When referring to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as revised by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the abbreviation “Section 508” is frequently used. T his provision of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that federal agencies create, acquire, maintain, and use information and communications technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities regardless of whether they are federal employees or not.
All federal agencies must comply with Section 508 and make their ICT, including technology, online courses, and websites, accessible to everyone. This implies that federal workers with disabilities are able to complete their work using the accessible computers, phones, and office supplies, as well as complete online training or find any information they require on the agency's internal websites.
In accordance with Section 508, anyone with a disability who is submitting a job application to the federal government or who visits a federal agency's website to learn more about anything need to have access to the same resources and information that are accessible to everyone else.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a more comprehensive statute that applies to all entities with the exception of federal agencies, whereas Section 508 is unique to ICT for federal government agencies and services.
Section 508 guidelines
Section 508 compliance test are based on the following Section 508 guidelines:
- For each non-text element, a text equivalent must be provided.
- Equivalent replacements must be synced with the display for any multimedia content.
- Designing web pages should ensure that every information given through color is likewise available in black and white.
- The layout of documents should be such that they may be read without the use of a style sheet.
- For every active area of a server-side picture map, redundant text links must be provided.
- Except in cases where the areas cannot be built with a readily available geometric shape, client-side image maps should be offered instead of server-side image maps.
- For data tables, row and column headers must be clearly visible.
- For data tables with two or more logical levels of row or column headers, markup should be used to link data cells with header cells.
- To make it easier to identify and navigate between frames, each frame should have a title.
- Pages ought to be made to prevent screen flickering at frequencies higher than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
- When compliance with Section 508 requirements cannot be achieved in any other way, a text-only page with similar information or functionality must be provided. Such text-only pages have their content updated anytime the main page is changed.
- Assistive technology should be able to read the information provided by scripts when pages use them to display content or generate interface components.
- When a web page necessitates the presence of an applet, plug-in, or other application on the client system in order to interpret page content, the page must link to an applet or plug-in that adheres to the relevant Section 508 regulations.
- When electronic forms are to be filled out online, they should be accessible to persons who use assistive technology and include all instructions and signals as well as the data, field components, and functionality needed to complete and submit the form.
- There ought to be a way for users to avoid tedious navigation.
- The user should be informed and given enough time to request extra time when a timed response is required.
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