What is 508 Compliance and Who should Conform to the Regulations

Introduction

Section 508 compliance is an information technology law introduced by the US federal government. The law aims to provide equal opportunities and accessibility to all the types of software, applications, and multi-format data to the disabled. It includes websites, electronic documents, communication channels, entertainment channels, informational sites and channels, and other forms of electronic media.

Applicability of 508 Compliance

508 compliance applies to all the federal agencies, organizations, governments, municipals, and private organizations, communities, and individuals, who are associated with the federal government, directly or indirectly.  At present, the law does not apply to private websites and Information technology-based communication channels.

What does it Mean

People who have hearing impairments should be able to read the sub-titles in the videos and multimedia content. They should be able to choose the language of their preference. People with visual impairment should have access to audio in multimedia and text. For example, the PDF files should have audio support for reading aloud the document to the disabled readers. Similarly, the 508 compliance has many regulations for the other forms of disabled.

What is the Checklist

Equivalent Elements

The equivalent element rule applies to the text and non-text content on the web pages and documents. For example, an image, a video, or other multimedia should have alternate textual content. Similarly, text content should have alternate content in the form of audio.

  • The description should be short and relevant
  • It should be precise without any ambiguity
  • It should have the same intention as the original content

Graphics and Video

All the images and graphics should have the same resolution and clarity with and without colors. The purpose is to provide equal accessibility to people with color-blindness and related problems. The readers should be able to choose between the two options online.

Images, buttons, options, and list-boxes with or without inbuilt links should have alternate text with similar connections.

Videos and multimedia presentations should have alternate text as a subtitle. It should be the same content as the audio.

Documents and HTML Text

The designer may use style-sheets for designing the external layout of content. But the design should not become a hindrance to the text readability. The users should be able to turn on or turn off the style-sheet according to their specific needs. The aim is to keep the text readable clearly without any ambiguity.

The online documents and HTML text can have images, as long as they are loaded on the web browser of the client system. It makes them comfortable and fast for users to scroll and view. The links to video content can lead to third-party pages, but the connectivity link should be visible.

Other Compliances

 The other 508 compliance regulations apply to online forms, plug-in pages, response pages, scripts, apps, and other related objects.

Conclusion

508 compliance has been voluntarily applied by many organizations like Microsoft, Google, app developers, HTML coders, and many others. It applies to all the platforms from which you access the internet and other electronic media.