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The Rehabilitation Act’s Section 508 outlines accessibility regulations for federal bodies that include access to federal buildings and digital access. Section 508 is a federal law that places responsibility on federal departments and agencies to ensure electronic and information technology to permit individuals with disabilities to access and use all data. The level of use has to be comparable to the experience those without disabilities have to the same information. This means that we should offer systems to optimize access in respect of:-

  • Video and multimedia
  • Operating Systems
  • Websites
  • Software
  • Internet Applications

The preferred approach is to make systems accessible by design rather than offering alternatives, work-arounds or retrofitting; this approach is known as Universal Design.

Take a look at this short video: Make Technology Work for Everyone: introducing digital accessibility:

These Apple videos demonstrate how technology can open up opportunities for people with disabilities, when designed with accessibility in mind:

Microsoft also has done good work in accessibility. Their inclusive design toolkit is a wonderful resource, and their site has videos and activities to support inclusive design processes:

In terms of our TPG partner’s perspective on accessibility in culture and practice, their consultants wrote an article for ACM Interactions called Accessibility for Business and Pleasure. In it they outline their approach to building an accessibility program and moving toward ‘accessibility maturity’ within an organization. The article also contains three short case studies: