In my current role as a front-end engineer, Section 508 has become a driving force in some of my work. Since my company does business with the U.S. government, we’re required to meet a level of accessibility that ensures users with visual disabilities can interact with our web properties.
Most, if not all, developers and designers dread Section 508 compliance. Oftentimes, it means combing through our interfaces using unfamiliar tools to make sure people we’re not even sure exist can use our software.
This is a cynical mindset, of course—because those users do exist and they have real disabilities that developers and designers must take into consideration. Can you imagine if buildings were not required to support wheelchair-bound patrons or if crosswalk signals did not incorporate auditory features?
The web is not dissimilar to the physical world. Websites must operate in a fashion where people of any ability can achieve critical tasks. For me, this meant ensuring users could access online verification tied to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ new Vets.gov services portal.
In implementing and improving the 508 compliance of our technology, I learned a few good lessons, which I share below.Keep Reading