Accessible Website Design & Section 508
Section 508 only applies to US based companies and US Government or federal agencies at this time. The US Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act in 1998 to require Federal agencies to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.
Inaccessible websites interfere with an individual’s ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.
The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use websites as an information tool. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to everyone else.
The criteria for web-based technology and information is based on access guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium.
1998 Amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220), August 7, 1998
SEC. 508. ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(a) REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES.–
(A) DEVELOPMENT, PROCUREMENT, MAINTENANCE, OR USE OF ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.–When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology, each Federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service, shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that the electronic and information technology allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology–
(i) individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and
(ii) individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal department or agency to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.
Visit www.section508.gov for more detailed information on Section 508.
If you want to procure, or design and build sites with accessibility in mind in the UK, you’ll find the following documents useful:
- Accessible Website Design
- What is the RNIB
- RNIB Campaign For Good Website Design
- Can I be Prosecuted Over An Inaccessible Website?
- Who Prosecutes Companies?
- Web Accessibility Legal Cases in the UK
- Designing Websites For Blind Users
- Test Your Website For Accessibility Issues
- Web Accessibility Discrimination Prosecution cases in Australia
- When Must A Website Be Accessible By?
- Web Accessibility Minimum Requirements in the UK
- The Grey Area Of Website Design: Web Accessibility
- Accessible Website Design In The UK
- What Is The WAI?
- What is the W3c?
- What is WCAG?
- What is Section 508?
- First company prosecuted in the UK over inaccessibility
- Who is Jakob Nielsen?