The Importance of 508 Compliance

Making Your Website Accessible for All

by Hanna Shemke | Communications and Social Media Manager | Jun 9, 2021 

If you’re a fully-functioning business in 2021, you’ve probably heard of the term “website accessibility” more than once. And more importantly, you understand the necessity for its inclusive practice.

This year, the publication Software Development Times disclosed that digital accessibility lawsuits increased by twenty-three percent in March, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past seven months as the world has begun to reacclimate to a sense of normalcy, these numbers have continued to rise to over fifty percent and show no intention of slowing down.

If you’re reading this and have made it this far, we have to ask:

Is your company’s online platform and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 508 compliant?

If you’re not sure, don’t know what 508 compliance is, or need some assistance with user-friendly website development, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered, Cynerge style. Keep reading to get some helpful tips, recommendations, and service options to prevent your business from turning into a percentage stat.

What is 508 compliance and what tools are available?

Simply put, 508 compliance is necessary to assure people with disabilities have the same rights, access, and experience with technology and websites as people without disabilities.

 The main thing to remember is that the 508 compliance requirements have been updated to provide clarity on two types of electronic components, and how they must work together to increase accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The first component is technologies already within your business such as software, digital platforms, web browsers, and operating systems. The second component is assistive technology, AKA the tools that help users with disabilities access your technology. Assistive technology are things like screen readers, speech recognition, and screen magnifiers, which, when integrated into your company’s technology, will boost user-friendly connectivity and make your community thrive.

The newest updates to Section 508 also instruct that all variations of public facing content (any sort of web interface that is available to the general public), as well as certain non-public facing content, also needs to be accessible to employees and users with disabilities. This is important to note because under previous variations of Section 508, this information (and whether or not it was covered) was never fully disclosed.

 Of course, it’s crucial to understand that the term “disability” is not singularly defined as a sole classification of conditions. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) states that there are six main categories of disability types, which are as follows: auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual. WAI also states that web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, including temporary, locational, and technological situations, or even a gradually aging population. Each disability type will most certainly require specific adaptations within the new designs of your web content and electronic services, but accessibility is priceless.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Thinking About Conformance

When thinking in terms of revamping your digital platforms and assistive technologies, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  1. Is the application developed in a way that meets the needs of Section 508 in the relevant standards?
  2. Can potential users with disabilities access the application and complete the necessary tasks with relative ease?
  3. Does the application create an accessible experience?
  4. Does the information, support, amenities, and database showcase an accessible experience for users with disabilities?
  5. How many individuals have expressed concern over this application? Have we made adaptations based on these concerns?

Lighthouse Testing

If you’ve recently renovated your technology and digital platforms to be 508 compliant, but you’re still not sure if it’s one-hundred percent accessible, Google Developers have created a tool that will improve the quality of your web pages. Lighthouse Testing can be run against any web page, regardless if it’s public or needs authentication. Wondering what it does? Check it out:

  • Can be run in Chrome DevTools, from the command line, or as a Node module
  • Audits for performance accessibility, progressive web applications, SEO, and more, which will generate a report on how well the page did
  • After the performance evaluation, the failing audits can be used as indicators and recommend how to improve your page
  • The failing audits from performance evaluations has a reference document which details why the audit is important, as well as how it can be fixed

Still with us? Good, because this is where we come in. Cynerge is one hundred percent 508 compliant, and the best part? We can help you get to one hundred percent, too.

How Cynerge Can Help

Cynerge’s custom website services provide a modern, 508-friendly website solution that is both aesthetically pleasing and secure. Our service includes design templates, creative brainstorming, hosting, data migration, and personalized support for you and your business, enabling you to focus on your patrons and the services that they enjoy. Arming our clients with constructive input, there are no barriers or bounds when it comes to ensuring 508 compliance for your community. Take your company’s digital development to the next level with Cynerge; Let us do the work so you can reap the rewards.

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