Navigating Section 508 Standards to Elevate E-Commerce Digital Assets

  • 25.09.2023

Contact Us About 508 Accessibility Compliance

    The disabled community in the US represents a substantial consumer group; with over $490 billions of annual spending power. Considering their significant economic influence, it is crucial for businesses to cater to their needs.

    In the era of online shopping, where around 69% of users abandon a website which they cannot access, overlooking the importance of 508 compliant digital assets can be destructive.

    Inaccessibility brings forth legal liabilities and also prevents your potential customers from accessing your digital assets. Thus, it is important to understand the compliance obligations in the e-commerce sector.

    Although Section 508 compliance primarily focuses on the accessibility of federal agencies, adhering to these accessibility guidelines can accelerate your online business. Keep on reading to learn how to elevate your e-commerce business growth through section 508 standards.

    Why do Section 508 accessibility requirements matter for E-commerce

    There is fierce competition between Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Target. Due to the growth potential of digital platforms, it is crucial for all big and small e-retailers to leverage the gamechanger accessibility requirements.

    Moreover, not focusing on accessibility may result in losing a massive revenue stream because over 26% of US adults are disabled.

    Additionally, around 20% of the top 500 e-commerce entities faced accessibility lawsuits in the year 2022.

    To put it simply, accessibility compliance matters for e-commerce entities because it offers the following benefits:

    • Accessibility compliance offers the potential for growth and increased market share.
    • Non-compliance increases the risk of accessibility lawsuits and huge penalties.
    • Accessible websites have around 35% higher conversion rates.
    • Accessibility builds trust and gives youloyal customers.
    • Accessibility sets you apart from the competitors.

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      How to make your digital assets Section 508 compliant?

      Amazon invested heavily in accessibility. They included features like voice commands for navigation. This commitment has not only helped Amazon avoid legal issues but has also opened up a vast market of customers with disabilities. As a result, they obtainedsubstantial revenue growth.

      So the million dollar question is, how to embrace accessibility?

      Start by familiarizing yourself with the specific Section 508 standards. The act outlines accessibility standards for electronic and information technology (EIT) used by federal agencies. Section 508 references WCAG 2.0 and 2.1, which provide detailed guidelines for making web content accessible. Section 508 also addresses the accessibility of electronic documents, including PDFs and Microsoft Office documents based on the PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) standards.

      Now that you know that declaring accessibility covers various aspects from text to images and interactive elements, the next stage is to confirm accessibility.

      Begin with a thorough accessibility audit of your digital assets. Automated testing tools can help identify some issues, but it’s crucial to complement these with manual audits conducted by accessibility experts. Audit and remediation can help you confirm content accessibility, website navigation, color and contrast, assistive technologies and user testing.

      Which is the best 508 compliance checker for e-commerce?

      There are several 508 compliance checker tools available.The suitability of a tool depends on how much you are willing to spend on testing. Moreover,the complexity of your e-commerce website is a key factor in finding a suitable option. Ideally, you should try out a few different tools to determine the best option for your website.

      WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) is a popular option for quick assessments. It is a user-friendly tool and it generates detailed reports. Then, there are some AI-powered accessibility solutions accessible and UserWay. These widgets are good for continuous scans.

      Tools that offer detailed reports and remediation guidance are the best. However, it is best to consult accessibility professionals to ensure your e-commerce site meets the necessary compliance standards.

      Key things to keep in mind while Section 508 compliance testing

      • Limit the use of automated testing: As stated above, tools are best for quick assessments. But no software code can replace human minds. Automated scans are only 30% accurate. So opt for a hybrid approach and combine automated testing with manual audits.
      • Selection of the service provider: When searching for an audit expert, consider their industry specific experience. Some providers specialize in particular sectors, such as healthcare, e-commerce or finance. They offer tailored solutions that address unique accessibility challenges within your particular industry.
      • Testing frequency: Regularly schedule accessibility testing to catch issues early and ensure continuous compliance. It’s advisable to test with every major website update and at least annually.If your e-commerce site frequently adds new products or features, ensure accessibility testing is part of your pre-launch checklist.
      • Budget allocation: Allocate a budget for accessibility testing and remediation. The budget can vary based on the complexity and size of your website. Consider it an investment in inclusivity and legal risk mitigation.Allocate a portion of your annual website maintenance budget for accessibility improvements.
      • Remediation plan: Establish a clear remediation plan to address accessibility issues promptly. Prioritize and track the resolution of identified problems. Use a task management system like Trello, Asana, or Jirato assign and track accessibility issue resolution. You can also set a deadline of two weeks to fix critical issues and a month for less urgent ones.
      • Feedback mechanism: No one can flag accessibility issues faster than the user itself. So create a feedback mechanism for users to report accessibility issues. Actively address reported problems to enhance user experience. Include a “Report Accessibility Issue” link on your website for users to provide feedback. It will demonstrate your proactive approach and it also mitigates legal risks.


      Understanding and implementing Section 508 standards is pivotal for elevating the accessibility and inclusivity of e-commerce digital assets. By adhering to accessibility guidelines, e-commerce players unlock a broader customer base, enhance their brand reputation, and mitigate legal risks.

      You can alsoensure ongoing compliance andimprove your growth potential.

      Consider partnering with experts like ADACP. We offer specialized manual audits for 508 compliant websites. Our remediation services are tailored to the unique needs of the e-commerce industry. Visit our website to get a free accessibility scan of your website.