WEB ACCESSIBILITY LAW: SECTION 508

GENERAL ACCESSIBILITY

A: Yes, you need your website to effectively meet your customer’s needs. Access to all users widens the market for your business. Also, both State and Federal laws require some organizations to have accessible web pages, it is advisable that your website must be accessible too.
A: Of all the reasons, first thing is because it is the law. Your business’ reputation will gain if you comply with the
latest standards. Also, the risks of costly litigation and settlements, you don’t want to be sued by established
organizations just because your website is not accessible. Look what happened on the nationwide retailer Target,
that was sued by the National Foundation for the Blind.

Second, helping other people is a responsibility of businesses. Investing in other people strengthens your firm.
To enable visually challenged people to understand images, graphs and charts will fulfill your intent to share
information about what you do and what you do for them and this will make your website intentionally more known.

Lastly, you want your business to be stable, and your website to gain customers; which is your economic
foundation so it must be stable too.

A: Integration of accessibility principles while the website is being prepared will be a lower cost, but retrofitting will cost more and will take time.

A: Making your website accessible for disabled visitors is not hard. It just requires a new way of thinking about your pages. With time and effort, it will become a natural part of your workflow and you won’t even notice it. The resources listed below should give you plenty of material for further reading and research.

A: Unsurprisingly, there are common mistakes in website accessibility. Here are 10 examples of them:

  1. Image Alt Text – the image description is either not appropriate or misleading.
  2. No visual indication of current focus – the cursor or the selected item or text is missing, which makes the keyboard only users and screen magnification users difficult to provide data or to interact with the website.
  3. Improper labels – users are confused where to type data and what to type in a text box and makes autocorrect reliant people provide wrong information.
  4. Non-descriptive text for hyperlinks – a hyperlink is referred to the user but baffled of its purpose.
  5. Links are too small – texts are difficult to select or click because of its near-pixel size.
  6. Data Tables markup – the markups on the table are confusing and difficult to understand the complex contents.
  7. Improper use of Header – H1 to H6 headers has its own purpose. And sometimes, they are swapped; which confuses the users.
  8. Color combinations – using a lot of different color palettes in one website makes it irritable to the eye, it is also not advisable since we have users who are color blinds.
  9. Including non-accessible documents – embedding pdf or word documents that still need to be downloaded is not advisable because the user cannot view the content immediately.
  10. Using same descriptive links for different resources.

A: About 10 to 20 percent of people are disabled, but technologically challenged people who aren’t disabled but need to access your website information aren’t included. Somehow, not all disabilities hinder web access, but for the others, they take critical steps to reach traditional sources of information.

A: It may not be the simplification, but more likely optimization. Decreasing the limits of your website utilization must be in mind when designing the website to make it more accessible, and visually pleasing at the same time.

SPECIFIC ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES

A: Some use screen readers which gives audio feedback, some use refreshable braille display, an electronic tool for blind people to read braille. They use a screen display but they don’t use a mouse to navigate; instead, they use keyboard commands.

A: Screen readers are software applications that attempt to convert the screen display and text to audio or braille, which are user-friendly to visually-challenged people. They are available online for download, free or commercial.

A: By conversion of text to synthesized speech, the user will use keyboard commands to select the needed content to be read with independence and privacy.

A: You can convert images to black and white, or you would want to somehow annotate either the graphic itself (and supply the appropriate alt text) or the text in the web page to supplement the color-dependent method of distinguishing the difference. Think of stippling or cross-hatching.

keyboard access ADA

A: Yes! There is a whole range of potential disabilities, almost all of which can be mitigated to some extent by accessible coding practices.

o    Visual Impairments

o    Motor Impairments

o    Cognitive Impairments

o    Epilepsy

A: No, text-only sites are boring, and will compromise the people with normal vision to enjoy your website. Visually challenged people also need descriptive examples of your web content, which is efficiently provided by text derived from images.

A: Yes, not having a disabled employee(s) is no reason for you to not make an accessible website (as stated by the Federal and State Law). Not having an accessible website will discriminate and discourage people with disabilities from applying, and your website is public facing so it should be accessible. If you have a intranet it needs to be accessible.

All workplace infrastructure, not just your website should actually be accessible – this is for future preparation if ever you hire a person with a disability.

A: Yes, because what’s the use of making your website accessible if the documents embedded are not? The documents, forms, or other digital objects like multimedia, graphics and pictures should be accessible too – to lessen the troubles of the user (disabled or not).

POLICY & LAW

A: Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them. When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision. When pages are coded so that users can navigate by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard. When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard-of-hearing users can understand the video. When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk. And when content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content. When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated without decreasing the usability of the site for non-disabled users.

The needs that Web accessibility aims to address include:

o    Visual: Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness;

o    Motor/mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke;

o    Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing;

o    Seizures: Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.

o    Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, etc.

A: Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the Federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. On August 7, 1998, the President signed into law the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which includes the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Section 508 was originally added to the Rehabilitation Act in 1986; the 1998 amendments significantly expand and strengthen the technology access requirements in Section 508.

A: Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §206 is an administrative law which outlines requirements for the state of Texas websites in four distinct areas: Accessibility/Usability, Privacy/Security, Required Policies, and Linking/Indexing of state websites. The statute was published in the Texas Register on March 15, 2002, and was has been updated several times.

Ready to Talk?

ARE YOU AT RISK? GET A FREE ASSESSMENT

Request a Consultation