Section 508 has three main requirements to meet:
- 1. Technical – these requirements make sure the coding of a website, software, operating systems, etc. is compatible with assistive technologies.
- 2. Functional – these requirements ensure that in addition to the technical coding, the entire system is usable by someone with a disability.
- 3. Support – these requirements make sure that support documents and alternative information is also accessible by people with disabilities.
If a project doesn’t meet all three of these requirements, then it is not legally compliant.
Section 508 compliance is required for all organizations that provide goods or services. Not only is Section 508 compliance important to stay on the right side of the law, but meeting these standards is good for business.
What is 508 Compliance for Websites?
508 compliance refers to meeting the accessibility standards established in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law has been updated to include requirements about accessibility for software and websites. The purpose of 508 compliance is to have information and resources be equally accessible for those with disabilities as it is for those who do not have disabilities.
Not only does this make your website compliant with accessibility standards, but your website is also more effective in attracting a wider customer or client base, creating more opportunities to achieve your unique goals.
This is important because it makes your site easier to use for about 56.7 million Americans who have a disability, according to U.S. Census data.
Who Needs to Meet 508 Compliance for Websites?
All organizations and businesses should make it a priority to pursue 508 compliance for their website.
Not only does a 508 compliant website make your business accessible to potential customers or clients with disabilities, but failing to fulfill 508 compliance can result in costly litigation for a business.
Failing to Satisfy 508 Compliance for Websites Hurts Businesses
In addition to 508 compliance for websites being a requirement, it's important to understand the significant, costly consequences that can arise from noncompliance.
The Business Journal of CNY reported that failing to make a website 508 compliant "has resulted in a drastic spike in lawsuits in what is arguably the fastest growing type of litigation."
In a 2017 court case, a federal judge ruled that the burger franchise Five Guys violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to their website's lack of accessibility. Specifically, the Five Guys website allowed customers to order food online, but did not take the necessary steps that would make it possible for blind customers to order food from the website.
National businesses aren't the only companies who have faced costly litigation expenses from failing to satisfy 508 compliance for websites. A federal judge ruled that Blick Art Materials, LLC was also in violation of ADA regulations because their website didn't provide means for disabled individuals to access the company's website to buy or learn about products.
In brief, lacking 508 compliance for your organization's website leaves your company vulnerable to extensive litigation costs.
What Do You Need to Do to Satisfy 508 Compliance for Websites?
The answer to this question depends on your current website. While some websites may only require only a few changes to be adequately accessible, many others are likely to need a complete website redesign.
How ACS Can Help With 508 Compliance for Websites
Our professional, experienced website design team can help your organization’s website satisfy 508 compliance requirements. In addition to being experienced in designing websites with 508 compliance standards, we’re also experienced in going above and beyond these standards to make an accessible website design. The result is a website that not only meets 508 compliance requirements, but features a more accessible, results-driven look and feel that is optimized to achieve your individual goals.
From Our Portfolio: Accessible Website Design
When SECNY Federal Credit Union needed to upgrade their website to comply with website accessibility regulations, they trusted the experienced professionals at ACS Web Design and SEO to get the job done. Our team structured SECNY Federal Credit Union's website to meet website accessibility guidelines that are consistent with regulatory requirements. Our web designers, web developers and usability experts created SECNY Federal Credit Union's website in a way that makes the site equally accessible for people with disabilities. This includes a website structure that is compatible with screen readers and other assistive technology.
Providing Compliant Solutions for 20+ Years
For over 20 years, ACS Web Design & SEO has been on the cutting edge of web design & digital marketing best practices, including meeting regulatory standards for various industries.
In addition to professional, results-driven website designs that satisfy 508 compliance, our website designers have helped our clients satisfy:
- Attorney advertising regulations
- Patient portal regulations
- Finance industry regulations
- And more!
For Website Design That Fulfills 508 Compliance, Let’s Talk
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