Are you doing business with any organization that receives federal funds? You need to be 508 compliant. But what is section 508 compliance for accessibility? We will share all the details in this article.
Disability is a physical or mental illness that makes it challenging for you to do certain activities or interact with the World.
Unfortunately, nearly 25 percent of the American population has some disability, and about half have severe disabilities. Disabled people find it difficult to access websites, fail to apply for a job, or attend various online training programs.
They may miss out on crucial or life-saving Information. For instance, they cannot access the critical notices of the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service in formats they need.
Ignoring accessibility needs while developing a website can lower the page views and narrow down the target audience.
Well, section 508 is a boon for disabled people because it increases accessibility. Now the question comes: what is section 508 compliance for accessibility?
Section 508 is a section in the rehabilitation act of 1973 that mandates all the electronic and information technology that the Federal Government buys, makes, or maintains should have features that help the disabled easily access them.
So, 508 compliance involves developing a website that can be easily used by people with limited blindness, deafness, seizure order, or other disabilities. This article discusses section 508 in detail. So, keep on reading to know more about it in detail.
You might like to read: What are the ADA Requirements for Grab Bars?
What Is Section 508?
In 1998, the United States Congress amended the rehabilitation act 1973 and added section 508. Section 508 applies to the accessibility of Information and communication technology, including websites, printers, and software.
It requires Government agencies of the United States to develop and maintain the use of Information and communication technology that disabled people can easily access, provided they may or may not work for the federal government.
Section 508 requires all Government programs and agencies to develop websites and online training that everyone can access. It means all the government employees with disabilities can do their work easily on the accessible computers and phones in their office, attend online training programs, or visit any website to find some vital information.
Section 508 also means that a person with a disability can even access the federal government website to apply for jobs or complete an online form. The website should have the same accessible Information and resources available to everyone.
Section 508 does not apply only to Government agencies. It even impacts any organization that does business with Government agencies or receives Government funding, including private contractors, health care, and various legal organizations.
If you are not a part of the Government program, Section 508 will not apply to your business. But you may do business with some organizations that adhere to Section 508 standards and that affect your products and services. So indirectly, you are required to meet all the requirements of Section 508 standards.
What Does ICT Include?
Information and communication technology is a system used to create, convert, or access Information and various data.
I am listing some examples of ICT below.
- Webinars and teleconferencing
- Online training
- Pdf documents
- Software and operating system
- Mobile devices
- Content on DVDs and CDs
- Laptops and computer
Rules Of A Section 508 Complication Standards
Section 508 was refreshed in 2018 and required most government websites to meet the guidelines for Level AA compliance testing with WCAG 2, which most Government organizations across the globe follow. But the main goal is to create content that meets the four criteria discussed below for accessibility
All the Information and content on the government website should be provided so that users can easily perceive it, including individuals who have vision, hearing, or cognitive disabilities.
The navigation and interfaces on the Government website should be made so that it can be operable by almost all users, including those who rely only on the keyboard for navigation or assistive technology.
The Information, content, and design on the Government website should be clear, readable, and written in simple language so everyone, including people with disabilities, can easily understand it.
The website’s content should be accessible to all users by current standards.
How Is Section 508 Enforced?
Section 508 says that government entities should select a product that meets the best accessibility requirements.
For instance, if you work in a Government agency and are required to buy printers, you may research the best printers in the market and finally narrow them down to three printers.
Section 508 says that you need to check the accessibility level of each printer and select the one which has the best accessibility level! That’s the basic concept on which section 508 works.
Section 508 significantly affects the Federal Government’s purchasing habits, which has billions of dollars in the IT budget. The accessibility of websites and products can have a substantial financial impact.
How Can You Test For Section 508 Compliance?
You can test for Section 508 compliance using two methods, i.e., manual or automated scan.
The automated scan method can detect various accessibility issues in your website, which would have taken a long time and effort manually.
You can regularly rescan the site so that it will not fall out for Section 508 compliance as the content changes.
Simultaneously, some situations require manual accessibly testing your website to ensure that your solutions work for the right people, i.e., for people with disabilities. It includes accessible coding, compatibility with screen readers, and various others.
Section 508 mandates all Government agencies to allow easy navigation, accessibility, and readability in their website so that disabled people will not face any problem gathering important Information. It ensures that all employees of the United States should have access to the same benefits and privileges.
I hope this article has provided you with helpful information, and please don’t forget to share this article with someone searching for particular Information. You can ask us any queries related to Section 508 compliance in the comments section, we will be happy to answer all your queries.