What is 508 compliance for websites?

508 compliance for websites generally refers to website accessibility for users with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public services to provide websites  with fair access for people with differences in hearing, vision, and mobility. All federal agencies and organizations doing business with federal agencies (or receiving federal funding) are required to comply with accessibility standards by January 2018. However, the legislation will have lasting effects across all industries..

Unless a website has been designed for 508 compliance, users with adaptive reading devices (readers) and other modified interfaces will have a difficult time finding what they need. Most websites are designed for fully-sighted and hearing users. Many of the features that designers take for granted when building a website can limit or prevent access for users with disabilities.

Lawsuits on behalf of users with disabilities are on the rise and being brought against private companies that don’t comply. Even smaller businesses with 508 non-compliant websites are at risk for litigation, especially in the financial, hospitality and public services sectors.

How do I make my website ADA compliant?

An ADA-compliant website needs to have important components such as, easier navigation, making text content readable, and sufficiently contrasting colors in graphics. The website and content must also be scalable and robust enough to work with current and future assistive technologies.

Examples of common website elements that need to be accessible include:

Schuler Design & Development has experience making websites ADA compliant. We have worked with banks and other financial firms to ensure they aren’t subject to lawsuits and future fines from the government. If you would like to learn more feel free to contact us at 904.494.8777.

Is my website compliant right now?

WCAG 2.0 has a list of tools that you can use to check if your website meets accessibility guidelines. But, of course, online tools are no substitute for a human expert.