Monday, May 22, 2006

Section 508 - it won't get you out of the military.

If you work on IT projects that has the federal government as its customer, or if you would like the government to be a future IT customer, then it's imperative that you know what Section 508 is. Even if you don't work on government projects, it's a good thing to understand.

What is Section 508?
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. According to the official web site on Section 508:
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 electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.

What are some examples of Section 508?
Anything that will grant disabled users more access to IT products. Some examples of Section 508 implementation include:

  • Text-to-speech for deaf users

  • Braille for blind users

  • Reduced use of color and flashing graphics for colorblind users

Section 508 Compliance
For various standards and compliance for information technology products (hardware, software, documentation), visit the Electronic and Information Technology (Section 508) Homepage

You can also view the Accessibility Forum, which supplies tools and gives tips on making web sites Section 508 compliant.

No comments: