Vision-Aid Launches Digital Accessibility Testing & Training Center

Vision-Aid launched its latest innovative initiative for the visually impaired – the Vision-Aid Digital Accessibility Testing & Training Center (DATTC)  on Oct. 18 2020. This Center 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.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.

DAT Students (Batch 1, 2019)
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 .

Future vision

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.

Testing

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.

Training

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.

Certification

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.

Empowering

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.

For more information about Vision-Aid’s DATTC please visit https://webaccessibility.visionaid.org or request an information package from dat@visionaid.org

To watch the launch of the DATT center please click this link.

Vision-Aid India Relaunches its Website

The launch of this new website gives us renewed hope that India will see more lives of the visually impaired being transformed.

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Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

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Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

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Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

Bindhu Sri

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