508 Refresh & Website Accessibility
The term 508 is most often attributed to web accessibility. Web accessibility means providing access to a website for people of all abilities. Society commonly thinks of individuals with visual disabilities when discussing web accessibility, but in reality, developers must take into consideration all types of abilities. These could include motor, auditory and cognitive disabilities along with individuals with no disabilities. Making a website accessible typically means following best practices for web development. This helps to provide a better experience for everyone viewing a site. The Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides a set of standards and guidelines to follow to ensure a website is accessible.
In January 2017, the United States Access Board announced a refresh to the Section 508 Guidelines. The refresh brings the Section 508 Guidelines in line with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0; which has been in place since 2008 and was adopted by the EU in 2010.
News about the refresh started to circulate a few years ago, and has since been on BGSU’s radar. Once officially announced, the web team began working hard to ensure that the BGSU website complies with these standards.