Section 508: The new business as usual

Steve LeSueur

Systems integrators and their government customers are finding that fulfilling Section 508 requirements isn't as troublesome ? or as costly ? as they once feared. In fact, executives say it's becoming a routine part of doing business.

Section 508 refers to the landmark legislation, passed in 1998, requiring that federal Web sites, software, computers and other IT products be accessible to people with disabilities.

For Washington Technology's special report on Section 508, Staff Writer Gail Emery talked with industry and government officials to gauge how well agencies are complying with accessibility rules. She found that many agencies are issuing requests for proposals alerting contractors that they will measure their compliance with Section 508.

At the same time, many contractors said they are designing compliant technologies into their products and solutions. Some companies have as many as 30 people working on accessibility for their products and services.

Also in our special report, technology specialist Carlos Soto takes a look at some recent advancements in Section 508 technologies. Carlos found that these technologies are not only becoming less expensive, but are much easier for people with disabilities to use.

Overall, while there is plenty of room for improvement, industry and government appear to be making steady progress toward achieving Section 508's goals.

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