Designing for users with a broad range of abilities can bring challenges. But, before you start thinking “Great, more stuff to limit my rockstar designs” — recognize this: Smart designs aren’t created to impress your peers. Smart designs (and smart designers!) use design elements like color, placement, and interaction in very intentional ways to help site visitors accomplish their goals — while giving the user the most enjoyable experience possible.
1 . Start with Wireframes
Now you might be thinking “Duh! This is obvious.” But how often do you consider accessibility at this step? Designing for accessibility means considering all users from the start.
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)