Selecting a Qualified 508 Compliance Tester

  • 3.05.2023

Contact Us About 508 Accessibility Compliance

    What is Section 508 compliance testing?

    Section 508 compliance testing is undertaking an evaluation or audit of an information and communication technology (ICT) product or service against the Section 508 accessibility standards to establish its degree of usability for people with disabilities or those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers.

    For instance, Section 508 compliance testing enables an organization or business that offers services to the general public through digital communication channels like websites and web-based applications to assess the compliance of the digital content with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

    Section 508 compliance-testing methods

    There are three approaches to use in determining whether an ICT product or service complies with Section 508: automatic, manual, and hybrid.

    1. Automated Section 508 compliance testing

    Automated Section 508 compliance testing entails using conformance testing software to automatically scan and test electronic information for accessibility flaws or breaches of the WCAG success criteria. When attempting to verify a website’s 508 compliance for websites with a lot of material, automatic testing for compliance is incredibly beneficial.

    The issue with automated Section 508 compliance testing methods is that they are unable to account for human subjectivity, which means they have the potential to provide a lot of false-positive results regarding whether a website complies with the Section 508 Standards.

    The fact that automated 508 compliance testers can only identify a portion of a website’s accessibility and usability issues makes them less effective in offering a thorough analysis of a website’s accessibility. The testers also require multiple testing tools for the purposes of checking different forms of digital content like PDFs, website content, Word documents, HTML, etc.

    1. Manual Section 508-compliance testing

    Manual Section 508 compliance testing using a documented, consistent, and repeatable accessibility auditing process to establish the accessibility status of an ICT product or service. It involves using a reputable Section 508 compliance tester program, a qualified accessibility professional, and a process that adheres to the standard ICT testing benchmark for the prospective good or service.

    To reduce ambiguities and improve the consistency of the test findings, manual testing techniques employ testing baselines. They aid in ensuring that manual Section 508 compliance testing yields results that can be independently verified.

    Actual ICT product or service users, including those with disabilities, can directly evaluate the ICT product or service to see if it complies with Section 508. These users can evaluate how easy it is for them to use a specific website’s navigation after using a variety of assistive technology tools to access the site’s various pages and provide input on their navigational experiences.

    1. Hybrid Section 508-compliance testing

    A hybrid approach to testing for Section 508 compliance involves automated and manual testing. The conformance of an ICT product or service to Section 508 accessibility requirements is first automatically evaluated using a Section 508 compliance tester, then subjected to a manual test to adjust for human subjectivity and lessen the likelihood of producing a large number of false accessibility positives.

    When there is a large amount of electronic content to check for accessibility and to make sure a website is fully accessible, it is best to use a hybrid Section 508 compliance test. Hybrid Section 508 compliance testing is the best option if your website is already accessible since it enables you to utilize 508 compliance testers to scan significant volumes of electronic material on a regular basis as well as accord you the opportunity to periodically do manual tests on crucial newly published content.

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      Selecting a qualified 508 compliance tester to help you with your 508 compliance

      You’ll be amazed at how many accessibility flaws your ICT product or service may have that can be rapidly remedied, even if the functionality of your product or service isn’t altered, when you choose a competent Section 508 compliance tester.

      A qualified tester can swiftly assess whether your ICT product or service can be Section 508 compliant following manual review and remediation or using a combination of automatic scanning and manual 508 compliance testing. Most importantly, a skilled tester will collaborate closely with you to hit your compliance targets as soon as possible. But what actions should you take in selecting a Section 508 compliance tester who is qualified?

      As you prepare to choose a qualified Section 508 compliance tester to assist you in adhering to Section 508 accessibility standards, keep the following points in mind:

      1. Familiarize yourself with Section 508 and WCAG

      You must be familiar with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as the 2017 updates in order to successfully select the Section 508 compliance tester who can assist you in making your ICT product or service Section 508 compliant.

      When deciding whether your company, organization, or ICT product or service needs to be Section 508 compliant, ADACP can assist you by providing you with crucial background information on the law.

      When you are sufficiently informed about Section 508 and WCAG, you are able to ask prospective Section 508 compliance testers the right questions in order to determine who is proficient for the task at hand and how they can best assist you in carrying it out successfully.

      1. Search for a tester with the ability to plan and use timelines and resources well

      Your Section 508 compliance project needs to be well planned out in terms of time, scope, obstacles, and resources. You should create a basic project plan and specify the required resource allocations based on it. Following this, you want to look for a tester who best complements your plan of action. Reviewing your peers and other individuals who successfully obtained their Section 508 compliance certification will be essential to that.

      These initiatives will give you important details about the Section 508 compliance testers they used throughout their compliance process. You can choose qualified testers for your Section 508 compliance by engaging the resources you’ll shortlist in this procedure.

      1. Select the right person, not the right form

      If you want to work with a qualified Section 508 compliance tester, select the right individuals, not the right firms. While the brand name of a Section 508 compliance-consulting firm may be an important factor when you’re considering your choice of a Section 508 compliance tester, a firm’s brand name is rarely an indicator for choosing a quality compliance tester.

      Make your final decision based on the person who possesses the skills you need to carry out your plan. If your search for testers leads you to brand consulting forms, it may be a good idea to conduct one-on-one interviews to select the person who has the skills you require for your assignment.

      Need help with the selection of a Section 508 compliance tester?

      Businesses and organizations that want to hire a trained person to assist them with Section 508 compliance testing for their ICT products or services frequently worry about how to select the best person to carry out the assignment. This is due to the fact that reputable consulting businesses frequently showcase their brands while obscuring the actual individuals who may do the work.

      To avoid falling into the big-brand syndrome when selecting the Section 508 compliance tester to help you with your accessibility certification, ADACP can help you identify qualified individuals who can help you successfully navigate through your 508 compliance needs. To find out how ADACP can assist you, call (626) 486-2201.