Empowering America’s Workforce

Section 508 - Barriers to Access

508 Compliance Barriers

To adequately address accessibility, we need to understand the barriers preventing or limiting accessibility.

Conditions or obstacles that prevent or limit access to knowledge and resources are barriers. For people with disabilities, we need to be both aware and need to address these barriers.

Common Barriers to Access

Physical: Much has been done in this area. We should be proud of our efforts. However, we can de more, and we always need to be vigilant to barriers in our structural environment. A structural barrier is anything that prevents or impedes someone with a disability from efficiently navigating the setting.

Media Format: Information that is not available in a readable format for individuals with disabilities

Technology: Sometimes, we conceive of technology that will be effective for people without disabilities. Sometimes we fail to consider how software, electronic, or physical technologies need to be set up for use with assistive devices.

Systemic: Systems are not designed to be inclusive. Systems are often not set up with procedures, protocols, or policies that enable individuals with disabilities the same access for people without disabilities.

Perception: Perception is often reality. We need to fully realize the value that someone with a disability can contribute. A barrier is when we perceive that people with disabilities are unable to contribute as much as their peers who have no disabilities.

Build Accessibility Into Technology

Let’s ensure that technology is accessible to everyone. Let us create with a high ethical priority. Some of the reasons why managers should make technology accessibility an imperative in their organizations are listed below.

It’s the Law

Access to technology and communications is a civil right. This position is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. Title II and Title III of the ADA require websites, software, and other technologies to be accessible. Moreover, if you do not comply with the law, you could be fined.

Business Benefits of Technology Accessibility

Noncompliance can result in financial loss. However, organizations that maximize accessibility may gain financially. Accessibility opens the door to new markets. Have you considered that the spending power of working-age people with disabilities in the U.S. alone is estimated to be almost $500 billion?

Additionally, as a manager, you always want to increase productivity. All employees become more productive when they can access the company’s technology. if you invest in technology make sure it is technology that all can use. This includes employees with disabilities. Access to technology allows employees to excel. As a business leader, you gain by retaining top talent. Consider how inclusion can enhance the public’s perception of your organization.

Improved User Experience (for all)

People creating new products or services now focus significantly on the User Experience (UX). A focus on UX helps to improve the effectiveness of the product or service. Note that an enhanced user experience is also associated with ease of use. It is not a new concept and certainly a good idea.

We already see a wide range of products designed to assist us. Siri, for example, is a helpful assistive technology. Siri makes technology more accessible. Siri has its roots in projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The focus was on improving technology accessibility for individuals with disabilities. This initiative was conceived in 2003. To ensure a positive user experience, design and build accessibility into your products and services.

Be An Advocate

Look for opportunities to eliminate 508 Compliance Barriers.

Promote and advocate for an inclusive society. Don’t just view accessibility from a legal and business standpoint. An inclusive community benefits the entire society. Let’s be inclusive!

Do not reinforce inequality when you can reduce inequality. To reduce inequality is a worthy goal of society, while the lack of accessibility denies full digital experiences to people with disabilities. This reinforces societal inequality.

Help to create a better and more just world. Build accessibility into technology, products, and services—advocate for accessible technology programs in your organization.