Driving Accessibility through Consumer Demand and The Power of Certification

  • Driving Accessibility through Consumer Demand and The Power of Certification

    Posted by Sage Inclusion on July 9, 2024 at 10:53 pm

    Hey, folks!

    I’m super excited to share how important accessibility certification is and how we, as consumers, can push for more verified accessibility with proper accreditation.

    Why Certification Matters

    Accessibility certifications are crucial for guaranteeing that products, services, and environments are designed to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Certified products and services are verified by credible authorities, ensuring they meet standardized accessibility criteria and reflect a commitment to inclusivity.

    Let’s agree consumers can significantly influence the market by prioritizing and demanding certified accessible products and services. Here’s how we can make a difference:

    1. Choose Certified Products: Opt for products and services with recognized accessibility certifications.

    2. Provide Feedback: Share your experiences and emphasize the importance of certification in your feedback to companies.

    3. Advocate for Accessibility: Use social media and other platforms to promote adopting accessibility standards.

    4. Support Inclusive Brands: Patronize brands committed to accessibility and holding accredited certifications.

    Have you encountered products or services with accessibility certifications? How did it impact your experience?

  • 7 Replies
  • Becoming RentABLE

    July 9, 2024 at 11:04 pm

    Well said John.

  • Patty

    July 9, 2024 at 11:36 pm

    A VERY well thought out article John😀

  • Eleonora

    July 10, 2024 at 12:04 am

    I think in principle it’s great, but “certification” when it comes to accessibility, is a very wide and fragmented concept. Apart from the ADA in the US, in the rest of the world it is a nightmare where everyone makes their own labels and certification schemes, sometimes even more than one in each country (in Belgium I know of 2 different ones, and there might be a third – it’s a population of 12 million people btw).

    I heard some time ago that there was also an ISO standard at one point – dedicated to accessibility – but not sure if it has been approved, and if yes, adopted worldwide, as I do not hear anyone talking about it in the sector… but maybe I am biased as I am in contact mainly with smaller accessible travel tour operators and organisations at local levels.

    So certification would be great if there was a less fragmented certification landscape at an international level.

    (A friend who works in accessibility in Romania, Cristina Caluianu, has a brilliant app for accessibility evaluation which evaluates for compliance of various accessibility standards, I definitively recommend contacting her for the Audara App. @accessibleromania is their contact in here.)

    • AJ

      July 10, 2024 at 3:06 am

      Hi Eleonora,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. You’re absolutely right that the landscape of accessibility certification can be fragmented, which can be frustrating for both consumers and businesses.

      At Sage Inclusion, we’ve recognized this challenge and worked extensively to address it. We spent over two years reviewing global standards and collaborating with ANSI (ansi.org) to create a comprehensive certification that draws from the best practices worldwide. Our certification goes beyond the ADA, incorporating a broader and more inclusive set of criteria to ensure accessibility is truly meaningful for everyone.

      It’s a rigorous process that involved significant time and resources, but we believe it’s essential for setting a higher standard in accessibility. We aim to create a unified approach that can be recognized and trusted globally.

      Thank you for mentioning Cristina Caluianu and the Audara App. We’ll definitely look into it and explore potential collaborations to further enhance our mission of making accessibility more standardized and impactful.

    • Josh Grisdale

      July 10, 2024 at 12:47 pm

      I remember hearing about the ISO standard. I believe it was released because I wanted to see it but it was going to cost like €180 o get a copy!

    • Accessible Romania by Sano Touring

      July 12, 2024 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Eleonora,
      Thank you for this pertinent summary of the current status in terms of accessibility certification in the EU, which are all voluntary certifications. An example we know is the Access4You app and certification – a product that ultimately gives the venue a certification bearing an EU mark.
      There are many accessibility-related EU standards – overall accessibility, in the built environment, transportation, accessible tourism, accessible beaches, many in the ICT. All are published and available to purchase (their high price is another shortcoming for the actual implementation). There is only one common issue: no certification body to implement them at any level. I have recently seen an ENAT announcement
      So basically the information is there, it can be used and applied, but no Certification Body, European or national, is available to certify the compliance, as it happens to any other ISO.
      That’s why our application Audara (many thanks Eleonora for promoting it!) only assesses the current situation based on the legal requirements and gives a general overview – compliant/ non-compliant/ not applicable. This is a support for our accessibility audits of cultural venues, only, and we do not intend to go further with it.

  • Eleonora

    July 10, 2024 at 12:06 am

    In terms of companies who get visible certifications, at least in Europe we see a ton of environment certifications, and more ethical ones (the B Corporations is a great scheme, indeed) but nothing really on accessibility and inclusion specifically on the disability topics. Do you have something like B-Corps in inclusion in the US? Would love to know more about it and see how it could be brought as a best practice in Europe.

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