It would be impossible to retool the overwhelming volume of information thats already available via electronic media for compliance with 508(b), so some sort of triage is needed for current content. Tools such as Hiawatha Island Software Co.s AccMonitor, SSB Technologies Inc.s InSight and InFocus, and the Center for Applied Special Technologys Bobby can provide that.
HISoftware, a company with roots in metadata management, now finds itself in the spotlight for its 508-related HTML tools, which scrutinize lines of code to help bring entire sites into compliance.
However, a far broader approach is needed to assure affordable, universal accessibility. To that end, HISoftwares just-announced strategic partner, WebAble Inc., also has an alliance with Reef S.A./N.V. WebAbles service taps Reef EveryWare, which is compatible with an organizations installed content management system, to perform a single "edit cycle" for a body of information; the objective is to divorce content from display.
Calls for information in any form are attended by tags specifying which output mode the user needs—standard HTML display on screen, screen reader, Braille display and so on.
Once content is rigorously modularized, it can be displayed on devices considered adaptive or "assistive"—and also on any sort of personal digital assistant, mobile device or desktop access point. Beyond accessibility for disabled users, distribution across diverse devices for the general public becomes easier and less expensive.
For organizations that are just starting to assess their approach to compliance with 508, The Access Board, a federally sponsored agency that provides information and technical assistance, is an excellent resource. The Access Board can be reached at (800) 772-2253 (voice), (800) 993-2822 (hearing impaired) or www.access-board.gov.