What is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act?

BY: CARLOS FELICIANO-MISLA

When a corporation creates an Internet portal, it must comply with certain features that are part of Section 508. To complete the compliance process, corporate portals must provide access to information by all individuals, regardless of disabilities. In the United States, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d) requires that federal agencies’ portals meet the needs of persons with disabilities when are informed. Among the requirements to be taken into consideration when creating these portals are the exclusion of tables and the correct description of the different images that are used so that the system used by the user can read them correctly. Government agencies, federal nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and schools must meet these requirements. In the same way, some companies voluntarily decide to be part of the compliance to give access to its portal.

To be in compliance, agencies must consider the various areas of their portal and how to make them accessible to all people. A good alternative is to check the needs of people with disabilities and how they navigate cyberspace. Likewise, there are tools such as Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) that help determine the accessibility of the product or service.

Puerto Rico also has it’s access law

In the case of Puerto Rico, Law 229, “Law to Guarantee Access to Information for Persons with Disabilities“, requires that when communicating a message, the virtually a corporate portal facilitates access. According to the law, persons with disabilities have the right to have full access to information and to make use of the services offered by the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico through the electronic pages of state entities. The Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico adopts a public policy to ensure that all public bodies, corporations and public instrumentalities of the State comply with the purposes established by this Act.

We have designed a checklist to guide you through the process to successfully complete your project.

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