Social Media and 508 compliance.

Gov Loop user Stephen Luke asked a good question if NING was 508 compliant. The article by Andrew Soderberg seemed to sum it up best with “508 is a minimum requirement, why not go the extra mile.” Source:

As a frame of reference remember blind programmers and web surfers do not have monitors – just a keyboard and mouse. Just a keyboard, mouse and little box they stick one hand into to read the screen. Please put everything in text as if pictures could not because. Yea Kinda freaks me out how you can program without a screen or monitor.

Demything 508 – use the keyboard and text only. Simple? For those who forgot WordStar or “life before the mouse” Ancient (1970’s) IT wisdom says “One can live by keyboard alone. Keep it simple. Use function keys – that is what they where built for. Stay on the home row to explore the world within as the internet fills the mind and heart – not the house”

Can video be 508 compliant? Yes. We call them pod casts. Imagine your video as a pod cast where people can not see charts. Then convert the podcast to text. The non 508 folks will thank you. Having the text makes searching a video easier for us regular folk.

508 on wikipedia

Is 508 difficult – not complicated, just details. Note: some web software is easier to use than others. Hint: look for software that ensures the text that is tied to a pictures will always follow the picture regardless of browser used – IE, Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc. The hardest part may be the navigation.

Is there help? You can get volunteers to test your site. Check with your local deaf or blind organization for interns and volunteers for feed back. Just give the volunteer some recognition.

Is it good to do? Let me answer with a question: “Why should people who bought their own computer, internet connection come to your website for help be kept out??” 508 is not incase there are blind folks. 508 is to help open the world for all because there are many who need it. (sorry, stepping off my soap box and away from the keyboard 😉 LoL

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David Harrity

Great article. Allen, do you know if any agency has conducted Section 508 accessibility checking on popular commerical social networking sites such as GovLoop 🙂 , Twitter, Facebook, delicious, etc.? I would be curious about the baseline websites themselves as I understand that a video’s accessibility is often dependent on who uploads to ensure a text equivalent is provided.

Kathy Bowman

Absolutely. One thing I’m running into is no captioning on the videos and podcasts.

It’s free (FedRelay can provide live captioning) and inclusionary and… required.

If there IS captioning — I can’t figure out how to turn it on. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. meanwhile, I’ll ask the Target Center for some advice. Always learning.