Common Questions About 508 Compliance
Updated: Nov 7
Since 508 compliance is a newer topic, and there are a few different governing laws, the topic raises a couple of questions. Some of the most common questions that we get about 508 Compliance are explained below. Hopefully, these answers help you in your 508 Compliance journey.
What is Section 508?
Section 508 refers to a section in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and was strengthened in 1998 by Congress in the Workforce Investment Act. Its primary goal is to help provide access to and use of electronic and information technology (EIT) for individuals with disabilities.
Who has to have 508 compliant documents?
Since 2001, the law has required that all content on the web that has been created using federal money must be 508 compliant. This includes government and contractor hosted websites, intranet sites, and content hosted by services like YouTube. Examples of companies that must comply include US Federal websites, healthcare companies, banks, and universities, just to name a few.
Why should a company comply?
Creating documents that are 508 compliant helps those who are hard of sight access important information. So, providing a 508 compliant website is the best business practice to help these individuals. If a website is found to not be compliant, a person with disabilities can file a complaint or bring a civil action in Federal Court. A company can face costly fines for not following the law. 13.2 million people in the United States have at least one disability that Section 508 is meant to help. Being compliant means you are helping a lot of people.
Can’t you just click a button and make a document compliant?
No. All documents require manual manipulation of the document structure to pass 508 checkpoints and accessibility standards. On the backside of this document is a list of the requirements to make a document 508 compliant. Many programs have a selection to tag a document when saving to a PDF, but this does not create documents that are properly tagged and in logical reading order with all the necessary elements to pass accessibility checkers.
How can I tell if a document is 508 compliant?
The person who provides you with a 508 compliant document must also provide you with an Accessibility Report. This report will tell you if the document has passed 32 inspection points including adding tags, bookmarks, and verifying logical reading order.
If I have an Accessibility Report does this guarantee the document is tagged correctly?
No, it doesn’t. There are a couple areas of the Accessibility Report that someone can “fake” the passing on. A person can do the minimum requirement to make it pass, but the document is not 100% compliant. One of these areas is bookmarks. Any document with over 9 pages must contain bookmarks. These bookmarks must exist throughout the entire document. A document can pass with just one bookmark added. This would not meet the standard for a compliant document.
How can I manually check to make sure a PDF document is remediated correctly?
Do a quick check of your document in Adobe Acrobat after it is remediated. Does the bookmark navigation area open automatically when you open the document? Does it have bookmarks throughout the document? Adobe Acrobat will read the document to you. Go to a page with images. Are there words added that describe the pertinent images or icons when you listen to the reader? Go to a page with a table, does the reader read you the table in a logical manner that you could understand if you can’t see it?
How will Splash Box Marketing help my company meet 508 requirements?
Since 2012, Splash Box Marketing has been meeting the 508 remediation needs for a national list of clients. We have a team of trained individuals whose only job is making documents compliant. We will provide your company with properly remediated documents and Accessibility Reports using software recommended by HHS. We are proud to be able to offer this valuable service to our clients at cost-effective prices. We charge the same price regardless of document language or difficulty.
Still have questions? Email us at email@example.com. We would love to connect, answer your questions, and help you to get started on your web accessibility journey.