508 Compliance and Website Accessibility

Last updated: 2013-02-05

Following is information and links related to developing 508 compliant and accessible websites. Most of this information was provided by my friend and colleague Karen Moyes, Accessibility Expert, Multimedia Designer, and Programmer extraordinaire.

Website accessibility refers to a sub-set of web design/programming guidelines that enable people with varying degrees of impediments to consume the content on a web page. This includes people who are color blind, vision impared or completely blind, hearing impared, cannot use a keyboard or must use other input devices, or who have cognitive or neurological disabilities.

508 Compliance refers to the ammendment (Section 508) to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act which requires Federal agencies to make their electronic communications and technology accessible to people with disabilities, and to a websites compliance with those regulations. Most Federal, and many State, websites must be 508 compliant.

Section 508 regulations refer to a sub-set of the wide array of criteria for accessibility and are a baseline for building good accessible sites. For the Section 508 requirements visit https://www.section508.gov/. Following is a list of good online compliance validators:

In addition, here is a list of HTML validators, as the first step to accessibility is to have clean HTML and CSS:

Testing for 508 Compliance and accessibility means more than running it through the validators. It also requires manual testing using a screen reader. The industry standard is JAWS. However, there are a few other free/open-source alternatives:

Links to more accessibility resources:

If you have other online resources that you find valuable, please get in touch with me with the link and I will add it to this page.