Mass Adoption for Web Accessibility Compliance Now Possible

New affiliate programme from Segala will boost accessibility adoption by Web site owners and enable suppliers to provide accessibility certification for all

London, September 21st 2006 – From today, under a new scheme from Segala, Web site owners can more easily adopt Web accessibility best practices and comply with their legal obligation. They benefit from flexible certification services for their site direct from their design agencies, developers and usability partners.

The Segala-Certified™ Affiliate Programme, the first of its kind worldwide, allows qualifying members to audit Web sites and award them with a Segala Certificate and Trustmark. The immediate benefit to Web site owners is that they are now able to clearly demonstrate that their site has been independently audited and certified. This gives a clear visual assurance that their site complies with industry standards and legislation. The Segala Trustmark also provides a common reference for end users to recognize accessible Web sites, allowing them to choose accessible sites over those that are innaccessible.

The additional appeal to agencies joining the scheme is delivered by the granting of the Trustmark itself. The Trustmark is unique in being machine-readable and can therefore be detected by compatible search engines and browsers. This allows filtered searches on accessible sites, helping to ensure that users can find sites which claim to be accessible.

Web site owners are already recognising the benefits of the scheme with some of Europe’s biggest agencies and usability consultancies set to award them with the Trustmark. Affiliate members include Modem Media, Corporate Edge, Suburb, Steel, Isle Interactive and User Vision. It allows affiliate members either to partner with Segala to conduct audits on their behalf, or opt to provide the Certificates and the Trustmark to supplement their own existing offering. This makes the scheme flexible, low cost, quick and easy to apply.

A key part of the Programme is that a certificate can be awarded to a site based on existing levels of compliance, meaning agencies don’t necessarily need to re-design a site to certify it. Further, clients don’t have to spend any money on more development to display the Trustmark, enabling agencies to start certifying sites as soon as they join the scheme and for Web site owners to display the Trustmark as soon as their site is certified.

The scheme has been widely welcomed by the industry. Emma Kirk, Strategic Director of User Vision, a usability and accessibility consultancy says “The Segala-Certified Affiliate Programme means we can start certifying clients and award them with the Trustmark straight away, boosting our offering and giving our clients a really compelling reason to employ User Vision for their usability and accessibility.”

Phil Parker, Creative Director of Suburb Design says “The programme allows us to deliver well designed, highly functional, accessible Web sites to our clients, and gives them peace of mind that they can claim accessible compliance. With the backing of the Segala Trustmark we are even better placed to educate our clients about the benefits and the need to obtain certification.”

Paul Walsh, CEO of Segala, said “The industry has been waiting for a widely available, recognised and simple way to certify and demonstrate accessibility compliance. With the Segala-Certified Programme we are introducing an independent, scalable, credible and secure method for media owners, online publishers and government agencies to meet the growing demand for Web accessibility compliance. By providing agencies with the necessary tools, services and support we have created a framework with which they can deliver accessibility for all.”

Notes to Editors
-----------------
Agencies, Developers and Usability & Accessibility consultancies interested in joining the Segala-Certified Affiliate Programme can contact Segala directly by emailing affiliate@segala.com or visiting www.segala.com/affiliates. The Charter membership scheme, with additional programme benefits, is open for companies to join until Oct. 31st 2006.

About Segala
-----------------
Segala is a worldwide independent authority and provider of Web accessibility and mobile content testing, certification, programmes and services. Segala enables media owners and publishers, interactive developers, and digital agencies to develop online content that is accessible to as many users as possible whilst meeting corporate responsibility and legal obligations.

Segala is a sponsor member of the W3C Content Label Incubator Group (XG-CL), a worldwide initiative to develop content labelling standards for the Web. As an Associate member of the W3C, Segala also participates in the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and is a Founding Sponsor of the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI). Segala is the first testing and compliance specialist worldwide to become an associate member of the GSMA. Segala has global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and office in the UK. For further information visit www.segala.com.

About the Segala-Certified™ Certificate
-----------------
The award of a Segala certificate to a Web site enables the owner to clearly show that their site has been independently verified and certified for accessibility. It demonstrates compliance with any required levels of accessibility conformance and can be awarded to a site based on the existing levels of compliance. This means that a site can be certified without the need to re-design it and site owners do not have to spend any money on development.

A certificate may also be awarded to part of a site, allowing the whole site to be updated and certified in a timely and cost-effective manner. Certificates may be awarded directly by Segala, or by any Segala-Certified Affiliate, and are generated based on up-to-date and verified accessibility audits.

About the Segala-Certified™ Trustmark
-----------------
The Segala-Certified™ Trustmark is a visual logo that allows Web site owners to clearly show that their site has been independently audited and certified for accessibility. It gives a clear visual assurance that their site complies with industry standards and legislation and links to a certificate that demonstrates the levels of conformance.

The Trustmark is unique in being machine-readable and can therefore be detected by compatible search engines and browsers. This allows filtered searches on accessible sites, helping to ensure that users can find sites which claim to be accessible. O2 is the first major organization worldwide to adopt the Segala Trustmark as standard throughout its online content.

###

For Further Information, please visit: Segala – www.segala.com/affiliates

Contact:
Andrew Gerrard
Segala UK
Mobile: +44 (0) 7771 678605
Email: andrew@segala.com
Web : www.segala.com

Segala – Enabling a Reliable, Consistent and Trusted Experience

Published on: 12:00AM on 21st September 2006