Over the past few years, you may have heard industry leaders murmuring about ADA or Section 508 compliance. Whether you’re an old pro at the ins and outs of compliance or a total newbie, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a brief guide to help you understand what ADA compliance entails and why your business should jump on board.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It ensures that individuals with disabilities can access all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and public and private places.
These protections are now extending to online content. Section 508 of the ADA states that people with disabilities, such as the visually disabled (color-blind, poor eyesight, blind, etc.), should be able to use assistive technologies to access documents, applications and websites. That means that if your business has a website, application, downloadable PDF, or anything that lives on the web, it should be able to be read by a screen reader or other assistive technology.
Documents and web materials aren’t screen reader friendly on their own. Section 508 compliance needs to be baked into the writing, design, and coding of web projects from the very beginning. The process involves selecting the right colors, designing documents with screen readers in mind, coding in alternative text, and making sure navigation can be completed with both a mouse and a keyboard.
Don’t panic if this doesn’t describe your business’ web materials. Right now, only government websites and materials are required to be Section 508 compliant. Most educational institutions, health care organizations, and senior-focused websites are making compliance efforts too.
While there’s no ADA police that enforces private businesses’ compliance, it’s a good idea to make sure your business resources are accessible to all audiences. It shows that your business will go above and beyond to reach all audiences and that you care about keeping up with the latest trends.
If you are interested in learning more about how BCP can help your business to become Section 508 compliant, please contact us today at 517.333.4900.