Section 508 (Website Accessibility)

Section 508Working 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

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.

Goin’ Postal – Roseburg Oregon

Goin’ Postal and Copy Copy Shop is a locally owned franchise that does everything shipping related, like packing your packages, sending it by the best carrier, holding your mail, renting post office boxes…  All that stuff.  Copy Copy Shop, obviously, is a copy shop.  Color copies, zillions of them?  No problem.

One pretty cool thing I did custom for them was adding a Google search bar that you can paste any tracking number from any carrier into and Google will sort out who the carrier is and show you where it’s at.  Oh, two cool things.  The icons on the bottom of the picture have a hover over action.  When your mouse goes over them, a tool-tip-like window pops up telling you about the service you’re hovering over.  Pretty slick.

I also gave them custom email addresses that customers can send documents to be printed.  Nothing amazing there, but some of those documents can be HUGE.  My server handles it no problem and I was able to give him a disk quota big enough to not run out of space after a few of those HUGE files.

If you need to ship your Christmas gifts, or anything really, I highly recommend Dave at Goin’ Postal.  He’s local and he’ll do a good job for you at a fair price.  Much better than the UPS Store.  None of the money you give them stays local.  That’s bad.

Puget Sound Platter

PSP is a site all about the food scene in the Puget Sound area.  Karen, the owner, is quite the foodie and wanted to be able to share all the great local food related happenings as well as write-ups about local restaurants, pubs, cooking schools…  Pretty much everything food related, but with a local focus.

The site is pretty straight forward except that she needed a way to compile her own lists of establishments and wanted to be able to sort them her own way.  What I ended up doing was coding an add-on for WordPress that gave her access to her own database so she could do what she wanted to do.  Pretty slick.  It finds latitude and longitude of an address as she’s inputting it so it can show up on the map in just the right spot.  It also allows her to place paid ads throughout the site in specific ways so it doesn’t lose its local feel.  Oftentimes ads stick out like a sore thumb, but I think she’s done a great job keeping the design clean and easy to follow.

So, if you’re planning a trip to the Seattle area, check out the Puget Sound Platter.  There’s a lot of good food up there.  You just need to know where to find it.

Roseburg Country Club

So, the Country Club had a great website.  Designed by my friends over at BBG Marketing many moons ago.  As often happens these days, RCC wants to be able to update their website without having to “call the web guy”.  They also wanted to make the site more interactive.  Randy, the pro, wants to post tournament rosters as well as results so members can check the website rather than calling the pro shop to find out how the tournament is going, or who put the most balls in the pond on 18 trying to reenact the final scene from Tin Cup.  Anyway, a redesign and WordPress conversion was the only way to go.


I gave them a couple cool features.  The most obvious in the picture above is that the whole website’s background is made up of a photo of the course.  Not just one photo though.  There are actually a number of photos that are grabbed randomly each time a user hits the site.  In other words, go to the site right now and maybe you’ll see a picture of #4 from the tees.  Go back tomorrow and you might see the clubhouse from 18’s green.  “Why not make a new picture come up every time I visit a page” you say?  Well, that would just be silly.  Those pictures are kind of big, so I only want you to have to download one each time you visit the site.  Otherwise page load times could be pretty long if you’re on a slow internet connection.  I know.  “Nice job Matt.  You really think of everything, don’t you?”  Yeah.  I try.  That’s what makes me worth what I bill. 🙂

Another thing you might notice is that the majority of the site is semi-transparent so you can see the background. Why would you want to cover up those awesome backgrounds and not even be able to see them?

They are also able to post PDFs of menus, tournament pairings and results to the website that end up embedded in the website rather than opening in a big, ugly window in your browser or downloading so you have to try to find it in the sea of icons all over your desktop.  There is also a calendar of events, a tour of each hole and a blog so they can keep everyone up to date on what’s happening in the restaurant, frost closures in the winter or whatever happens at a country club that they want people to know about.

Fun site.  Great course.  Nifty pool for the kids.