GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

But what if no one in my office has a disability?

Recently we received a comment that asked if software being developed had to be Section 508 conformant because no one in the organization had a disability. The answer is, "Yes, you still have to consider Section 508!" Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It's the Law! The law states: "When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using information and communication technology (ICT), each Federal department or agency..., shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that the information and communication technology allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology." This provides incentives for ICT vendors and government technical staff to make accessibility part of their normal operations.
  2. It is important to make sure that your workplace is open. You don't know who will be working in your organization in the future and whether they will need to be accommodated.
  3. Sometimes there are hidden disabilities. For example, you may have a coworker whose is color blind or may need to use magnification software.
  4. Section 508 also applies to access for individuals in the public seeking information or services from the Federal Government. For example, if your software or website is public facing, the people with disabilities will need equal access to information, the same need as the people without disabilities.
  5. Your organization could get an administrative complaint or civil suit filed against them for non-compliance.

If you need more help determining how to interpret Section 508, you can contact your Agency's Section 508 Coordinator or ask a question through this blog's comments or on our contact page.