It’s not just about section 508 compliance. There may be more benefits than you would think for your business as well.
For years, before the enactment of this law, people with disabilities were largely a forgotten lot. Access to information was a nightmare to a large number of people all over the country as the websites were never designed to meet their special needs. In an era where equality was stressed, our friends and family members who were suffering from various forms of disabilities were still unable to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet.
The hardest hit were the visually impaired and those who suffer from hearing-related conditions. As most companies digitized almost all aspects of their operation, it became apparent that necessary measures had to be taken to make websites accessible to all. Digitization had made it increasingly difficult to even access the basic services from government agencies.
Section 508 of the constitution was enacted in 1990 to eliminate this preexisting discrimination that was a major hurdle in access to information by those living with a disability. The law aimed at ensuring equal employment opportunity for all. This piece of legislation has however undergone amendments over the years. In 1998 an amendment was made to the Rehabilitation Act making it a mandatory requirement that all Federal agencies make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.
In this article, we are going to look at the benefits that all parties involved stand to enjoy if they become section 508 compliant. We will dissect the challenges that still stand in the way. Finally, we will walk through the process of becoming section 508 compliant with emphasis on websites that are on WordPress.
There are millions of people out there that you may have been ignoring without knowing. So, pull up a chair, sit back and let us educate you on how you could potentially improve accessibility and traffic to your website in a short period of time.
While it is true that there is no part of section 508 that requires private websites to be compliant, it would be a great disservice to yourself and a big loss to be non-compliant. Statistics from the National Institute of Health show that over 6 million people in the United States suffer from various forms of visual disability while another 1 million people are legally blind. According to NIH, about 28 million people in the U.S are either deaf or hard of hearing. In total, that is over 30 million new users. This represents a huge chunk of the market. With figures like these, ensuring that your website is compliant with the Rehabilitation is not only the right thing to do but it also makes business sense.
Necessary steps have been taken by the relevant authority to make sure that we achieve full compliance. Every month, the Department of Health and Human Services runs an analysis for 508 compliance for all companies listed in its portfolio. The results are then published in an HHS leaderboard that is available to the public. In addition, points are awarded. Web owners clearly stand to gain a lot from this kind of visibility.
Training is of great importance to those involved in the entire process from the top management to the design team. The term training also implies equipping the technical staff with a relevant set of skills needed to perform the task.
Web managers: Since they are in charge, it is their responsibility to ensure that they follow standards stipulated in section 508 and monitor their ranking on the 508 leaderboards.
StPeteDesign uses its Custom WordPress Software thatÂ specializes in improving your website accessibility by making sure that your website is compliant. We are able to scan your website to check for section 508 compliance using the latest tools.
There are two ways to achieve this namely:
Although we are able to scan and help you fix your websites, WordPress hosted sites are our specialty. Here, we are able to pull your site down and build it up afresh brick by brick, ensuring that everything is working perfectly. We are involved in the entire web development process. We specialize in WordPress ADA complianceÂ we also develop 508 compliant WordPress plugins as well as 508 compliant websites.
Planning: This is the first and the most important stage. It covers a wide range of elements. Before the actual designing process begins, there are important decisions that have to be made. These range from tool selection, adequate awareness creation and education of the web managers in the process. In consultation with the client, we agree on the quality standard of the outcome. It is very important to establish the rules of engagement from the onset as they prove to be tedious and expensive to change at later stages of the process.
Quality Assurance: Through the entire process, our team works with your earlier needs in mind. We test each stage separately ensuring that the individual components are satisfactory. This is done in accordance with the practices prescribed by CIO accessibility council. Such requirements include; ensuring we provide VA guidance link in all our PDF documents and do coding using the HTML prescribed coding techniques.
To minimize the chance of technical problems in the future, we incorporate both automated accessibility scanning tools and regular manual scanning arrangements.