Section 508 should be a high priority for all people and enterprises. It prevents disability discrimination in federal organizations and similar groups by requiring them to make their technology, training, and websites accessible to everyone. So, it’s essential to your business and crucial to creating a fair web environment for everyone, including those with disabilities. This blog provides a Section 508 compliance checklist and other essential details to put you on the right path. 

It’s also worth noting that not just federal enterprises should be section 508 compliant. Private companies should also comply because it qualifies them for government contracts. Plus, companies with e-Commerce storefronts can boost sales by accommodating this massive target audience. Did you know over 1 Billion people worldwide have disabilities?¹

Section 508 Standards: Checking all the Boxes

Following the 508 compliance examples below is essential to providing digital accessibility to all end users.

  • Provide synchronized captioning and video and audio transcripts.
  • Make all files and forms (e.g., documents & PDFs) available, easy to fill out, and easy to submit.
  • Offer “Skip Navigation” for end users to help them pass over redundant information and find the content they want. 
  • Offer simple keyboard functionality on your entire site.
  • Remove unique characters – they can cause coding mistakes.
  • Provide image alt text for all graphical parts of your website. 
  • Make sure your hyperlinks are highly visible, with underlines and descriptive labels.  
  • Always provide highly contrasting content and background colors in your design.
  • Use Assistive Technology to check your site for users with color blindness. 
  • Make page titles concise and detailed, so it’s easy to tell them apart.
  • Make bigger text highly readable so it stands out from other content.
  • Utilize a contrast checker to ensure your colors are digitally accessible.  
  • Complete a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).

How to Meeting Section 508 Standards for Technology 

All ICT and digital communications, including websites and PDFs, must meet 508 accessibility requirements to comply. Below, we look at 508 compliance requirements for various technologies.

The digital content and devices below must meet section 508 standards:

  • All information contained on public websites o
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Phones
  • Kiosks
  • Online forms
  • All company-facing and public-facing emails
  • Software
  • Applications
  • Mobile apps
  • All social media content
  • Instructional resources 
  • All intranet information 
  • All job application sites and pages
  • All digital files

4 Tips for Federal Agencies to Comply with Section 508

The Access Board developed Section508.gov to help federal organizations and contractors satisfy accessibility guidelines. 

The website vital insights for IT employees involved with digital accessibility, including:

1. Program Management

Guidance for managing IT Accessibility initiatives.

2. Procurement

Helps agencies concisely explain accessibility obligations for ICT acquisitions. It also tells ICT vendors why they must show prospective federal customers that their IT offerings are accessible. 

3. Tools and Training

Manages and assists instructions for IT Accessibility team leaders and agency acquisition administrators. 

4. Policy Compliance

It assists federal organizations in comprehending and qualifying for Section 508 guidelines.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 compliance

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web created Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which constantly change and progress to keep up with modern technology. Section 508 was revised in 2018 to help organizations meet Level A or Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Organizations can rest easy knowing they meet all necessary standards, including Section 508 if they follow WCAG technical requirements. With all this said, stay current with these changes, so your content continues to meet 508 accessibility compliance. 

UserWay: Your Go-To Solution for Section 508 Compliance

Meeting section 508 compliance helps our fellow citizens and helps your organization stay in good legal standing. After all, everyone should have equal access to the Internet. That’s why UserWay’s AI-Powered Accessibility Widget is your best solution. It’s the easiest, most effective way to satisfy Section 508 guidelines.

Answers to Common FAQs

How Does Section 508 Apply To Private Companies?

Only federal contractors must meet Section 508 compliance, but all organizations should strive to do the same. That’s because digital accessibility is a human right, which means everyone should be allowed to access and use the Internet the same way. Private companies should also comply because it qualifies them for government contracts.

ADA and Section 508 also indirectly relate to each other and private companies. Specifically, Section 508 has adopted WCAG as the compliance benchmark, which has also become the legal standard for ADA federal cases. This likely means all companies (private or public) will soon need to comply with digital accessibility. 

What’s the Difference Between Section 508 Reasonable Accommodation?

  • Section 508: It relates specifically to ICT – all information and communications technology people need to obtain information or fulfill their employment obligations. 
  • Reasonable Accommodation: It specifically concerns what each person needs due to disability. It eliminates company obstacles for employees with disabilities.  

What are The Main Examples of ICT? 

  • Smartphones and tablets
  • TVs
  • Any website
  • PDFs
  • Online instructional information
  • All computers
  • All apps

 

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¹ Humanity and Inclusion