What is Section 508?
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act makes it mandatory for federal agencies to maintain all the information and communications to be accessible for people with any kind of disabilities. This applies to people in all walks of life regardless of whether work with the federal government. Section 508 compliance standards enable employees with any kind of disabilities to access work on computers, phones and any other equipment they use. The person can access information about any programs, take part in training or use the internal website for getting access to any information. By implementing this law, if a person with a disability applies for a job with the federal government has access to the same level of information as the person who does not have any disability.
Who should be Section 508 Compliant?
Section 508 does not only apply to federal agencies. It also includes any firm or a company that deals with federal agencies. Any private company such as legal firms, healthcare, financial firms and others also fall under the compliance policy.
Documents that are covered under Section 508
Any communication in a digital format created by a company falls under the Section 508 compliant category. Therefore, any communication such as emails, website information, apps and PDFs must be accessible to people with disabilities.
All Kinds of Public Communication
Any electronic content that is meant for the public must be accessible. For example, details on a website, blogs and any other social media platforms are public communication. Some public-facing content can also be made to be available on non-web mediums such as display information, kiosks or waiting area in public places.
Apart from public posts, official business communication that falls under any of the below categories should abide by the Section 508 guidelines.
Information such as evacuation notices, text messages containing emergency instructions or information, weather alerts etc. falls under the Section 508 Compliance category.
Any notice regarding the status of the claim such as acceptance or denial must be accessible.
Job Opportunities and its benefits
Information about the benefits of a government scheme or whether a person is eligible to avail benefits under the program, new job opportunities and in general any information that would be used for employees or public.
Formal acknowledgement confirming the receipt of payment or receiving information.
Surveys or questionnaires conducted to evaluate the service or any other reasons must be in accordance with Section 508.
Documents or templates that are used for various purposes such as creating official presentations or website content should be in a consistent format for better accessibility.
Materials pertaining to various training that is conducted, the activates and worksheets that are used should be compliant with the Section 508 guidelines.
Websites that are designed for viewing within the office premises also fall under the Section 508 compliance.
Complying to Section 508 standards makes information access possible to all users. This should not be a difficult thing to accomplish if a publishing firm has certain quality checks in place. It is definitely advantageous to the publishers as it widens audience outreach and increases the number of readers.