Section 508 and Website Accessibility

The standard Handicapped sign of  a stick figure in a wheelchari
Handicapped Sign/Logo

In 2018 it’s estimated that there were almost 3000 lawsuits filed under the ADA (Americans for Disability Act) in the US. The 2017 estimate for these lawsuits was only a little more than 800.

The lawsuits are being filed under ADA Section 508 which states that all information and electronic technology must be made accessible to people with disabilities. Similar standards are required in the EU.

Section 508 requires all entities with “places of public accommodations” to provide website and app accessibility to people with disabilities.   In the US, this has been the Federal Government and contractors who deal directly with the Federal Government.  By extension, this also covers State and Local Governments as well. 

Most of the current lawsuits are being filed against NGO’s and private businesses are only for compliance and legal fees, not damages. These issues are still being litigated in State and Federal Courts.

At the WordCamp Atlanta, there were several presentations on how to check to make sure your website meets the Section 508 standard.

The next blog post will have a checklist for helping meet the 508 Standard.