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Did you know that some studies estimate that there may be as many as 500 million people in the world who suffer some kind of mental or sensory disability? That's 500 million people who may not have access to a company website if that website is not compliant with Section 508 and W3C standards. That's 500 million potential customers who may go somewhere else because they find a website that is compliant.
The organization that provides rules for the internet is known as the W3C. The W3C has proposed standards for making websites accessible to those who have disabilities. The United States government has something known as the Rehabilitation Act which forces Federal agencies to make all of their electronic and information technology accessible to those who have disabilities. This amendment is known as Section 508 and it set standards very similar to those provided by the W3C.
Both initiatives express the need for websites to provide for people who may be visually impaired. They indicate standards for websites to make them compatible with available screen readers. Screen readers are software that someone with a visual impairment can install on their computer that will then read the text on the screen either out loud or translate it into Braille displays. There are certain technical aspects of the website that must be put into place so that these readers can properly read the text in a way that makes any sense to the user.
This is the future of the World Wide Web. More standards governing the rules for accessibility should be expected by the W3C. As the internet becomes the standard repository for the world's information making that information accessible to everyone becomes more and more of a demand. It will get to the point where the websites that do not have the accessibility demanded by the W3C will become like a business that does not supply handicap accessible ramps, doors and bathrooms.
The smart companies are getting compliant now rather than waiting. hurriKane Solutions is already creating websites that are Accessible. Find out more by giving us a call at 312.285.0408.