Are You in Compliance with ADA and Section 508 Accessibility Guidelines?

Tarveen Kaur May 1, 2019
Website accessibility isn’t just a good way to be sure that 100% of your customers and clients have access to your information and services when they need it. It’s also the law. Title III of the ADA requires all private business serve as “places of accommodations” to remove “access barriers” that could impede a disabled person’s access to their goods and services. That law includes access to the web. In recent years, quite a few successful lawsuits have drawn attention to ADA guidelines for web accessibility. For example, in 2017 Florida court ruled against Winn Dixie, saying they had violated the ADA—and the company was required to spend over $250,000 to remediate their site. Then, in 2018, a blind customer sued Hooters restaurants and won—even though the company was actually in the process of making their site more accessible. Required Compliance with the ADA’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for Private Sector Businesses The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was passed in 1990, making it legally necessary for organizations to maintain accessibility for individuals with disabilities. This led to the creation of physical accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps, braille signage for the blind, and audible signals for the deaf and hard of hearing. In 1995, with the invention of the World Wide Web, new concerns about accessibility arose, and in 1999 the ADA put Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in place. The first set of WCAG included 14 guidelines. The second set of WCAG guidelines (WCAG 2.0) was introduced in 2008; it includes 12 guidelines under four levels of priorities: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.1, introduced in 2018, according to the website Essential Accessibility: “Includes all of the same success criteria as in 2.0, but also covers 17 new success criteria. These new sections of the guidelines are intended to help people with low vision (that is, people who have some level of usable vision), people with cognitive disabilities, and people with learning disabilities. They’re also meant to remove more online barriers from mobile technologies.” WCAG guidelines include three levels – A, AA, and AAA. In the past, if your business complied with Level A guidelines you were in compliance with the law. Now, however, you must meet at least Level AA to be in compliance. Know more:https://www.magicedtech.com/blog/wcag2-1-web-content-accessibility-guidelines-new/ Required Compliance with Section 508 for Federal Agencies and Federally Funded Organizations In addition to the WCAG guidelines for private sector businesses, another guideline called Section 508 applies to all federal government departments and federally funded agencies. Section 508 requires fair treatment for people with disabilities; this means that specifies all electronic information and communication technology including websites, apps, and electronic documents must be fully accessible to all users.  Recently, Section 508 was enhanced to include WCAG 2.0, Level A and AA Are You in Compliance with ADA and Section 508 Guidelines? If you’re a private sector business with an online presence, you must comply with the latest ADA and Section 508 guidelines or risk lawsuits and fines. You may also wind up losing business without properly accessible online content. Fortunately, Magic EdTech’s comprehensive Accessibility Solutions can help. To check on your level of compliance, you can use either automated or manual testing methods which review your desktop and mobile website and online offerings based on a checklist of 78 criteria for various different types of disabilities. While automated systems may seem like a less expensive, easier solution, they often miss important gaps in service. That’s because guidelines require you to address a very wide range such as (for example):
  • blindness and limited vision
  • deafness and other hearing disabilities
  • epilepsy
  • dyslexia
  • motor disabilities from conditions like spinal cord injury or arthritis
To provide access, you’ll need to ensure that your desktop and mobile sites offer a number of easy-to-find options which include (but aren’t limited to):
  • Adjustable text size
  • Audio options for the hard of hearing
  • Options for turning off or altering time limits
  • Consistency of design
  • Attention to contrasting colors
All of these accessibility tools must be applied correctly to make them effective. Get the Help You Need to Ensure ADA and Section 508 Accessibility Over the past two decades, WCAG and Section 508 compliance has become increasingly complex—and the consequences for non-compliance have become more severe. That’s why so many companies and federally-funded organizations are turning to experts to evaluate their online presences. Magic is known in the industry as a go-to company for the accessibility and mobility needs of those in the education business. Magic’s platform and content teams partner with clients to build the latest industry solutions for digital assessments and successful learning outcomes. For more information about Magic EdTech’s accessibility consulting services, visit us at https://www.magicedtech.com/solutions/digital-accessibility/ and schedule a meeting with our experts.
Tarveen Kaur

Accessibility Practice Lead at Magic EdTech, Tarveen is actively engaged in building new class digital accessibility solutions for education.