Accessibility is an important part of our society that allows equal opportunity for everyone to gain information easily. In regards to technology and information, Section 508 is an amendment that was passed in 1998 in the US Government’s Rehabilitation Act. The amendment was created to set standards for the accessibility of information technology on a national level. All federal agencies must now abide by this amendment, by only providing and purchasing services and products that are compliant to Section 508 standards. In the industry of Advertising and Marketing or more specifically website development, abiding by web standards is a very important for a web developer to truly optimize website to its fullest potential. Standards are necessary to apply to web development in correlation with section 508 in order to improve the standards in advertising and marketing, technology, and open up more opportunities for more people to gain important information.
Ideally the industry aims to make all information presented on the web to be available to more and more users. One advantage of the standards is that it allows people with disabilities equal opportunity to access information. As technology continues to evolve, we can see the advantages to overcome obstacles and bridge communications gaps through standards and best practices. As technology improves in one area, such as the rise in mobile devices and smart phones, it must also improve and be compatible in web development. Section 508 also allows web developers to develop their sites to be accessed not only on multiple desktop browsers but mobile phones, iPods, iPad’s, and any other user agents and technology created to access information via the web.
On example of making the standard applicable is utilizing the Alt Tag (alternative text). This allows a description to be tagged onto an image or graphic. Whether the image is there for a decorative effect or if it is important with text in the image itself, it is always important to add the Alt Tag within the HTML code. It is important to add the Alt tag to each image, video file, plug-ins, audio files, graphics, charts, etc. The description should be brief but to the point, describing the image or the purpose of the image. This is important for anyone that cannot view an image or if the image was not displayed properly on the screen, the descriptive text will still be displayed. This is only one standard included in Section 508 web standards. To learn more about Section 508 Standards visit the World Wide Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative. Other standards can include procedures for electronic forms, animations, data tables and client-side image maps, multimedia presentations, frames, scripting, color conveying information, and more. It also includes web standards, software standards, information documentation, and support.
Magic Logix is a digital marketing solutions company that develops Section 508 compliant websites. As a company we adopt web standards in all forms of marketing, ecommerce shopping cart solutions, and more. Magic Logix is a GSA approved company that works with the federal government, abiding by section 508 and the web standards of W3C.