December 8, 2022

FIDO Alliance Provides Guidance on Making FIDO Deployments Accessible to People with Disabilities

By Christina Hulka, executive director and COO of the FIDO Alliance

FIDO Authentication has reached broad support across the web – all major operating systems, browsers and billions of devices support FIDO Authentication today. Having reached such a milestone and the resulting FIDO roll outs from a broad array of service providers, the FIDO Alliance is increasingly focused on ways to make FIDO Authentication more usable and accessible for all. 

In achieving FIDO Alliance’s mission of more secure and password-free authentication, we must ensure that we meet the needs and preferences of people with disabilities. Today, we are pleased to announce the publication of “Guidance for Making FIDO Deployments Accessible to Users with Disabilities,” to provide guidance on planning FIDO deployments that are accessible to users with a wide range of disabilities. It also aims to help hardware manufacturers identify opportunities to deliver more accessible external authenticators.

An estimated 15% of the world’s population lives with some sort of disability today, and in many countries, laws prohibit discrimination to help ensure that these people can fully and equally participate in every aspect of society. Authentication is an important component of the ability to participate, as it provides digital access to many aspects of society including (but not limited to) education, employment, and entertainment. While legacy forms of multi-factor authentication (MFA) like SMS or email codes are technically “accessible,” they often require advanced skill, knowledge and/or assistive technology to enter the codes. FIDO, with its stronger and simpler authentication model, is well positioned to provide accessible authentication, as it supports a wide range of options that accommodate vastly diverse needs. The paper released today details why, and considerations for, deploying FIDO with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. We strongly encourage service providers to reference these guidelines in planning their FIDO deployments.

Much work and collaboration went into this paper. We would like to thank Yao Ming of Meta for his extensive work as lead author on this paper. We’d also like to thank Joyce Oshita of VMware for her contributions, including providing her own experiences leveraging various authentication methods, including FIDO, as a person who has lost her eyesight. 

In addition to the white paper, Yao and Joyce will be joining us on December 15, 2022 at 2pm ET for a webinar to discuss their perspectives on this topic. To attend the webinar, register here.

The paper is available here; feedback is always appreciated – please drop a line at info@fidoalliance.org.  

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