Bruce Bailey is an Accessibility Specialist with the United States Access Board . Today, he talks with FCB about Section 508 compliance — and how cloud computing might help agencies and businesses when it comes to meeting government standards for those with disabilities.
He says part of the problem is that the current provisions were written in 2001 — when the Internet was a different animal.
Just recently, the National Federation of the Blind filed the third Section 508 related complaint in a row. Will this change how seriously Section 508 compliance will be taken?
BALTIMORE, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind people and the leading advocate for equal access by the blind to information technology, and Carlos Mora, a blind resident of Baltimore, Maryland, filed an administrative complaint today with the United States Department of Education. The complaint asserts that one of the United States Department of Education's Web sites, U.S.A. Learns, violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because it is inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen access technology or Braille displays to access information on the Internet. Because of the inaccessibility of the U.S.A. Learns Web site, blind people cannot access or navigate through the content of the English vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation lessons that are offered through the site.
Let's examine the costs and benefits of Section 508 compliance. Before we start selling to the Federal Government or working on one of its development, it is worth looking into what will cost us, what's necessary, and what kinds of benefits can we expect when we want to bring our products to Section 508 compliance.
When posting documents on web sites, they have to follow the same accessibility requirements that the site does. For example, when the web site needs to comply with Section 508, PDF documents do too. There are a few things which I find are often overlooked when creating accessible PDF documents, in the following you can read about those and ensure that you address those issues as well.
Although the Office of Management and Budget holds up USASpending.gov as an example of how the Web can provide greater transparency into government operations, the site also has a number of serious shortcomings that limit its effectiveness, according to Seth Grimes, a data management and analysis systems consultant for Washington-based Alta Plana Corp.
As it was planned President Barack Obama declared his administration's intent to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today. The actual signing will take place in New York at the end of July.
When you create your Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), it is your chance to let procurement agents know in detail about the accessibility of your product, and show how you differ from your competition. Often times, when your competition offers similar functionality, Section 508 compliance itself can be the only deciding factor. In this article, I will show you how to put together a VPAT which effectively communicates the accessibility of your product. In addition, you can also view and download a blank VPAT that you can fill out yourself.
In many cases we can see web sites linking to a text-only version. Both Section 508 and WCAG allow the use of text-only alternatives, as opposed to making a site accessible by default. While it seems to be very appealing in certain cases in order to take a shortcut to full accessibility, it appears to cause much more trouble than good. Besides, it is also not elective to use a text-only version, it is an option in certain circumstances.
On an increasing number of web sites you can find the phrase "accessibility statement". Sometimes it is very visible and hard to miss, in other cases we can barely find it. Did you ever read any of these accessibility statements? If you ever did, do you read it on all sites where you find them? In this article I will explain what is the accessibility statement, and give you a couple of points to decide if you need it on your web site.