Section 508 Compliance Checklist

Captionmax

Section 508 is an important amendment to the Rehabilitation Act that protects the rights of people with disabilities, requiring Federal agencies to ensure that their websites and electronic information technology is fully accessible to those who have disabilities. This also applies to any organization that receives federal funding or contracts, as well as educational institutions that receive funding via the Assistive Technology Act. Even if your company doesn’t fall under these guidelines, it’s still best practice to have your website be compliant with Section 508.

Are you unsure of what that entails? Well, we have some good news for you: we’ve created a checklist of things to keep in mind when making a website accessible and compliant!

Section 508 compliance checklist: Use our helpful checklist below to ensure your website is compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires most Federally-funded electronic information to be accessible for people with disabilities. Even if your website doesn't fall under these guidelines, it's still best practice to make it compliant with Section 508- and thus accessible to all audiences. Closed Captions: Ensure all videos on your website have closed captions for viewers with hearing impairments.
Transcripts: Create transcripts for all spoken words and sound effects. This allows D/deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to retain the same information present in your content as anyone else. Added bonus: providing transcripts with your video content will also boost your website’s searchability.
Screen Readers: Furnish text equivalents for every essential photo, image, logo or other non-text element. This will allow for blind and low-vision visitors of your website to seamlessly navigate each page using a screen reader. 
Keyboard Navigation: Design buttons and input fields to be navigated using keyboard shortcuts. For some with sight impairment or a physical disability, traditional mouse navigation may not be an option.
Skip Buttons: Provide a button for people to skip over long lists of links to get to the main content. Someone with a physical disability may not be able to easily scroll down a page, so a skip button will allow for easier navigation by individuals using screen-reading software.
Alt Text: Add descriptive alt text to images, videos, and iframes so low-vision individuals can fully experience the website using screen readers. This will also help SEO.
Color Contrast: Design the web page with sufficient contrast between the information on the web page and the background color. The content will be easier to read for people with limited vision and allow them to navigate without interruption.
Seizure Avoidance: Use color schemes and layouts that avoid flickering or flashing. Avoid using designs that cause the screen to flicker at a rate between 2-55 Hz. A good rule of thumb is to keep flickers below three times per second– this reduces the risk of triggering seizures in those who are sensitive to flashing lights.
Zoomable: Ensure that your website is fully compatible with zoom functionality. Giving users the ability to natively zoom in on your website allows low-vision users to magnify the page at their own discretion without disrupting the layout.
Leave No Tag Unfilled: Make sure that every individual tag on your website is filled out. Things as small as setting the language of a page can significantly affect how those with screen readers navigate your website.
Include a Text-only Version: If there’s no other way to make a piece of content accessible, add a text-only version alongside it.
Avoid Special Characters: Don’t use special characters, spaces, or alternate characters when naming files, and limit filenames to below 20 characters.  These can interrupt the normal functioning of screen readers.
Equivalent Alternatives: Synchronize any alternatives you have created for a multimedia presentation so they broadcast simultaneous to the presentation.
Accessible Forms: Be sure your form allows people using assistive technology to access the information, elements, and any functionality required to fill out and submit the form.
Timed Response: For forms or pages that have a timer, alert users when time is running low and give them sufficient opportunity to indicate that they need more time.

Here’s a downloadable PDF of our Section 508 Compliance Checklist: