Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain and use information and communications technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities - whether or not they work for the federal government.
As disability inclusiveness continues to take hold in the digital world, there are numerous websites that are inaccessible to many people for a variety of reasons. Beyond unclear layouts or confusing designs, people with disabilities frequently encounter barriers that limit their access to navigate websites and get the information they need. To improve this, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been developed to support a single shared standard to make websites more accessible.
Even though the Revised Section 508 Standards applies to Federal ICT, more and more private business websites are being sued for failure to have reasonable accommodations that is related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even if federal regulations do not technically apply to your website, inclusive designing is a best practice that respond to the needs of all customers.
How accessible is the Internet, anyway? Try this experiment:
Go to your favorite website or open a random business website. As you move around, ask yourself these questions:
Are there alternative descriptions for images provided? How detailed are they?
Is closed captioning available and is it synchronized with the visual content? Are text transcripts provided?
Is the color contrast of the website used well or is it distracting? Is color used as the only means of conveying information?
Can the font be resized up to 200 percent? Are words now truncated or do you see text that overlaps?
Are there pop-up windows? Do they provide advanced warning?
Do the webpages have titles that describe a specific purpose or topic? Can you move throughout the website with only a keyboard?
As we shift into a more digital way of life, this list is by no means exhaustive. Disabilities are varied and can involve many different solutions. Accessibility and disability inclusion will have a direct impact on satisfaction and user experience of all customers and net results for your organization.
HumanTouch helps Federal Agencies and private businesses increase website and departmental compliance and accessibility. We provide comprehensive accessibility services with multiple levels of support, so you can empower your customers’ needs.