Top 10 Requirements Your Developer Should Consider For 508 Compliance

  • 4.07.2023

Contact Us About 508 Accessibility Compliance

    Understanding the increasing drive toward 508 compliance

    You may have noticed that after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the globe, a growing number of people have been spending a lot of time online. As a result, a lot more individuals are now aware of what having a digital presence implies and how crucial it is to conduct business online without any barriers.

    Many people now recognize how most digital properties, including websites, are intended to merely provide access for the typical user but not so much for users with disabilities, thanks to the growth of the internet. In addition to that, as businesses work to be Section 508 compliant in order to secure contracts from federal organizations and entities that get funds from the federal government, they are gradually transforming the accessibility landscape for the digital environment.

    What is Section 508 compliance?

    Section 508 compliance is conformity with the legal requirement that federal organizations ensure that the information and communication technology (ICT) they create, acquire, maintain, or use allows people with disabilities to access and use information and data.

    Companies that supply ICT products and services to federal organizations must ensure that the products and services are Section 508 compliant so as to increase their chances of being selected for use by the federal organizations and entities that receive federal funding.

    Making your ICT product or service Section 508 compliant is crucial because it improves the accessibility of the item for users with disabilities and multiplies the chances that the item will be recognized for purchase and usage by the federal government.

    Given that over 61 million individuals in the U.S. have some form of disability, offering an ICT product or service that is fully accessible provides value for everyone, including people with disabilities.

    In fact, developing an accessible ICT product or service isn’t only about broadening a company’s visibility and clientele; failure to comply with regulations requiring ICT products and services to be accessible to everyone may result in legal repercussions for the company.

    Actually, there are increasingly more lawsuits filed against businesses whose products or services are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Website, digital video, and application developers are under scrutiny for putting businesses at risk of legal action for failing to comply with Section 508 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That is why digital property owners need to ensure their developers align with certain accessibility requirements when designing their properties.

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      The requirements developers need to consider toward 508 compliance

      It is regrettable that only a few businesses are learning from the growing ADA Section 508 compliance lawsuits. They know that when the developers of their digital properties don’t consider certain ADA Section 508 compliance requirements, it puts them at risk of paying high legal bills to defend themselves against litigation involving accessibility as well as significant court rewards to claimants or petitioners.

      Many companies need to understand how crucial it is to make sure that the developers of their digital assets prioritize accessibility in all of their work. Statistics show that this is not the situation right now.

      For instance, researchers predicted that starting in 2021, there will be over 4,000 lawsuits related to unavailable websites every year. This is obvious given that 97% of the top million websites in the world had accessibility concerns when their homepages were examined.

      Developers who don’t build the sites with ADA Section 508 compliance in mind are to blame for the majority of the problems. Fortunately, there are a few specifications that businesses can make sure that the developers of their digital properties take into account to improve accessibility.

      In addition to the Section 508 testing checklist generated from ADA Section 508 accessibility standards, qualified accessibility auditors test 508 compliance guided by requirements that include the following:

      1. Provision of text alternatives to non-text content

      Accessibility for people with hearing impairments is improved by adding captions to video and audio content. The fact that consumers can access the content even in noisy or obtrusive environments makes it user-friendly.

      Further levels of accessibility for digital properties are made possible by providing subtitles for live videos and audio descriptions for video content.

      1. Addition of alternative image text for people with visual disabilities

      Providing text descriptions for images or videos provides content for images and videos for users with visual disabilities.

      To ensure your digital content is ADA Section 508 compliant, these texts need to be accurate and descriptive. They should also be readable so that they can be read from the screen by software.

      1. Use of sufficient contrast between text

      Your digital property’s text should have enough contrast with the background to make it easy for all users to navigate, read, and engage with it. This requirement covers not only the text and images in your digital property but also any links, buttons, and icons that your developer uses.

      In order to make the material clear and understandable for users with low contrast sensitivity and readable for those with visual difficulties, it is crucial to utilize suitable colors and ensure adequate color allocation. A digital asset will be more accessible if its graphics don’t solely rely on color, according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

      If your developer relies on color to convey a message in your digital property, the message would be completely inaccessible to people who are colorblind.

      1. Enabling the use of text-to-speech technology

      You can make your digital property more accessible to users who are blind by requesting that your developer take text-to-speech technology into consideration. Users who struggle with reading and those with dyslexia also benefit from it.

      By establishing appropriately tagged content on your digital property, your developer can enable the use of text-to-speech technology, which assists text-to-speech engines in understanding and reading out the text so that users can better grasp what is written on that page.

      1. Addition of voice recognition features

      People who are unable to use a keyboard or mouse will find it easier to browse digital properties if speech recognition technologies are added. Voice recognition technologies can be used to navigate a digital property, write messages, and place orders for people who have temporary injuries or physical disabilities.

      1. Improving the UX design so as to ensure simpler navigation

      To enable easier navigation and a better user experience, developers need to take into account the significance of logical order in the presentation of material in a digital property. Consistent styling, distinct headlines, and distinct navigation bars can accomplish this.

      Developers shouldn’t use complex layouts during their design of digital properties because such layouts can be confusing for folks with cognitive and learning disabilities as well as those with visual disabilities.

      1. Providing a way to change the size of clickable elements

      Your developer should consider integrating ways to change the size of the buttons, controls, and links on your digital property so as to provide easier access to the available content. This is due to the possibility that a small button could make it difficult for people with tremors or diminished dexterity to press the correct one.

      Customizable text makes a digital asset more accessible since users can alter the text’s size, font, spacing, and even color without the functionality or clarity of the material being compromised. As a result, the digital asset is easier to read and complies with Section 508.

      1. Allowing for adequate time to access content on the digital property

      Your developer should think about giving users control over time limitations so that they have enough time. They should make sure that when a timed response is necessary, a user-requestable extension is offered so that the user can ask for enough time to accomplish what they are doing on the digital property.

      1. Provision of keyboard-accessible content

      Make sure your developer offers keyboard-accessible content or gives customers the option of navigating the digital property simply by using their keyboard. This is so that people with specific limitations can access a digital asset using a keyboard.

      The provision of keyboard-accessible content entails the use of skip navigation features that allow keyboard users to effectively skip repetitive content while navigating the digital property.

      1. Respect for white space

      Ensure that your developer provides plenty of space between lines and blocks of text. This makes it simpler for many users to read text horizontally. Additionally, it generally improves test readability and raises ADA Section 508 compliance.

      Need help getting involved in making your digital property 508-compliant?

      There are many agencies and communities of practice working together to make digital properties more accessible. ADACP is one of the agencies you can consider entrusting your Section 508 compliance testing to ensure your digital property meets the highest level of ADA Section 508 compliance.

      We can provide you with an experienced ADA Section 508 compliance tester to work with your developer toward the delivery of a fully accessible digital property. Call us at (626) 486-2201 or schedule a consult today to find out how we can help you guide your developer in designing a fully accessible digital property.