Working with Lane Community College I have to make sure my work conforms to Section 508. Very big deal for education, and anyone who wants their website available to the widest possible market, really. It used to be that blind folks and people with certain disabilities were just kind of ignored as far as the web goes. That’s not the case anymore. Screen readers have come a long way. Just for fun I used the accessibility functions on my iPad last week. It’s pretty amazing just how clear of a picture you can get of a web page without your eyes assuming all the proper “stuff” has been done. Doing the audit on the DQP website really opened my eyes (no pun intended).
Officially the law only requires government agency web sites to be accessible, but, if you have a web site, why would you not want those who need assistive technology to be able to use your website. Even if the only thing on your website is your name, phone number and address, you still want the blind guy across town to spend money at your place of business, right? Imagine if all your competitors don’t have the forethought to do the work on their website and yours is the only one the aforementioned blind guy across town can read…
Anyway, here’s some official stuff about Section 508.
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘794 d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others. It is recommended that you review the laws and regulations listed below to further your understanding about Section 508 and how you can support implementation.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. ‘794 d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105 – 220), August 7, 1998
(original source in uscode.house.gov)
If you would like an audit done on your website, and a quote on making sure those with disabilities can use it, shoot me an email. I’m happy to spend a little time.