The primary goal of Accessibility is to make certain that Information Systems can be used by people with disabilities. A properly implemented system will provide access to information to people that use assistive technologies and it will increase usability for everybody. This is due to the fact that most accessible rules one way or another make the system friendlier for use by all.
Accessibility techniques ensure equal access to information for disable and non disable users. Content and functionality can become fully accessible to people with one or more disabilities including visual, audio, kinetic, speech, and cognitive impairments.
To address these needs the accessibility guidelines are organized around four principles:
- Content must be perceivable.
- Interface elements in the content must be operable.
- Content and controls must be understandable.
- Content must be robust enough to work with current and future technologies.
We’re excited to announce that the U.S. Access Board has published its long-awaited update(link is external) to the federal regulations covering the accessibility of information and communications technology (Section 508) and telecommunications products and services (Section 255).
What are Section 508 and Section 255?
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to federal government agencies and the technology providers that sell to them. It requires that all information and communications technology (ICT) the federal government develops, procures, maintains, and uses be accessible to people with disabilities. This ensures that (1) Federal employees with disabilities have comparable access to, and use of, information and data relative to other federal workers, and (2) members of the public with disabilities receive comparable access to publicly-available information and services.
Section 508 applies to a wide range of technology products, including computer hardware and software, websites, video/multimedia products, phone systems, and copiers.
Section 255 of the Communications Act applies to telecommunications equipment manufacturers and service providers. It requires that telecommunications equipment and services be accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities.
Why did the Access Board update these rules?
The Access Board updated and reorganized the Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines in response to market trends and innovations. Section 508 was last updated in 2000, and technology has evolved significantly since then. For example, in some cases different technological systems are now capable of performing similar tasks.
PEAT and other technology and disability experts anticipate that the updated rules will generate significant benefits for individuals with disabilities, including:
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Read full article at Source: The Section 508 Refresh is Here! | Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT)
Our goal is to share and discuss strategies, techniques and resources for meeting Section 508 compliance as it pertains to websites and web-based content. WAG also endorses conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and provides accessibility training on both Section 508 and WCAG 2.0
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Read full article at Source: Resources for creating 508-compliant content – Web Accessibility Group
Today, businesses routinely make much more information about their products and services available to the public and potential consumers by posting it on their websites. As a result, many people can easily access this information seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Yet, millions of people with print disabilities still cannot enjoy the benefits of many of these websites because they are inaccessible to them.
E-learning is a type of web-based content, and therefore, the technical standards outlined in the WCAG and Section 508 §1194.22 apply, if you want or need to make your e-learning courses accessible to those with disabilities. If you’re creating e-learning content for a U.S. government entity, your e-learning content likely needs to be 508-compliant. Several state government entities also require 508-compliance. Also, if you’re not creating e-learning courses directly for a government agency, but you provide services to or are funded by the government, it’s likely that some form of 508-compliance also applies to you.
Similar laws exist in other countries for their government entities, but most other countries have chosen to adopt WCAG as a legal requirement, rather than drafting their own rules. So if you’re creating e-learning content for government entities in other countries, there’s a chance that some level of the WCAG applies to you.
Even if you aren’t required by law to meet the guidelines, isn’t making your e-learning courses more accessible to people with disabilities the right thing to do? You may immediately think “Yes,” however, that the extra cost, effort, and sometimes compromised experience keep many non-government organizations from making accessibility a priority. Instead, they will often choose to use “reasonable accommodation” and provide training in another way, such as having someone sit down with the person and go through the training together.
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Source: Accessibility for E-Learning: Section 508 and WCAG