The Section 508 Compliance Checklist: All You Need to Know

  • 2.05.2023
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    What is Section 508 compliance?

    Section 508 compliance refers to the state of conformity with Section 508 of the Revised United States (US) Rehabilitation Act, which mandates that all federal organizations make sure that the information and communication technology (ICT) they create, acquire, maintain, or use enables people with disabilities to access and use their related information and data.

    Leaders and business owners frequently have questions about how to make sure that their businesses and ICT products are 508 compliant after reading the aforementioned description.

    For instance, some of the frequently documented inquiries come from people who want to know precisely what Section 508 compliance entails for their businesses. They also want to know if Section 508 has an impact on the businesses they operate and, if so, how to test the 508 compliance of their operations, products, and services.

    Who is required to be Section 508 compliant?

    It is essential to emphasize that even though Section 508 specifically refers to federal entities, the law does not just apply to these organizations. It additionally impacts businesses and other entities that conduct business with, or receive funding from, federal organizations.

    Even if you don’t conduct business with or receive funds from federal agencies, you still need to determine the extent to which Section 508 impacts the business’s perception in terms of accessibility and how it affects your sales and profits.

    That is why, regardless of whether you’re a private contractor, actor in the financial industry, healthcare practitioner, legal entity, and so on, testing Section 508 compliance for your operations, products, and services is something you should not wish away.

    If Section 508 applies to your business, you should make sure that all of your products, services, and electronic communications, such as but not limited to emails, website content, computer software, and PDF files, are accessible. Using a checklist to assess how the products, services, and digital communications are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is the best approach to accomplishing that.

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      Using a Section 508 accessibility checklist to test 508 compliance

      To make sure that your efforts to make your business or organization Section 508 compliant do not result in a misleading compliance outcome, you need to be guided by a reliable Section 508 accessibility checklist.

      What is a Section 508 compliance checklist? This is a type of evaluation standard you can use in your repeated tests for Section 508 compliance, with the ultimate aim of identifying non-compliant components and addressing them to lessen accessibility difficulties through methods like compensating for potential limitations.

      You should use Section 508 accessibility checklists to establish and convey the accessibility compliance of your ICT products and services, including in contracting agreements or system requirements documentation based on the Revised Section 508 Standards.

      What you need to know about Section 508 compliance checklists

      Not every document that purports to be a Section 508 compliance checklist may have all the pointers you need to comprehensively evaluate the accessibility of your ICT products and services as well as that of your digital communications.

      To avoid relying on checklists that fail to deliver the accessibility test outcomes that make your business vulnerable to Section 508 noncompliance litigation, you need to be aware of the basic minimums you ought to use when selecting the checklists you use to test 508 compliance.

      Helpful Section 508 compliance checklists will prompt you to undertake the following:

      • Provide synchronized captioning of your content as well as transcripts of your videos and audios.

      • Make your files, forms, documents, and PDFs accessible for all users, easy to fill out, and easy to submit.

      • In the case of websites or web-based products or services, offer skip navigation for the end users to help them pass over redundant information and easily find the content they’re looking for.

      • Offer simple keyboard functionality on the entire web-based product or service.

      • Avoid or eliminate any unique characters that could potentially result in coding mistakes.

      • Provide image alt texts for all graphical aspects of a digital product or service, including a website or web-based application.

      • Ensure that any hyperlinks associated with the offered digital products and services are highly visible, including through the use of underlines and descriptive labels.

      • Ensure that highly contrasting content and background colors are provided in the design of digital products and services.

      • Hardware standards, including issues of privacy, standard connections, operable parts, status indicators, etc.

      • Ascertaining the interoperability of your product or service with assistive devices, i.e., the ability of your product or service to make use of assistive technology, will establish how your product or service becomes accessible for users with disabilities, including those with color blindness.

      • Ensure that, when it comes to digital communication, all page titles are concise and detailed so that it becomes easy to tell them apart.

      • Make text that is bigger on any digital communication platform highly readable so that it stands out from other content.

      • Make use of contrast checkers to ensure the colors used in your digital communication are digitally accessible.

      • Support documentation and documentation standards.

      • Functional performance requirements, especially those relating to determining equivalent facilitation

      • The general expectations relating to the product or service, including best meets, undue burden, the underpinning national security requirements, etc.

      • Complete a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for every ICT product or service you want to bring to market.

      Need help to be Section 508 compliant?

      The Revised Section 508 Standards contain scoping requirements for ICT to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities. Oftentimes, securing Section 508 compliance for your ICT products or services may not be easy, even if you are using the most elaborate Section 508 compliance checklist.

      Getting help from a Section 508 compliance specialist will save you the stress of becoming 508 compliant. ADACP can help you with all your Section 508 compliance requirements. For more information about how ADACP can assist you, feel free to talk to our Section 508 compliance consultant at (626) 486-2201.

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