related profiles on LinkedIn suggest expertise in the following:
- ADA Compliance: 14,705
- ADA Guidelines 1,412
- Accessibility: 215,847
- Universal Design: 14,380
- ADA: 47,750
- Americans with Disabilities Act: 15,495
- Accessibility Surveys: 175
- Disability: 663,295
At a recent networking event with leaders of accessibility professionals, we came to the conclusion that accessibility is a much larger field of professionals than previously thought. But how can we really tell who knows what it takes to be an accessibility expert? After all, there are plenty of people claiming to work in this area and holding themselves out as experts. The conclusion? There is a need for professional credentialing process in this area.
With the renewed focus on digital accessibility with news laws out of the EU and the increasing practice of issuing demand letters for the compliance of websites, it is important to truly select professional that do have this area of expertise.
Digital Accessibility Certification Program
Representing Cryptzone as a founding board member of IAAP, I have the privilege of working to develop a certification program that aspires to the following goals for accessibility certification:
- To define what accessibility professionals are expected to know.
- To increase the quality and consistency of the work performed by accessibility professionals.
- To provide accessibility professionals with a credential as evidence of their commitment to the accessibility field, and of their competence within the field.
- To provide employers, the accessibility community and the public with a metric to measure and assess the accessibility competence of current and/or prospective employees.
- To provide colleges, universities, and vocational programs with clear educational outcomes and a curriculum outline for teaching accessibility.
- To strengthen the community of practice among accessibility professionals.
Evaluating Digital Accessibility Vendors
For any organization requiring expertise for digital accessibility, ensure you review what associations that provider is a member of. Also, as more is done to develop certification practices, ask how the organization is involved in these and if the team plans to become certified because you truly want expertise in this area to avoid unnecessary legal issues and better yet to open your service to a huge market of people living with disabilities.
Read more from Ken Nakata.