Secrets about how Top SaaS and Software Providers are Using Section 508 to Position Themselves for Government Contracts

  • 10.05.2023

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    Who are SaaS and software providers?

    “SaaS” is an acronym for “software as a service.” In this approach of software distribution, a cloud provider hosts applications and makes them accessible to customers online. An independent software vendor may hire a different cloud service provider in this software distribution model to host the application. SaaS, along with platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), is one of the three basic types of cloud computing.

    Software providers are people or businesses who produce products that come in form of various kinds of software. They work on distribution, product development, and technology.

    Section 508 compliance for SaaS and software providers

    Section 508 is part of the 1998 amendment to the United States Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The legislation requires all federal digital content to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

    For SaaS and software providers, the most applicable Section 508 compliance standards are 1194.21 software applications and operating systems, 1194.22 web-based intranet and Internet information and applications, and 1194.24 video and multimedia products.

    For instance, Section 508 compliance mandates that when SaaS and software products and services are developed on a system with a keyboard, the functions associated with the products must be accessible from a keyboard where the functions themselves or the results of performing the functions can be understood textually.

    Web pages for Section 508-compliant SaaS should be designed in ways to allow the information conveyed in color to also be available when color is removed from the context of markup.

    For instance, all training, educational, and multimedia productions that are part of Section 508-compliant SaaS and software should also offer open or closed captioning.

    What is 508 compliance?

    The term “508 compliance,” which is frequently used to refer to Section 508 compliance, refers to the state of compliance with Section 508 of the Revised US Rehabilitation Act, which mandates that all US federal organizations make sure that the information and communication technology (ICT) they develop, obtain, maintain, or use enables people with disabilities to access and use their related information and data.

    Ways top SaaS and software providers are using Section 508 to succeed

    Have you ever questioned why some SaaS and software companies consistently win bids for contracts with the federal government? One of the best-kept secrets of how they accomplish this is by collaborating with renowned organizations like ADACP, which assesses prominent SaaS and software providers’ 508 compliance. This helps them identify potential accessibility issues in their products and services before releasing them onto the market.

    For instance, when ADACP tests a SaaS or software product or service for Section 508 compliance, it pays close attention to the images, captions, color, data tables, dynamic content or interactivity, forms, and navigational elements or links. The thorough audit is based on the checklist that government procurement officials use to select the SaaS or software product or service that is the most easily accessible among the bids received.

    The secrets that underpin Section 508 compliance audits for SaaS and software providers that frequently win US federal government contracts include the following:

    1. Attention to the electronic content produced by the product/service

    SaaS and software products are sought-after because of the electronic content they generate. Electronic content is the message or information that is or will be communicated by the SaaS or software product or service.

    Electronic content no longer needs to be presented in a particular way or manner in order to be accessible. Whatever the presentation or delivery style, a good SaaS or software accessibility auditor will help you understand how the electronic content produced by the product or service, whether it be software or SaaS, can render it entirely inaccessible. For software to comply with Section 508 requirements, it must be available as a service or have presentations that make the material accessible to all users.

    When it comes to SaaS and software accessibility, ADACP consistently gives its Section 508 accessibility clients the following advice: Never assume that the content you expect to receive after using the SaaS or software will automatically be accessible just because the product or service given by the providers is accessible. For instance, the SaaS or software may provide graphs or visuals that are inaccessible when users enter the data and information the system requires.

    Top SaaS and software providers have perfected the art of producing content that helps in the development of products and services that also provide accessible information when users input primary data into the system. They collaborate with Section 508 accessibility experts who help them understand the fact that it is much simpler to produce material that is accessible from the start, a practice known as “baking it in,” than it is to make information accessible after the fact, a practice known as “bolting it on.”

    1. Ensuring all websites associated with the SaaS product are accessible

    Making their websites accessible is another trick that top SaaS and software firms have perfected for winning contracts from the US federal government.

    They collaborate with leading Section 508 accessibility experts who employ a variety of website accessibility testing tools, such as site-wide scanning tools, web page evaluation tools, standards-specific tools, manual inspection, and automatic accessibility testing tools that take end users’ accessibility needs into account.

    1. Development of an inclusive policy

    SaaS and software providers who succeed in winning government contracts favor the creation of inclusive products and services in a way that is intentional and meant to ensure the businesses have the right accessibility mindset in all their undertakings.

    This involves the development of an inclusive policy that guides every aspect of the business so that the teams working on the various components of the SaaS or software get the right tools to enable them to make their contribution toward making the products and services accessible.

    For instance, with an appropriate inclusive policy in place, the content production teams will be facilitated to have the right technology solutions they need to make the information they are creating available for everyone.

    1. Making data-driven decisions

    Government-contract-winning SaaS and software firms have mastered the art of conducting in-depth data studies that allow them to gain a thorough understanding of how consumers interact with their products and services.

    They collaborate with accessibility specialists to create dashboards that are specifically tailored to their SaaS and software products and services. These dashboards provide them with information into things like consumer geography and traffic patterns. These data insights have a substantial impact on how firms build their inclusion strategies and, as a result, effortlessly mainstream Section 508 compliance.

    1. Application of universal design to product or service creation

    SaaS and software providers who consistently win government contracts are always guided by the question of how Section 508 compliance can be applied to their products and services in a cost-effective manner. This is where the principles of universal design come in handy.

    Universal design is an approach where businesses do not need to design different products and services for people with and without disabilities. People of all profiles should be able to use a product or service.

    Need help positioning your SaaS or software for government contracts?

    Multiply your business profits by making your SaaS and software products and services procurable by federal government agencies. Ask Us How you can achieve this by calling (626) 486-2201) to discuss your thoughts about Section 508 accessibility for your SaaS and software products or services today.