Type of paper: Term Paper

Topic: Internet, Website, Conformity, Compliance, Design, Government, Development, Politics

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/11/30

How 508 Compliance Affect Website Projects Development

The 508 Web Accessibility Guidelines are the guidelines that the federal government in the United States has developed to ensure high accessibility of the technology services by the people with disabilities. The 508 Websites Compliance is the section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The government is usually keen on ensuring compliance of all the web providers to this section. The web designers are supposed to ensure that the internet and the IT services can be accessed by all in society. All people in society such as the visual impaired, the deaf, and the old, the unlearned and even other with other disabilities are supposed to access internet and IT services (Thatcher & SpringerLink, 2006). The 508 Web Compliance guidelines/ requirements are therefore supposed to ensure that there is sufficient understanding of all the disabled needs in the society and incorporate them in the web designing, buying, procurement and other activities concerned with the initial use of the website. Initially, the government gave some of the requirements to be incorporated in various websites designed in the market. However, the government did not (Thatcher & SpringerLink, 2006). In this regard, therefore, the web designers, buyers, and the users did not have the relevant specifications that could be applied or rather which the government advocated. However, with the 508 Web compliance standards, the federal government has specified all the guidelines and specifications that should be adhered to. The 508 web compliance standards that have been presented to the market now act as both the government and the commercial assessment guidelines for the compliance with the appropriate standards in the IT sector (Thatcher & SpringerLink, 2006).
According to the assessment and the understanding of the 508 web compliance standards, the web designers will not necessarily need to adjust much in their functioning. Rather, 508 standards provide very simple adjustments that the internet website designers will have to comply with to ensure the incorporation of the disabled in the society. The provisions of the 508 Web compliance standards should not be confused with the older Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines and the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C). It should be noted that some of the requirements of the former and the larger requirement above are not in the 508 standards. More so, the 508 standards have incorporated some of the provisions but it has concentrated on making them simpler and more specific. Ideally, 508 compliance standards seeks at ensuring the welfare if the disabled in the community are looked into but does not concentrate so much on how web products should be tailored. Categorically, though the application of the 508 web standards may affect the appearance and the component of the web pages, it will not necessarily require the radical engineering of the websites. It is quite a simple approach which is required to ensure conformance with the standards as they are clearly presented (Thatcher & SpringerLink, 2006). In essence, the difference between other requirements with the federal government's 508 web compliance requirements is that accessibility of the websites can be developed without actual change in the web page layouts. This means that the cost of the design will be lower since much re-engineering will not be very necessary to such web pages.
On the other hand, in attaining the set compliance requirements many complicated websites will be highly affected. This is because some of the few websites pages and technologies have incorporated various technologies and complicated techniques (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005). For example, with the technological improvements, some sites have adopted the use of Dynamic HTML in their web page layouts. More so, some of the technologically advanced sites incorporate the use of the flash (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005). This means that some of these web pages will have to be subjected to further re-engineering for them to meet the standards. Additionally, it means that some of these standards will have to be done away with to incorporate the government set standards. This would reduce the innovative efficiency and implementation of the technological standards. The above two pullbacks among other discussed below affect the development of website projects.

Negative effects on of the 508 compliance standards

With the current web accessibility strategies taken or rather brought to the exposure of the people, the IT projects, the COTS and website software development will be faced with delay and lack of incorporation of the new technologies due to the following:
First, it is expected that all the activities concerned with the development, procurement, design and the use of the technologies must incorporate section 508 compliance standards requirements. Since the high-level compliance with the set standards under Section 508, the software development projects will be highly affected by the high delays as they try to incorporate some of the specifics of the section (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005). More so, the set standards may be difficult to install to some of the older and the new technologies and hence time and resources will be highly required for the perfection.
Secondly, high testing of the designed/ developed software/ web pages will be required. This is due to the federal government intentions to execute a testing plan for innovations the issuance of the certificate of participation and the patent right certificates.
Also, with the implementation, the 508 compliance standards coordinators require that the management and the designers of the web pages and the web software must implement all the necessary requirements. This provides a threat of the increased expenditure on the websites projects and developments.
Lastly, projects and the development strategies will be highly affected by the continuous review of the section 508 standards. This will, therefore, mean that continuity in projects will be halted/altered or rather delayed by these reviews. This provides the time lag effect and the capital wastage in situations where such projects conformance with the standards is a question by the coordination team.

Clients’ requirements

Though the application of Section 508 compliance standards is only applicable in the United States, is will be a common practice to get a client outside the US who require compliance of the software or the website designs with the American 508 standards. This will be mainly in situations where the clients provide public services that require the high care for the disabled.

Ease of following the rules with clear and concise rules

With the various requirements in place, many project designers and website developers will have a hard time in designing these websites. Those who will be highly affected are the novice persons who have just entered the field or those who are doing their high-level education projects (Miesenberger & ICCHP, 2004). Their projects and development strategies will be highly affected due to lack of understanding of various clauses in Section 508 standards. Some of the provisions are requirements for the web images to have the alternative description that is short in length and non-repetitive. It provides that the alternatives of the image musty clearly and precisely describe the image to enhance understanding of all persons (Thatcher & SpringerLink, 2006). Secondly, the article provides that the color used on the web pages must have certain colors that are readable by those people with color blindness. The two requirements, therefore, provide a challenge to the best way to follow in complying with the above requirements.

Appearance of the website design

Concise compliance with Section 508 standards provides designers and the developers with the dilemma of how to incorporate the requirements while designing a highly attractive web page. According to the argument of many web users, the application of Section 508 standards leaves the web developer with options that to come up with unappealing designs (Cunningham, 2012). Additionally, the designers have the dilemma between the applicability of the Section 508 standards while still applying other international standards like the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This is because though Section 508 requirements increase the level of acceptability in the United States, the global website market requires high conformance to the guidelines of the WAI.

Specific Section 508 guidelines affecting the website development and projects

A text alternative provision- this specifies that for all the images, embedded media, applet or the plug-in, there must be an alternative an equivalent text which explains the content further. It ensures that the developers either use the ‘alt’ or the ‘longdec’ attributes in conveying the alternative message. More so, the section requires that all complex graphs and chart should be supported by highly supporting alternative text messages. This further contrasts with the thoughts of most developers and designers that decorative graphics can serve as an alternative to offer better understanding and accessibility (Cunningham, 2012). Section 508 standards, however, states clearly that such graphics may not serve as alternatives. Website designers and developers, however, find it difficult and tedious to incorporate all this into the software development. More so, many users regard the incorporation of this as unnecessary repetition that makes the web pages unattractive and unappealing for easier use. To fulfill the requirements as per the provision of Section 508, the website project developers may not have the most efficient information as per the requirements (Cunningham, 2012). Therefore, they may tend to give some contradicting information with some images and complex graphs that may not serve the initial specified requirements adequately.
Equivalent presentation for multimedia presentation- in this, synchronized captions are required for any live audio and video file to be used by the community. Further still, it requires that all the videos presented in any other way but not through audio method must have an alternative or equivalent audio description tracks. This requirement continues to contribute to the delayed projects and the costs required for designing this software. Furthermore, it reduces the attractiveness of various videos presented and their attractiveness (Miesenberger & ICCHP, 2004). More so, the meaning desired and the impact of the message may be reduced by these specifications.
Apart from the above sections that provide direct design and engineering challenges to the designers and the developers of the website software, the Section 508 checklists provide thirteen more specifications. Although, 11 guidelines out of the 16 in section 508 are in the older WAI, designers of the websites and those carrying various projects are faced with a challenge of incorporating these changes into their projects (Miesenberger & ICCHP, 2004).
However, compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act will lead to continuous high-quality websites that can be able incorporate all persons in the society. This means that the websites that will be designed and engineered in the future will include all the key aspects that will be used by the disabled and the sick in the society. In the long-run, the American website will be the most highly desired due to the ease with which they can be accessed by all persons. Towards the compliance with the 508 standards, software designers will have to take part in research and development departments to develop and design software that incorporate all the aspects at the lowest cost (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005). Additionally, the continuous federal government inspection of compliance keeps the website project designers, developers, users, project implementers and the procurement officers on their toes in ensuring quality. It is hence expected that various innovations will come up with new ways of website designs. This may ultimately lead to more compliance of with older guidelines as provided by WAI. American’s products will, therefore, achieve high standards levels of accepted international standards of website designs.
In conclusion, though compliance with 508 web sites standards creates mixed reactions among the designers and the developers of various products and the users, it is intended to achieve human benefit in the end. More so, the designers should highly regard this project since the federal government provided clear and concise guidelines to be followed (Cunningham, 2012). Since this approach had not been taken in the past, the website designers should get ease in conducted these projects and hence high levels of success may be attained.


Thatcher, J., & SpringerLink. (2006). Web accessibility: Web standards and regulatory compliance. Berkeley, Calif.?: FriendsofED.
Miesenberger, K., & ICCHP (9, 2004, Paris). (2004). Computers to help people with special needs: 9th international conference; proceedings. Berlin [u.a.: Springer.
Cunningham, K. (2012). Accessibility Handbook: Making 508 websites for everyone. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly
Shelton, K., & Saltsman, G. (2005). An administrator's guide to online education. Greenwich, CT: IAP-Information Age Pub.

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Example Of Technology Term Paper. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-technology-term-paper/. Published Nov 30, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2022.

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