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Common Mistakes in 508 Compliance and How to Avoid Them

February 14, 2024

508 compliance best practice sheet

While the concept of 508 Compliance is simple enough – make information accessible to all individuals – the reality is that things often get missed. Digital accessibility and inclusive design is the goal, but it can be easy to overlook certain aspects. Here we will go over the most common mistakes in 508 Compliance and how you can avoid them.

Missing Alt-Text Creates Access Barrier

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we tend to agree. While a thousand might be excessive, it is worth taking the time to include text with your photos. A common mistake when putting together a website or digital document is failing to add alt-text to your images. Photos and illustrations are a typical component to many electronic resources, but for those who are vision-impaired, important context can be missed. To avoid this, alternative text should be assigned to each image that features important information. The text should be detailed, informative and to the point. On the other side of that, you should avoid alt-text on images that are placed simply for aesthetic purposes.

Lack of Contract Equals Lack Of Accessibility

While certain aspects may look appealing at first glance, one of the most common Section 508 compliance fails comes from issues surrounding color and more specifically, contrast. Pairing a lighter font color on top of a white background makes reading the information much more difficult, and for some, impossible. The more contrast between text color and the surrounding background color, the better!

Let’s Hear It For Subtitles

The use of video content is more popular than ever. Creating a video to pair with your website is a great way to present information – as long as you remember to make it accessible. Providing accurate captions and transcripts will encourage more views, ensuring it is suitable for those who have difficulty hearing or who may want to watch with the volume off.

The Link To Nothing

Most websites include links that indicate “click here,” “learn more,” and so on, but fail to give additional context. When someone is using accessibility tools to comb a website for information, they would only hear those words spoken instead of an indication of what clicking the link would actually provide. Labeling links with more specific details of where it leads alleviates confusion for all, and will lead to a higher likelihood of the link being clicked.

Accessibility For One, Accessibility for All

Disabilities can come in many forms, but thankfully 508 Compliance Guidelines exist to help create a better digital experience for all. A common mishap is failing to recognize what specific needs some might require. Take all disabilities into consideration when planning your website or content. This could include making sure your website is able to be navigated via keyboard only, items are properly tagged, and you are conscious of sensory-sensitivities.

Creating a 508-compliant website or other electronic federal communication doesn’t have to be difficult. However, there are many aspects to consider and keep in mind, including these very common mistakes. Companies like FedWriters can collaborate with you to ensure your information is accessible across the board. To learn more about how FedWriters can assist in helping you meet required compliance guidelines, please contact us here.