If you are already aware of terms like “Section 508” and “508 accessibility compliance” and wonder what it exactly means, there are plenty of others too who are having the same questions in mind. Briefly describing it, Section 508 is the Rehabilitation Act that Federal Government passed in 1973, which had been undergone several amendments also over many years. The most recent add-on to this act had happened earlier last year, and the 508 standards now cover website and software related activities also to be accessible to all individuals with disabilities.
This explanation may leave more questions also to the users who think of it from a business point of view like:
- What exactly accessibility from the business point of view?
- How to know whether your business is adversely affected with accessibility needs?
- How can you ensure whether your website is compliant or not?
So, for the novice business website owners, it is essential to start with an in-depth understanding of what accessibility is and how to go with it.
The concept of section 508
Section 508 of the Federal Law is made a part of the Rehabilitation Act released in 1973. The purpose of this act is to ensure that all Federal agencies make their IT and electronic technologies accessible to all people with disabilities. The amendment to this act in 2017 has updated the accessibility guidelines in terms of communication technology also in the Federal sector. It updated all guidelines for the telecommunication sector and also reorganized the section 508 as well as Section 255 to align it with the latest innovations in communication technology. These guidelines also affect the major Federal agencies and the vendors and contractors associated with these agencies operating inside and outside the United States.
There are many laws pertaining to Section 508, which include laws related to prohibiting any discrimination against users with any kind of disabilities. While talking about effective communication, there are three relevant considerations to make:
- Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is covering any discrimination against the individuals who have disabilities.
- Section 255 of the Federal Communications Act requires the telecommunications and technology products as well as services to be made accessible to all kind of people having disabilities.
- The Video Accessibility Act amendment of 2010 also ensures advanced communication services which are accessible to all sort of people with disabilities too.
Who should be 508 compliant?
Unlike the popular understanding, compliance with section 508 is not just required for the Federal agencies and government organizations, but. It also impacts the business of any random corporate which is offering services in the country. It covers all types of private business contractors, financial clients, healthcare sector, legal organizations and more.
However, ensuring full-spectrum 508 compliance may not be a very complicated and time-consuming affair for you to try it your own. When t comes to the need for communication and documents, the users within an organization are kept responsible for various communications and documents which come under section 508. There are also online assessment tools to ensure this compliance, and there are also online assessment tools to ensure efficacy.