Note: Read to the end for a link to some great accessibility resources.
508 accessibility compliance might not apply to non-federal Websites, but accessibility still matters to every corner of the Web.
The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect. Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web. — Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
Per the 508 compliance rules, Federal government Websites needs to be accessible to all citizens. As a practice, non-federal sites should do their best to accommodate the Americans With Disabilities Act (ACA) as well.
What Makes A Website Compliant?
According to the W3C. Web Accessibility is the following:
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can: perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web contribute to the Web
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:
Web Accessibility Isn’t Just for Those Who Are Disabled
Web accessibility can help people beyond those who are disabled. Mobile responsive sites make sites accessible on different sized screens. This benefits everyone who uses the Web on their phone’s browser.
Other non-disability related benefits to an accessible site include:
- People using mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.
- Older people whose abilities are changing as they get older
- People who have limitations that are temporary like broken arms or when they can’t find their glasses. (The latter happens more than you’d think)
- People in situations where they are in bright sunlight or who can’t listen to audio due to where they are.
- People with bad connections to the Internet.
The W3C States:
There is also a strong business case for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Accessible websites can have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, increased audience reach, and demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR).
With All This In Mind, How Does Your Site Stack Up?
There are all types of tools out there that can show you what’s wrong with your site from an accessibility standpoint, but it’s also important to know what you’ve done right and how to replicate it.
The A11y Project has some great resources to check out.
If you’re still stumped or need help implementing what you’ve read, give us a call today.