Re: Seeking feedback on IAAP certification roadmap

Thanks for the comments Phill,

Your use case examples are certainly in line with the type of things we are
trying to achieve.

Paul Bohman, PhD
Director of Training
Deque Systems, Inc
703-225-0380, ext.121

On Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Phill Jenkins <> wrote:

> Sharron,
> two great questions that I'll weigh in on.
> 1: "What is the problem we are addressing with certification and how is
> it solved?"
> Here is a use case that explains one problem:  NIST in the USA is tasked
> with certifying voting machines and the whole system (management,
> preparation, voting day operations, etc.) for accessibility compliance to
> guidelines and standards.  When a certifying company (agency or consultant)
> takes on the certifying tasks, some guidelines or criteria were asked for
> on how to know who could be qualified and hired to do the work.  There were
> nor recognized or published criteria to be found.  So, the team started
> writing up some basic criteria they thought about, such as a Master degree,
> a few years of experience, etc.  But they soon had additional questions to
> answer: which master's degree?  how many years? and experience in what?
> The IAAP professional certification program would help NIST examine and
> determine if an IAAP certified processional would be sufficient and/or
> necessary to meet their needs.  It would also help NIST better understand
> their own extended criteria & needs (which is frankly part of the problem
> we are solving for our accessibility community too).
> 2: "It is unlikely that employers or others will choose certification
> over years of proven experience" [OK, not a question, but not a given
> either in my opinion]
> I believe another problem IAAP Certification is solving is how to
> consistently and with some confidence be able to answer the questions:
> "what does years of proven experience" mean or equate to and give the
> employer?  e.g. how many years of experience is appropriate to be used to
> certify an individual as professional?  What kinds of experience? e.g. I
> ran a usability study with participants with disabilities vs I participated
> in a usability study; what kind of knowledge? e.g. I know where to find and
> use WCAG techniques, vs I was on the working group that wrote WCAG; I know
> which assistive technologies would be appropriate for a accessibility
> assessment, vs a knowledge of the difference between AT's from both an end
> user's perspective and a testing perspective;  etc. I suppose I',m starting
> to write the questions for the certification test, sorry.   In other words,
> a certification MUST explain what it represents and perhaps how it is
> equivalent to years of accessibility experience, proving the ability to do
> an accessibility assessment of  web sites, etc. so that the employer or
> decision maker (e.g. NIST) can decide if that persons has the necessary
> qualifications and skills. I believe if we can write up the necessary list
> of skills a certification test can be written to benefit the community and
> our stake holders.
>  I'm not representing IBM, the Access Board, nor IAAP on my response, but
> simply contributing to the groups' thinking and possibly helping Paul get
> more information documented.
> ____________________________________________
> Regards,
> Phill Jenkins,
> Senior Accessibility Engineer & Business Development Executive
> IBM Research - Human Ability & Accessibility Center
> From:        Sharron Rush <>
> To:,
> Date:        04/09/2014 10:54 AM
> Subject:        Re: Seeking feedback on IAAP certification roadmap
> ------------------------------
> Hi Paul,
> These are important questions, I am glad that the IAAP is asking them.  I
> would add this one: What exactly is the problem meant to be solved by the
> certification process?  I have heard several but none seems aligned with
> the Roadmap that you present here.  So I guess the follow on question would
> be: How does the certification process solve that problem?
> I looked on the "About IAAP" page for an answer to my question of "What is
> the problem we are addressing with certification and how is it solved?" The
> closest I can find is under "Individual Professional Development" which
> says:
> "Develop and implement activities, including a certification program, to
> enable professionals working in accessibility and those interested in
> knowing more about accessibility to influence and implement accessibility
> within any organization." Not sure what that means - can you explain? is it
> focused on web accessibility? physical accessibility? both? and for whom
> exactly?
> It is lovely to see people working together for a common goal of improving
> awareness and skills around digital accessibility (and I will assume for
> the sake of discussion that is what is meant).  I strongly agree with the
> fact that inclusive design thinking is needed and is needed throughout an
> organization, not simply among tech people.  But if that is the problem,
> isn't Lars' solution by far the better one? Should our efforts not be put
> to integrating accessibility awareness and skills training into existing
> educational programs for project management, programming, design,
> engineering, communications, etc?  It seems that the last thing we want is
> for accessibility to be once more shoehorned into a "special" category,
> like "special" education that seems to be aimed at a particular (and
> somehow different) group of people.  Do we not, rather want to see broad
> thinking about human interaction integrated seamlessly into the way people
> are trained for digital communications professions?
> I don't think, as others seem to, there is anything to fear from a
> certification program.  It is unlikely that employers or others will choose
> certification over years of proven experience.  Most are quite familiar
> with the empty promise of some skills certification programs, I am thinking
> now of usability certifications, a closely related field. But I also see so
> little to gain and find myself wishing that this much energy and effort
> were being expended on an initiative that could really make a difference. I
> am simply not convinced that this is it.
> I don't mean to be a wet blanket and I thought a while about just letting
> this go its course and remaining silent.  But as I said, it is exciting to
> see people begin to take action and I appreciate the way you address the
> concerns that have been raised, Paul.  So I share my perspective in the
> hope of being helpful in focusing the efforts of IAAP on a course of action
> that might produce more useful outcomes than building yet another
> certification.
> Sincerely,
> Sharron
> ------------------------------
> Sharron Rush | Executive Director |
> * Equal access to technology for people with disabilities *
> *Learn web accessibility from nose to tail at *<>
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Received on Friday, 11 April 2014 19:40:03 UTC