In 1970 the Rehabilitation Act was introduced to the US to help people with disabilities to access certain kinds of machinery and equipment. It has since been amended a couple of times and in 2013, the act was amended last to bring in the 508 compliance system. Here the accent was on forming guidelines to use while allowing parts of the workforce to access systems like computers and the likes.
All government websites and portals were required to be 508 compliant and it did set the tone for the general acceptance of the act to the internet as a medium. It would be thus of interest to people as to how to ensure that a certain website that they are using is compliant to 508. The methods to it are as listed out in the below.
At the heart of compliance is the audit which is carried out by the auditing body to the sections. It is possible to have any website taken in for assessment by the competent authority at any time. Most of the governmental sites are automatically subject to an 508 compliance audit as and when they are prepared in the first instance.
Tools for testing
Part of the build-up of a website is the testing to compliance of 508. There are some compliance testing tools which are used to ensure compliance. Often the customer or client could lay out that the website should be 508 compliant.
The advantages of having a site 508 compliant.
Better visibility: When the particular site is 508 compliant, there is better visibility to the site from a lot more people than otherwise. The target audience tends to increase multifold and the extra sums of money spent on getting the site compliant are returned to the customer.
Image: Sites that are 508 compliant tend to have the badge of compliance at the bottom of the site. This does create a positive impression on a particular website.
Better search engine results: After the 508 compliance, it becomes possible for the search engines to better target the search queries. Thus taken from a customer standpoint of view, it makes good sense to have the site compliant. It is easier for the search engines to determine the kind of person that is using the website at any time.
Auto-transcription: All 508 compliant sites do provide for auto transcription at best. Thus it makes it easier for people with disabilities to read and understand what is written in the sites most of the time.
Although it would be evident that there are benefits to having a site 508 compliant, there are the added costs to the whole exercise. It is for the end user to realize the cost component by utilizing the technology to the best limits most of the time. As time passes by, still finer discrimination would be entrusted to the 508 compliance process making it thus a lot more responsive.