Maintaining adherence to federal guidelines, along with providing an inclusive educational environment for all students, is of the utmost importance to all colleges and universities. One of the most pressing needs that’s communicated from our clients is the requirement for our solutions to be 508 compliant. While our MEDIASHAREiQ video learning platform is up to code in terms of 508 compliance, we know there may be some confusion as to what exactly that entails.
What is 508 Compliance?
508 compliance refers to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (RHA) of 1973, a federal law which was one of the first legislation of its kind to address equal access for individuals with disabilities. While sometimes overshadowed by the landmark civil rights act, the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 still addresses significant issues for individuals with disabilities in their pursuit of equal rights in the workplace.
Section 508, amended to the RHA in 1998, specifically addresses access to communication and computer technology. This relates to not only the information and documents conveyed on websites, but the software and hardware used to access them.
Some examples of how accessibility needs to be addressed:
- PDFs and all the images within need to be readable and identifiable by assistive technology.
- Web pages need to be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color.
Video that contains speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content needs to be open or closed captioned.
Checking Your Technology for 508 Compliance
They are several avenues available to you to make sure your technology is 508 compliant, ranging from self-checks to independent agencies who can audit your services for you.
While developing MEDIASHAREiQ we rigorously tested each page and module of our video enterprise video platform against the Federal Government’s Section 508 checklist using their provided auditing tools to ensure compliance. During our comprehensive review we paid particular attention to captioning, interactivity, images, and navigation elements among a wide array of other software elements on the platform to make sure they conformed to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Why is 508 Compliance it important?
With the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA added to the accelerant of the internet technology age, the federal government set accessibility as a key priority. Section 508 sets a minimum level of accessibility for technology developed or procured by Federal agencies.
Worldwide, more than 660 million individuals have either visual or hearing impairment that limits their capability to fully interact with con-compliant technology. Being 508 compliant ensures that these individuals have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that by those who are without disabilities.
Because of the government’s large footprint in the IT purchasing sector, higher ed institutions learned very quickly that being 508 compliant was a key component to being successful in any bid that involved government funding of any kind.
Our Ongoing Commitment to 508 Compliance
At Education Management Solutions, we’re committed to making sure our products our accessible to all of your faculty, administrators, and students. We’ve put in the work to not only make MEDIASHAREiQ a best-in-class enterprise video platform, but to make sure anyone who wants to learn has the same tools available to them as everyone else.