Auditing Web accessibility: The role of interest organizations in promoting compliance through certification

G. Anthony Giannoumis


Previous research on Web accessibility policy has focused on the application of anti-discrimination policies to the Web and has yet to explore fully, the mediators to policy implementation and compliance. Policy analyses and semi-structured interviews with 34 participants in the United Kingdom and United States demonstrate that interest organizations, including non-profit and for-profit organizations, support the implementation of anti-discrimination policies by providing audit and certification services. First, performance certification demonstrates the quality of a Web site, and interest organizations have developed certification initiatives based on international performance standards developed by the private sector. Second, professional certification demonstrates the quality of an individual’s knowledge and experience, yet despite the absence of educational standards, interest organizations offer professional certification. Third, procedural certification demonstrates the quality of organizational processes, yet despite the development of a national procedural standard, interest organizations do not offer procedural certification. This paper concludes by offering recommendations for enhancing the use of certification to achieve Web accessibility and provides suggestions for future research.

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