What is section -508? Well, we are talking about the Rehabilitation Act of the United States. With so many disabled people in society, it is obvious that this act requires and details how web sites be designed and developed in a way that disabled people also have easy access to it. While some people are physically handicapped with deformities in the limbs, others may be blind, color blind or deaf. According to the US law, different varieties of disabities have to be overcome to provide total accessibility to all relevant online information.
Though Section 508 only applies to US based companies and US Government or federal agencies at the moment, it is only a question of time before it becomes a universal standard. The law is fast catching up in the UK and other countries as well.
Websites are termed inaccessible when they do not allow a disabled person to get information from the web page quickly and with ease. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), was amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220). Some of the suggested solutions in section-508 includes,
- Technology standard with inclusions like screen readers, Braille displays.
- Automated screen readers
- Alt tags usage in place of image
- Compatibility with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and TTYs
- Captioning and video description feature
- Touch screens, location of controls at accessible reach range
- Biometric ID, special keyboards
- Access to user/installation guides and information at no extra charge
To make a web site totally compliant to Section-508 is definitely the best and ideal way to start a web design project. More details of the section -508 can be had at the site, http://www.section508.gov
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