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Website Accessibility & the 508 Standard

  • Accessibility url for the W3C:
  • Accessibility is an important issue when working on the web
  • Anyone who is unable to view a monitor, or use a keyboard or mouse must have the web page read to them
  • It is up to website designers & developers to be sure that website content is accessible to them and is easy to use
  • The 508 standard was created in the US but became a base for a worldwide standard created by the W3C, the worldwide organization that controls standards and makes recommendations for the internet
  • Show where this information can be referenced within the W3C recommendations
  • I also have many resources at

Website Accessibility & the 508 Standard

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Accessibility Definition 1:53
  • Accessibility Features 2:30
  • Four Principles of Accessibility 3:30

Transcription: Website Accessibility & the 508 Standard

I now want to talk about accessibility.0000

Accessibility is an interesting topic because most people do not even know what it means.0004

I asked recently at a client site, where I was doing some training, if they had to be concerned about their website being accessible.0010

And somebody started talking to me about where in their office building, the people were located, who worked on websites.0019

So, it is a very misunderstood term, so let me clarify it. 0030

First of all, because our Federal Government has or, at least in the U.S. here, has come up with some accessibility guidelines that any Federal website -- in other words, the government runs it -- has to follow and it is known as the 508 Standard.0033

And this came about quite a few years ago, and the first Standard came out in 1999, I believe it was.0051

As a matter of fact it says right here, yes 1999, was the first accessibility guidelines that were offered and they were very different than what is being offered now.0059

So, I want to give you a brief overview. 0071

Now, those accessibility guidelines came about and the whole W3C, which is the Consortium that set standards for the web, they decided that it was also a good idea for them to set some accessibility guidelines.0074

So, instead of just a single country, let us get everybody taking a look at in the same way.0091

The web accessibility committee came out and set some standards. 0098

I want to show you where those are located and also give you an idea of what is involved because it is something you should consider.0105

What is accessibility? 0113

What it means is, if somebody cannot use a keyboard or cannot use a mouse or cannot visualize or see a webpage in front of them because their eyesight has issues, how do they ever get the web?0116

We cannot type on a keyboard, we cannot use a mouse to move the cursor around and we cannot see what we are doing.0133

Think how difficult that would be in trying to navigate the web. 0138

The idea is we want to build in our website some things to make it easier for them. 0143

And those things you build into the website are accessibility features, or that is how we refer to them. 0150

What are some of those different features?0158

Well, the basic structure of your page is one.0161

You want to have a good structure, because if people cannot use any of those things.0164

What they need to do is have the page rent to them by some kind of a program.0170

And one of the more common programs is a program called JAWS and it used to cost thousands and thousands of dollars.0175

So, even if people had issues they did not necessarily have the money to spend to get the program.0183

That price has come down a little bit, but there are other programs available, basically it takes your page content, pulls out the words and reads the page to them using those words.0189

It also allows them to move around your webpage using specific content within the page to do it.0203

Let me give you a little bit of information about the accessibility guidelines that the W3C set up, as a global standard for accessibility. 0213

If you go to the resources area, within my website, and click on accessibility, that is the page I am on.0222

You can see it was revamped in 2008, back in 1999, these came out. 0230

And the four principles is that is the page I want to, kind of, refer you to.0238

Now, do not worry, I am not going through all of this with you, but I just want you to know if you are going to start somewhere reading about accessibility, the four principles are the place to start.0244

So I do have those open here for you, and the idea is we want all webpages to be four things for everybody, whether they can see, or use their hands or whatever.0255

So, we want it to be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.0268

In other words, if they cannot use a keyboard and mouse they should not be prevented from enjoying the web, simple concept.0275

It used to be that there were different stages and they were numbered and they were not quite as obvious. 0282

When it was revamped these are the four guiding principles for accessibility.0290

But it is something you should be aware of and think about as you are building your website.0295

If you are not doing the proper coding, anybody with the screen reader is going to have a tough time, because there will be errors in them trying to move around your page.0300

Even if the browser displays it OK to a visual person, it might not display or they might not be able to navigate it using a screen reader.0310

So, these are some things to keep in mind and consider.0320

It would be a good idea to get somewhat familiar to some of these accessibility guidelines for the web, if you plan to move into creating websites.0324

And the five WADA Standards is the U.S. version of that mandate for Federal sites.0334

But the W3C guidelines are kind of the guiding principles for wherever you are in the world with regards to accessibility. 0341

That is some basic information and some places to go to learn more about accessibility on the web.0350

We want to make sure the web is accessible to everybody whatever their situation.0357