The Certificate for Web Accessibility
An accessible web is a sign and an expression of an open, democratic and inclusive society. WACA is the first independent certificate to make accessibility according to the international W3C guidelines (WCAG 2.1 – level AA) visible to the outside world. This quality seal guarantees accessibility for all people on the certified websites, is intended for websites in German and English throughout Europe and is issued based on the European Standard EN 301 549. It recognises the web accessibility efforts of companies and organisations and ensures compliance with legal requirements. Independent and certified experts are appointed by the WACA Advisory Board to carry out audits. An interdisciplinary advisory board with a wide variety of core competences monitors the certification process and is responsible for the further development of the certificate as well as for the appointment of auditors.
How to obtain a WACA certificate?
We have divided the entire certification process into different phases:
If you are unsure whether your website meets the basic accessibility criteria according to the WCAG, we can point to a network of consultants who are constantly working on the topic and can provide qualified professionals in the field of web accessibility. In general, we recommend a professional consultation prior to starting the certification process or at least a quick preliminary check in order to avoid mistakes when submitting your website via the online portal for evaluation. This way we also want to avoid that certification is denied due to a lack of accessibility on your website and that your website has to be submitted a second time.
We can recommend the members of our Advisory Board for consultation prior to submitting your website for evaluation:
- WIENFLUSS information.design.solutions
- doloops GmbH
- gugler* MarkenSinn
- Competence Network Information Technology to Support the Integration of People with Disabilities (KI-I)
- myAbility Social Enterprise GmbH
- Austrian Association in Support of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Here you will find a pool of specialised digital agencies and experts among the members of the society Accessible Media.
In addition, we recommend the Certified WebAccessibility Experts of the Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO) of the UBIT division, which is responsible for business consulting, accounting and information technology.
Before submitting your website for evaluation, you can take advantage of an initial consultation by phone. This consultation is included in the certification price. During this consultation, we will analyse the website to be audited together with you or your digital agency, explain how to use the online submission portal and discuss the formalised audit protocol and audit methodology. Furthermore, the scope of the evaluation (test sample) will be defined and the price for the certification will be fixed. The scope of the audit, and thus the certification price, depends on the size, scope and complexity of your website. The sample selection is based on the specifications of the W3C and constitutes a representative sample of your website. The certification price also includes a post-audit, in case it is necessary.
Following the initial consultation, an order is placed and a certification contract and logo usage contract are signed. Subsequently, an independent auditor is appointed. This is done in a fixed order and with defined exclusion criteria. The auditor must not have any connection to the submitted website nor to the company or organisation. The appointed auditor then determines the test sample for the website, which the Customer submitted by themselves. Moreover, the auditor determines a random sample. This constitutes approximately 10% of the test sample and remains unknown to the Customer. The test sample will be sent to the Customer within 1 week following placement of the order.
Price scale for WCAG 2.1 – AA (relating to the test and random sample) including initial consultation and annual review audits, excluding VAT:
- Small (up to 5 audited sites): € 1,400
- Medium (6 to 10 audited sites): € 3,000
- Large (11 to 20 audited sites): € 6,000
- X-Large (from 21 audited sites): individual quotation
Note: An additional charge for complex websites is possible
Note: Language of the audits
All audit reports and the WACA-label respectively snippet will be carried out in German or English language. To acquire the WACA-certification in both languages, only the cost of translations of the audit reports, depending on the complexity, is incurred. These additional costs will be estimated at the beginning and reinvoiced after the certification, depending on the complexity.
First, a self-evaluation is carried out by the person submitting the data via the online submission portal. For each WCAG criterion, you have the opportunity to argue your position on whether and how your website meets this criterion or not. To do so, you have a total of 1 month. Subsequently, the independent auditor will carry out the actual audit within one month. Any shortcomings and errors or deviations from the WCAG success criteria will be recorded. The audit report is then sent to the person who submitted the website. It indicates any corrections that may be necessary. In addition, an outlook is given as to which certificate level (Gold, Silver or Bronze) can be achieved.
Cancellation of the audit:
In case the first three pages of the test sample contain more than 50% errors or were not correctly specified in the submission portal, the audit is cancelled. The certification contract ends automatically.
If no deviations from the WCAG success criteria are detected, the Customer immediately receives the Gold certificate. No post-audit is necessary in this case.
In case of deviations from the success criteria:
If the Silver or Bronze level is attained at the first audit, the Customer may accept this level straight away. However, if the Customer wishes to achieve a higher level, a post-audit can be requested. This is included in the certification price. The Customer is given a certain period of time to correct the errors found during the first audit and then a post-audit takes place.
If none of the three levels is reached in the first audit, a post-audit must be carried out, otherwise the certification contract expires after the respective deadline. In this case, no certificate can be awarded. The Customer is given a certain period of time to correct the errors found during the first audit and then a post-audit takes place.
Deadlines for the revision phase:
- Small: 1 month
- Medium: 2 months
- Large or X-Large: 3 months
Issuance of the WACA Gold, Silver or Bronze certificate
- Certified by TÜV Austria
- Audit report available after each audit
- Special WACA label in print and web format for your use
- Certified websites are listed on this website under “Certified websites”
- Valid for 3 years with short review audits being carried out annually. After 3 years, re-certification is required
- Larger changes or amendments to the website must be reported
Criteria and website components exempted from the audit are clearly communicated in the audit report and are also noted in the database. After the certificate has been issued, the accessibility status of the website must be maintained.
Reporting by the website operator:
Major changes to a certified website and/or the implementation of new technical tools must be reported to WACA by the website operator and will be reviewed by an auditor for accessibility. It is the responsibility of the WACA Advisory Board to add any such changes and updates to the criteria excluded from the audit, to exclude them from the certification criteria or to demand the correction of potential deficiencies. However, if changes and modifications to a certified website become prevalent and do not meet the WCAG criteria, an existing certificate may be revoked or a new audit must be carried out.
Reporting by third parties:
In case a user objects to or stumbles across non-conformities with accessibility standards on a certified website, they can report the issue to the certification body via the respective form located next to the WACA label on the certified website. The website operator will be notified and asked to restore the accessibility of the website.
Annual inspection audits by the certification body:
2 short audits are included in the certification process. They will be carried out in the 1st and 2nd year after the certification. The submitter does not need to do anything. The audits are started automatically by the certification body. Within the inspections, the homepage / start page and depending on the size of the test samples a different amount of exemplary subpages, will be audited and evaluated if the respective classification can remain unchanged. The submitter will be immediately contacted to implement appropriate means should there be differences detected. A downgrade may be conducted or the certificate may be withdrawn if the adjustments are not done at the required level.
Re-certification phase after 3 years
At the end of the certification period, re-certification is required. This process is similar to the initial submission process. Following a successful audit, you can continue to use the WACA certificate on your website or aim for a higher level. Submissions for re-certification must be sent to WACA at least 2 months prior to the expiry of the certificate. We will notify you in good time.
Costs of re-certification:
- The price depends on the necessary test scope for a representative sample (scope of test sample) according to the initial submission, see price scale above. However, the re-certification process will be carried out by the new certification body TÜV Austria, meaning that you will receive the TÜV label on your website in addition to the WACA label.
- If your website has not undergone any fundamental changes since the last audit, a discount of 35% can be offered. The same test sample can be used for the re-certification audit as was used for the initial audit. Self-evaluation by the website operator is also not applicable in this case. Once the existing test sample has been reviewed, the audit can take place immediately. However, the auditor will select a new random sample and include it in the test scope.
- In the event that your website has changed fundamentally since the last audit, new designs have been adopted or additional technical tools have been integrated, a new submission including self-evaluation must be carried out. See price scale above. The WACA Advisory Board reserves the right to make individual quotations in this regard.