LEXINGTON, MA–Vision-Aid is set to launch on Oct. 18 its latest innovative initiative for the visually impaired – the Vision-Aid Digital Accessibility Testing & Training Center (DATTC) which will offer a comprehensive range of resources for Digital Accessibility Testing and Training.
Vision-Aid’s team uses leading international standards, highly trained, skilled and certified staff and state-of-the-art processes, technology and tools to deliver a high-quality program in both testing and training in this space.
“The center is a win-win-win for multiple stakeholders,” Vision-Aid said in a statement. “For visually impaired students, it offers state-of-the-art, world-class training programs in Digital Accessibility Testing processes and tools. For trained students, the center opens up career pathways in the IT industry.”
Some students will work on in-house projects at Vision-Aid’s DATTC, outsourced from global customers, while others will be helped to find placement in other companies and organizations as accessibility testers. For organizations looking to hire quality and trained accessibility testers, the DATTC offers very affordable, efficient testing services. For the digital world at large, the DATTC is going to do its bit by making the digital eco-system more accessible.
Clients seeking testing services will pay nominal costs for the services. These costs will help to keep the DATTC sustainable and all revenues will be reinvested back in Vision-Aid’s programs for the visually impaired. This is a unique program “of the disabled, by the disabled and for the disabled” – offering persons with disabilities an opportunity to gain skills, financial independence and dignity, while making a significant contribution to the disabled community and everyone else by creating more accessible digital resources.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility means that electronic documents and information can be easily used by people with disabilities. The lack of digital accessibility is one of the biggest barriers in inclusion for persons with disabilities. Vision-Aid is committed to doing its utmost to make the digital world a more accessible and inclusive place for all through its new DATTC.
Accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to have access to and benefit from an entity or system. Digital Accessibility refers to the ability of users with disabilities to effectively utilize information technology (IT) systems including web sites, mobile or web-based applications, software and hardware. Digital Accessibility is generally concerned with ensuring that IT systems are designed in such a way that they interact appropriately with assistive technologies. Extensive accessibility legislation is present in most of the major domestic markets including the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and Japan. Generally, the relevant portions of accessibility legislation require that organizations make best efforts in order to ensure that physical and electronic business areas can be used by individuals with disabilities.
Vision-Aid’s revenue model for the DATTC
Vision-Aid is a non-profit organization. The Digital Accessibility Testing and Training Center (DATTC) is a non-profit initiative under Vision-Aid. Revenue generated from Vision-Aid’s DATTC testing projects are used to support programs for the visually impaired. Training and empowerment programs run by the DATTC are supported by the generosity of donors. Vision-Aid’s mission is to enable, educate and empower the visually impaired to live with independence and dignity. Vision-Aid’s vision is to facilitate the creation of an inclusive digital ecosystem for persons with disabilities while at the same time creating learning and training opportunities for the visually impaired. Vision-Aid is grateful to the generosity of donors Sundari and Samir Mitra, of California, USA, for their financial support which helps to cover the cost of training and empowerment of under-privileged visually impaired students at the new center. On October 18, 2020, this virtual center will be christened as the Vissa Sahadeva Rao and Kamala Vissa Vision-Aid Center for Digital Accessibility Testing & Training to honor the donor’s parents in acknowledgement of their support .
Vision-Aid aims to scale its center to offer free or highly subsidized training for visually impaired learners, as well as affordable , high-quality digital accessibility testing services for companies and organizations which aspire to create highly accessible digital systems. It also plans to offer a range of services to the visually impaired to acquire soft skills and other skills to find jobs in the competitive IT industry. The DATTC will focus on 3 areas: Testing, Training and Empowering.
In the area of Testing – Vision-Aid’s Digital Accessibility Testing & Training Center (DATTC) will offer a comprehensive range of resources for Digital Accessibility Testing needs. The team follows leading international standards (including WCAG 2.0), trained and certified staff and state-of-the-art processes, technology and tools to deliver a high-quality testing service for any corporation or organization seeking to outsource digital accessibility testing. Testing includes both manual and automated testing. The multi-disciplinary team includes both disabled and non-disabled testers to carry out in-depth, holistic testing.
In the area of training, Vision-Aid offers a professionally structured, state-of-the-art training program at a highly subsidized cost to any visually impaired individuals who aspires to become a world-class DAT tester. Vision-Aid has already completed two batches of training. Each batch has around 15 students, and spends around 4.5 months to undergo an intense and rigorous training to learn best practices in DAT as well as become proficient in the tools and processes needed to do accessibility testing. The DATTC has already trained around 30 visually impaired students in two batches drawn from a large pool of applicants from all over India. The trainers are among the best in the industry. Many of them work for top IT companies and volunteer their time with this program.
DAT Students (Batch 2, 2020)
Almost all students who complete the intense 4.5 month training program acquire deep enough skills so that they can easily obtain industry recognized certifications. These certifications help students find jobs, and also helps Vision-Aid assure its testing clients of its high adherence to standards.
The DATTC does not stop with testing and training. In addition to training and creating job opportunities within Vision-Aid, the center also empowers the visually impaired with a range of support services for visually impaired students and staff – including coaching, mentoring, resume creation, soft skills training, networking and advocacy. Vision-Aid works with other organizations to help students find job placements.