What Does it Mean to be "Accessible?" Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without. Join Stephen Bouikidis as he reviews the important standards that have been put in place to make information technology, specifically web-based internets, intranets, and extranets accessible to people with disabilities.
"Section 508" is an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The amendment was signed into law by President Clinton on August 7, 1998. Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology that is developed or purchased by the Federal Government is accessible by people with disabilities.
What bearing does this legislation have for "private" entity websites? As the recent highly publicized suit against Target corporation indicated, support for the fundamental idea that access to the web is a civil right is still being legally formulated in the courts. However these statistics from http://www.section508.gov are compelling:If users with disabilities cannot access a Web site, so what?
- Harris Poll survey found that Americans with disabilities spend twice as much time on the Internet as those without disabilities
- World Health Organization, 2000, reports the number of persons with disabilities:
— 500 million worldwide, 7-10% of population
— 54 million in US, 20% of population
- Number continues to grow as population ages and people are living longer – this number is hard to accurately predict
Temporary disabilities are not included in these statistics. Why risk alienating this large audience when compliance actually improves your website for any audience, including search engines!
About Our Presenter
Stephen Bouikidis - Executive Vice President
As Executive Vice President at Netreach, a web technology firm that provides content management systems (cmScribe), authoring and collaboration tools, Stephen Bouikidis provides consultative services in compliance-driven industries--education, finance, and healthcare. Through his experience with non-profits and education-based clients, he has implemented strategies and software-based solutions to help clients achieve 508-compliant sites.