By the numbers – Section 508 and what it means for you
While the ADA can trace its origin back to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508—the amendment that concerns electronic and information technologies—it did not create binding guidelines for accessibility as related to technology until 1998.
Of course, the legislators who originally drafted the legislation could not have foreseen the advent of the internet, but the date is important to note for two reasons; one, it points to the importance of updating legislation to keep up with technology, and two, it demonstrates how long accessibility requirements have been on the books (nearly 20 years) while so many organizations continue to place accessibility at the very end of their web development checklist.
To rewind for a moment, “accessibility” in the sense that we use it here at ADASure is simple; it means ensuring that information and technology are as easily accessed by individuals with a disability as by those without. No matter an individual’s abilities, then, “accessibility” in the eyes of the law is meant to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from technology and the sharing or communication of information.
While the procurement portion of Section 508 only binds Federal agencies, local governments, healthcare and financial institutions to compliance, it is in the best interests of every organization and business to strive for the highest level of accessibility possible. Why? There are two simple reasons; not only is it the right thing to do, but it ensures a broader audience and more opportunity for your products, services, etc.
So, what do we mean when we talk about accessibility for your site? Quite simply, it means providing options for people of varying abilities, means, and methods to be able to access and understand your site. Because there are so many different levels of ability and different ways of accessing technology, it can be difficult for organizations to pin down the specifics of accessibility when it comes to their web development process. Fortunately, ADASure utilizes a variety of tools that analyze sites and produce reports taking a wide range of concerns into account. That information offers you a more complete picture of your site’s accessibility shortcomings, allowing you and ADASure to create an action plan and a list of priorities on the path toward compliance.
Large or small, contact ADASure today to begin the process of creating a more accessible, compliant, and effective website for your organization.