Perkins School for the Blind Launches "Perkins Access"
WATERTOWN, MA – Perkins School for the Blind has announced the roll-out of Perkins Access digital accessibility services.
Digital accessibility is more imperative than ever given the increasing reliance on online communications. However, many organizations lack the in-house expertise to fully evaluate and remediate digital assets for accessibility.
To fill that gap, Perkins Solutions has built a set of digital accessibility services as part of its Perkins Access suite. These new offerings are designed to help organizations address problems with accessibility and speed their progress to comply with mandates in the upcoming American with Disabilities Act (ADA) refresh and the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines updates that are in process.
New federal rules are still in the works, but The National Law Review has reported that numerous lawsuits resulting in settlement agreements have already been brought against organizations including major retailers, e-marketers, tax preparers and several colleges and universities — all because of a lack of web accessibility.
“Whether your enterprise offers global e-commerce, breakthrough high-tech development, or online education, it makes sense to maximize digital accessibility for all users,” says vice president of Perkins Solutions Bill Oates. “Why? Well, because your next set of new customers, the team with the hottest innovation, or the most brilliant new Ph.D. candidates just might be people with disabilities.”
To gauge the accessibility of college websites nationwide, Perkins Solutions looked at the online sites of 20 top colleges and universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report. They found that more than 90 percent failed to meet some or all of the guidelines that make websites accessible to disabled users.
Some universities, anticipating the new guidelines, and understanding the wider audience an accessible website brings, have already made changes. Harvard University and the University of Notre Dame each have engaged Perkins Solutions to improve the accessibility of their websites.
Getting it right requires a multi-faceted approach. Using a team of tech experts who have a range of disabilities, Perkins Solutions provides assessments of digital properties, gives feedback and offers remediation to help customers get their websites up to date to avoid costly litigation.
“Perkins Access is all about making digital and physical spaces more accessible so that all users can benefit. And it’s about bringing organizations into compliance and protecting them from potential lawsuits,” said Cris Broyles, Perkins Solutions’ director of digital accessibility. “By making websites accessible, we not only create a more accessible world for individuals with disabilities, we make organizations more attractive to a broader audience.”
For more information on Perkins Access, visit Perkins.org/access.
About Perkins Solutions
Perkins Solutions is a division of Perkins School for the Blind, a multifaceted organization working around the world. Perkins Solutions is redefining access through innovation in accessibility services, products, and training. Through their suite of services, Perkins Solutions helps organizations ensure their digital and physical spaces are accessible to all.