Ensuring IT Accessibility
Ensuring IT accessibility
Developers can ensure their work is accessible and 508-compliant by doing the following three things:
1. Using common sense
As you're developing software or a Website, the common sense rule is that, if it's not generally easy to use, it's likely not accessible. Simple elements such as ensuring that fonts are not too small and that the design is not overly complicated will help to improve the accessibility of your application or Website.
2. Leveraging automated tools
Readily available tools can test for the absence of required elements and attributes and determine whether Websites are well-formed and will work with automated devices. There are some free automated tools available such as Firefox Accessibility Extensions. Jim Thatcher's online book chapter, Accessibility Checking Software, is a good resource for information on six commercially available Web accessibility testing tools (including WebKing from Parasoft and WebXM from Watchfire).
3. Creating and following checklists
Research the regulations and requirements, and then create a list of the accessibility features your software or Website needs to include. For example, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG are a series of Web-related documents that are part of a larger set of accessibility guidelines. While the WCAG are not intended to cover every aspect of each disability, they do cover broad topics and give developers and Website designers a launching pad from which to create applications.