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Accessibility and Section 508 Standards. Maxamine/Federal Consulting Group (FCG) User Conference 3 October 2007. What is Accessibility?. Accessibility involves two key issues: how users with disabilities access electronic information

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Accessibility and section 508 standards

Accessibility and Section 508 Standards

Maxamine/Federal Consulting Group (FCG)

User Conference

3 October 2007

What is accessibility
What is Accessibility?

Accessibility involves two key issues:

  • how users with disabilities access electronic information

  • how web content designers and developers enable web pages to function with assistive devices used by individuals with disabilities.

Web standards for accessibility
Web Standards for Accessibility

Accessibility standards help designers and developers of web content identify and address accessibility issues

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

    •  World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

    •  First Major Effort

    •  14 guidelines, 3 checkpoint levels:

      • Priority 1 (A – Must meet)

      • Priority 2 (AA – Highly recommended to meet)

      • Priority 3 (AAA – Recommended)

Section 508 of the u s rehabilitation act
Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act


Section 508 requires Federal departments and agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to ensure that Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to and use of information and data, comparable to that of the employees and members of the public without disabilities–unless it is an undue burden to do so.

The Section 508 Standards, which were introduced as a rule for federal web site development, are an extension and/or modification of the W3C standards. The overall differences between these two standards are minimal.

11 of the 16 508 Standards are drawn directly from the WCAG

What do the numbers say
What Do the Numbers Say?

  • By 1997 about 19 million Americans were using the Internet.—roughly 55,000 new users each day.

  • Every 24 hours, the Web increases by more than 3.2 million new pages and more than 715,000 images.

  • The number of electronic mailboxes worldwide reached almost 570 million in 1999. In 1998 the U.S. Postal Service delivered 101 billion pieces of paper mail; estimated e-mails transmitted that year range as high as four trillion.

  • About 54 million Americans have some level of disability.


Types of disabilities
Types of Disabilities

There is a significant amount of people who use the web who have one disability or another, including people with impaired vision.

Some common disabilities:

  • Blind Users

  • Color Blind Users

  • Users with weak vision that cannot ready small text

  • Deaf Users

  • Hard of hearing users

  • Users that cannot use a mouse

  • Users with disabilities like arthritis or other motor control issues

  • Photosensitive epilepsy – can have a seizure triggered if the computer screen has movement

Example guidelines
Example Guidelines

  • A) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided

  • B) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation

  • C) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color

  • D) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet

  • E) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

  • F) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

  • G) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables

  • H) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical views of row or column headers

Compliant or not
Compliant or Not?


Accessible version
Accessible Version


Compliant or not1
Compliant or Not?


Accessible version1
Accessible Version


Strategy for accessibility compliance a phased approach
Strategy for Accessibility Compliance – A Phased Approach

The following are the four basic phases of developing and maintaining an accessible web site:

  • Developing a plan: Performing a site assessment, setting your organizations goals, and setting design guidelines and standards

  • Implementing your guidelines – training developers and retrofitting current content. All new content development should be performed based on your organizations new guidelines and standards

  • Accessibility Testing – Complete testing to assure that you have complied with your new guidelines and standards

  • Accessibility maintenance – Evaluate results, automate verification of accessibility guidelines and standards

    • - Understanding Accessibility, Robert B. Yonaitis

Best way to test if your site is accessible
Best way to test if your site is Accessible

  • Turn off your monitor

  • Turn off your sound

  • Take your hand off the mouse and use your keyboard to see if you can accomplish your tasks

Are you able to navigate throughout your

site without clicking?


  • For additional information on Section 508 and accessibility: