Section 508 Compliance
What is Section 508?
508 Compliance is shorthand for a law that requires federal government websites to be safe and accessible for people with disabilities. This law covers a range of issues related to assisting people with different kinds of disabilities.
The Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain or use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities – regardless of whether or not they work for the federal government.
Frequent Questions about Section 508
Is there a government blog that provides more information on Section 508 Compliance?
This website also has a blog dedicated to IT Accessibility.
What is ICT?
Examples of ICT include, but are not limited to:
- Telephones, smart phones and mobile devices
- Televisions, DVD players and videotaped productions
- Internet and Intranet websites
- PDF documents
- Content on DVDs and CDs
- On-line training
- Webinars and teleconferencing
- Technical support call centers
- Remote access websites and tools
- Tablet, laptop and desktop computers
- Software and operating systems
- User guides for software and tools
- Copiers, printers and fax machines
- Lab equipment
Is Section 508 the same as Reasonable Accommodation?
Section 508 and Reasonable Accommodation are terms that are often confused.
Section 508 is about Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – the equipment and tools people use to access information or do their jobs.
Reasonable Accommodation is about the individual and what he/she needs because of his/her disability. Reasonable Accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.
Why does ICT have to be accessible?
It is a fact; some people have disabilities. People may have a desire or need to access information presented by the government or organizations that support and supplement the government’s communication efforts.
Moreover, the government has employees with disabilities, and new employees who are hired may have disabilities. A person can become disabled at any time, either temporarily or permanently. Any organization who make their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) accessible to anyone should make its ICT accessible to everyone.
Society needs to have information available and accessible to all of its citizens.
It is the right thing to do.
It is the law.
How will becoming Section 508 Compliant help my business?
Accessibility is not only a legal requirement, it’s also good for business. Creating products and information that everyone can use drives innovation, provides a better customer experience, and improves employee engagement. Accessibility helps you reach more stakeholders and achieve your business objectives.
Executive support for accessible information technology (IT) is essential to increase compliance with federal policy, and help agencies deliver a digital customer experience that is accessible to all. The exposure to a wider audience is always good for business.
Increase the potential of your business by being Section 508 Compliant.
If you are associated with the government as an agency or a subcontractor here is the short version of why you need to be up to speed on Section 508.
- If your company is or plans to be a technology vendor for the government, there’s a good chance you’ll need to make your product Section 508 compliant.
- If you oversee a contract for the government that involves technology or technology services, anything technological related to that contract will need to be Section 508 compliant.
- If part of your contract is to create, maintain, or oversee a federal government website, that website will have to be Section 508 and WCAG compliant.
Are there additional benefits to being Section 508 Compliant?
Better accessibility supports many areas of information assurance. These other areas include security and privacy. Accessible websites are also easier to maintain, more mobile-friendly, and retain customers by delivering a better customer experience.
When your company designs IT systems to be accessible from the outset, you avoid having to make expensive retrofits to comply with policies or legal requirements.
A business will also reduce the risk of customer complaints and avoid costly lawsuits. In addition, accessible and easy-to-use technology solutions can improve public the perception of your business. Some may not notice but those that do will be very appreciative.
A worthy goal for any organization is to be inclusive. This means software, documments and products that are accessible to all. Chief Information officers can be fundamental in transforming their orgainzation from one where the focus is on compliance to one wherwe the focus is on true accessiblility. Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are key players in shaping accessible IT strategy and introducing the concept of universal design at their agencies.
Universal Design is the process and approach that is used to produce a widely accessible and therefore used document, product or space. It is accessible to the many rather than the few and was designed to be accessible.
It is inclusive.
Universal design focuses on making products and services more accessible. This results in better usability, better users experiences, and is a human-friendly way for a better society. Universal design is more than merely thinking about general needs and abilities.
Universal design relates strongly to inclusive design. Inclusive-universal design doesn’t mean you’re designing one thing for all people.
You’re designing a diversity of ways to participate so that everyone has a sense of being included.
The design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
Blind and Vision Impaired
Blind and vision impaired people of our society love to access websites, documents and information just like people with normal vision.
As someone ages their vision may also degrade and they may become vision impaired.
If we can now talk to our devices and they talk back then we are making excellent progress towards a society where all can participate.
Importance of Accessibility
A Professional Certification
The CPACC certification is a foundational certification for those who want to boost their credentials as it relates to accessibility.
Importance of Accessibility
America’s Workforce: Empowering All
Our economy will perform better when we find, hire, and optimizing personnel assets to increase economic productivity.
Curated 508 Compliance Blog Content
Curated content is content created which may not have been created by 508-Compliance. We search the web for content related to 508 compliance which we deem interesting, important, and valuable. We share this content here. We look for expert content in the Section 508 Compliance field from a relevant thought leaders.
The Principles of Inclusive Design
Summary: Defining Inclusive Design Inclusive design: A design methodology that enables and draws on the full range of human diversity. Most importantly, this means including and learning from people with a range of perspectives. Designing inclusively doesn’t mean...
Section 508 Compliance & Website Design
Color blindness doesn't mean that people see the world in black and white. More than 99% of all colorblind people do see color. Also, it is best to refer to this issue using the term "color vision deficiency" (CVD). When comparing the term colorblind to the term CVD,...
WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Summary: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are an important asset for businesses, organizations, and other entities. The guidelines are important for all who want to make their digital content accessible to everyone. The WCAG is a step-by-step set of...
VASTEC provides a wide range of Accessibility and Section 508 compliant document management solutions, through affordable, accessible, and innovation services that can meet the latest WCAG 2.0 AA standards. This includes PDF accessibility services designed to maximize document accessibility.
Visit the Website of VASTEC to learn about their Section 508 Services.