How to Certify a Website as Accessible / “ADA Compliant” in 2023

Certification for ADA compliance as it relates to websites and digital assets is unavailable because there are no governing bodies or entities licensed by governing bodies that are able to issue that certification.

So what we have to look to is a different type of certification and there are two primary ways to do this.

One is more formal and the other is informal but highly practical.

First, look to a conformance statement.

A conformance statement is a construct of the Worldwide Web Consortium or W3C under their Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and what the conformance statement does is it states that your website, for a set a given set of URLs and/or screens is accessible and fully meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines success criteria for a given version and conformance level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

So typically what we’ll be looking at is 2.0 AA or 2.1 AA and this conformance statement will speak to that.

Now what we can also do – and what I think is very practical and will help prevent litigation – is to have user testing performed by a panel of professionals with diverse disabilities.

And, of course, they’re going to be using assistive technology where applicable.

If you have a panel of users and they can issue you a report that they found no accessibility issues on your website, that’s going to be very compelling in litigation.

And so if you have both that’s even better.

That’s as- the apex of certification as it as it stands in 2022 and heading into 2023 is that you would have both a user testing report and then a conformance statement.

And then if you link to those in your accessibility statement that is published on your website then you are going to be in great shape.

Like there there’s really nothing more that you can do in terms of 1) making sure that your website is accessible but then 2) demonstrating it through the- the conformance statement and then having the user testing panel report also published and and linked to.

So if you want to certify your website that those are the two best ways to go one is more formal and the other is more informal.

Now when you do get this certification, you want to make sure it’s through a reputable provider if you go- let’s put it this way certification should never be easy it should never be a part of simply buying a product or paying a company for an audit.

That’s not that’s not what should happen.

It should be any type of certification it’s worthless if it’s from a- a vendor that has no reputation or no credibility so you want to make sure that these documents are issued by reputable organizations and that they are they cannot be bought.

They have to be a result of accessibility there might be a fee associated with getting them, but they cannot be purchased in and of themselves they don’t come with anything because that’s not how accessibility works.

So that is that is how to certify a website as accessible.