In short, 508 compliance is the legal requirement that federal agency sites must be accessible to people with disabilities. A more complete answer is that 508 compliance refers to the requirement that electronic and information technology (EIT) developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies be accessible to people with disabilities, including both employees and members of the public. This covers electronic papers and multimedia goods, as well as web-based data and applications. All federal entities, including the executive, legislative, and judicial departments, are subject to the law. For EIT covered by Section 508, the U.S. Access Board is in charge of creating and upholding accessibility standards.
Being 508 compliant is important because it ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to electronic and information technology. This is significant for the following reasons:
- Fairness and equity are at stake. Disability should not be a reason for exclusion or disadvantage for people with disabilities.
- It benefits business. You may reach a wider audience—including persons with disabilities who could become clients or workers—by making your technology accessible.
- It’s the law. Federal agencies must comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and failure to do so may result in legal action.
- You may promote an inclusive society where persons with disabilities have the same chances as everyone else by adhering to the 508 standards.