Dwight Patel on 508 Compliance for beyond Government websites

Do we need to be 508 Compliant?

Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Compliance with Section 508 is important because it ensures that EIT is accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities, and promotes equal access to information and services provided by the government. Focusing on 508 helps to create a more inclusive and equitable online environment for everyone, and helps to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Additionally, failure to comply with Section 508 can result in legal action and fines for the agency.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act was first imposed in 1998. It requires that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes government websites.

is it Important for Non-Government Websites to be 508 compliant?

It is important for all websites to be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, even if the website is not owned by the government. Section 508 is a federal law that requires all electronic and information technology (EIT) developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Making a website compliant with Section 508 ensures that it is accessible to a wider range of users, including those with disabilities. This includes ensuring that the website is usable by people who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to access the internet.

By making a website 508 compliant, it will be more inclusive and will improve the user experience for people with disabilities, that visit the website. It will also help ensure that the website is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in places of public accommodation, such as websites.

In addition, being 508 compliant can also be a good business decision, as it will enable a website to reach a larger audience and will help to avoid potential legal issues.

results of non-compliance

There have been a number of businesses that have been sued for not being compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. These lawsuits have been brought by individuals with disabilities and advocacy groups who argue that the businesses’ websites and other electronic information technology are not fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Some examples of businesses that have been sued for not being 508 compliant include:

Target Corporation, was sued in 2006 by the National Federation of the Blind for not having an accessible website. The case was settled in 2008, with Target agreeing to make its website fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Southwest Airlines Co., was sued in 2011 by the American Council of the Blind for not having an accessible website. The case was settled in 2013, with Southwest agreeing to make its website fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., was sued in 2012 by the National Federation of the Blind for not having an accessible website. The case was settled in 2013, with Winn-Dixie agreeing to make its website fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Netflix was sued in 2016 by the National Association of the Deaf for not having closed captions on all its streaming content. The case was settled in 2017 with Netflix agreeing to caption all of its streaming content by 2014.

These are just a few examples, but it’s important to note that many other businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, have been sued for not being 508 compliant.

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