Accessibility Standards

What is Section 508?

Section 508 is a U.S. law that requires government agencies, and institutions receiving federal dollars, to ensure that all electronic and information technology applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities. To learn more, go to:

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was enacted to:

  • Was created by the W3C in 1997.
  • Is a set of guidelines created to assist web developers, programmers, and designers in making web content accessible to people with disabilities.

Barrier to Access

Section 508 addresses accessibility for people who have:

  • Visual disabilities
  • Hearing disabilities
  • Motor disabilities
  • Speech disabilities
  • Cognitive disabilities

Simply put, accessible websites pose no barriers to the disabled. The information and functionality contained in the website or application are just as accessible to people with disabilities as they are to people without. There are more than 750 million people living with disabilities.

As users become more dependent on the Internet for information and services, it is critical that the web be usable by everyone. It is not only the right thing to do, it’s the law; in 1998 Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to include Section 508.

Accessible Design

  • Allows as many people as possible to use technology regardless of disability, age, or functional limitation.
  • Benefits everybody by enhancing:
    o Usability
    o Device independence
    o Globalization/localization

Unique Page Title

Every page of the website should have a unique and meaningful page title.

Heading Tags – Proper Use

Using heading tags to structure the content on a web page will not only provide context for screen reader users, but also enable them to skim through a page.

  • The templates use Level 1 headings <H1> for page titles.
  • Use Level 3 headings <h3> for section titles.