508 Compliance: Understanding Section 508

One of the most important criteria that any software or website has to meet is whether or not it is user-friendly. After all, making sure that your customers can properly use every part of your software is simply good business. Yet, there’s an important facet to user-friendliness that many organizations overlook—508 compliance. Here’s everything that you need to know:

What is Section 508?

508 Compliance: Understanding Section 508

In 1998, Congress amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The amendment required all federal institutions to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) easily accessible to people with disabilities. This means that people with disabilities (such as those who are visually impaired) must have equal access to all websites, apps, etc. that are owned and operated by a federal entity.

Who has to be 508 compliant?

If you’re a federal institution, or your company provides a public service, then you must be 508 compliant. If, however, your organization doesn’t fall under these categories, then you’re not required to be 508 compliant. Nonetheless, meeting Section 508’s requirements is a good idea, as it can ensure that your website, software, etc. is user-friendly to all users.

How can I be 508 compliant?

Section 508 has many requirements and standards, from keyboard functionality to alt text. They all, however, can be categorized into one of three types:

Technical

These requirements focus on the coding of a website, app, software, etc. to ensure that it’s compatible with assistive technologies.

Functional

In order for something to be 508 compliant, it must also be functional. That is, an entire system can be used by someone with disabilities. There must be no restrictions.

Support

Finally, supporting documents and alternative information such as PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, presentations, videos, images, and more must be accessible to people with disabilities.

In order to be compliant in all of these categories, it’s necessary to perform accessibility testing to identify any 508 violations and to properly implement 508 standards. Here at Beta Breakers Quality Assurance Labs, our engineers will be able to fully test and install accessibility settings for your software. Contact us today for more information.

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