Information about Compliance to Section 508
Posted: Dec 18, 2018
In the United States, Section 508 is a federal law nationwide which states that all the electronic products, developments, and Information technology should be made such that they are equally accessible to persons with disability. As a base of this act, it is a belief that any technology, be it IT or electronics, is eligible to be called as ‘accessible’ only if it is accessible and usable to disabled people in the same fashion as accessible to normal people.
Section 508, is a derivate of the US Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It has been amended thrice till date. Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was done in 1986, followed by another quick amendment in 1988 and then in 2008. These amendments are termed as Section 508.
If you are coming across this word "Section 508 compliance" for the first time, there must be a lot of questions coming up in your mind. What relation section 508 has with your business? What you need to do to be compliant with Section 508. If not, what will be the consequences?
What compliance is needed?
Under section 508, all the websites, web pages, electronic items, and documents related to these, must be made such that persons with disability can access them. There is a checklist that needs to be followed for any technology or document or product before it is sent to market for use. The checklist ensures that disabled people can use this technology, website or product.
Who needs to be compliant with Section 508?
If you are working which involves communicating with people or you are a federal agency, or a part of the third-party agency or federal agency, or a private company which is in business with federal agencies, then you need to be compliant with Section 508. As a part of this compliance, you need to make sure that all the products, materials, communications, documents and exchanges that you create, mediate or transit, must be accessible to all individuals, including folks with a disability.
It is your duty to ensure that all the people or any third party vendor that is connected to you must also be compliant. If not, it will be a pain in your spine as a part of non-compliance.
All the documents, software need to be compliant, including PDFs and game consoles.
How to be compliant with Section 508?
When you are in the process of creating the website, there are internal checks that you can perform on your website and docs based on the compliance checklist. Another way is to check the same with section 508 compliance checker software. It saves your time but lowers the quality of the content that is available in your website and documents.
Most efficient and preferred method is to get in touch with accessibility expert that will guide you at each step of yours to make your website and documents compliant. Also, a strategy should be defined since the beginning, so that the compliance, instead of being a burden, becomes an opportunity for you.
John is a Business Tech Analyst. He is very responsible towards his job. He loves to share his knowledge and experience with his friends and colleagues.