I agreeto Idea Educate the developer community on Section 508
Voting is Disabled

26 votes

I disagree

Rank4

Idea#53

This idea is active.
Action Plan »

Educate the developer community on Section 508

In my experience interacting with developers - few have a knowledge of Section 508 and even less knowledge of the WCAG. With the WCAG 2.0 being such an intergral part of the Section 508 refresh, it is imperative that all web deveopers have solid knowledge of the WCAG 2.0 and program ground up for Section 508. A study reports that the cost of revision is estimated to be one to six times greater during development than during the design phase and sixty to hundred times greater after release.

Agencies should proactively send developers to section 508 training classes.

In my experience project achieved success with accessibility when developers were provided training with Assistive technologies like Jaws, Dragon and Zoom text.

That really helped them understand the difficulties AT users experience and they created access keys for an technology which was inherently inaccessible.

Education and awareness is the key.

Submitted by sujatha.balakumar 2 years ago

Vote Activity Show

(latest 20 votes)

Events

  1. The idea was posted
    2 years ago

Comments (9)

  1. I agree with the comments made here. Along those lines, there should be some investment in training. There are very few training opportunities around the country for developing accessible websites.

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  2. sujatha.balakumar Idea Submitter

    The webaim website and the access board website has plenty of resources and the WCAG 2.0.is also a great resource. There is lot of material out there.

    Developers should take Section 508 seriously and invest time in it

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  3. In addition to training, time and resources need to be added to the project plan to account for 508 compliance at the design, development, and testing phases.

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Absolutely. We accessibility advocates sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by claiming that accessibility is free. It's free in the sense that it's hard to attribute technical costs to it, but developing and maintaining expertise is very expensive. Managing the issue -- just keeping track of how it is being handled across a large and complex portfolio. And, as you mention -- testing.

      2 years ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  4. Got my vote, but consider that the best way to motivate may be through requiring projects to meet accessibility requirements before going to production. The best training is made better through the risk of personal/project jeopardy.

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Right -- training would take care of itself if enforcement were stronger.

      2 years ago
      1 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  5. The inclusion of knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as experience, in position descriptions and in contracts for contracted employees - as well as inclusion of 508 compliance and accessibility in performance plan - would also go a long way to better ensure that it's given the attention its due and requires.

    2 years ago
    2 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. I agree. I think this is why one of the suggested revisions to the Rehab Act is to formalize the roles, especially 508 Coordinators. If you build a role into a law, it has a better justification. It's a shame things have to work like that, but c'est la vie. Look at how CVAA did it: companies have to maintain records about how they addressed accessibility throughout their product development process. That's a job, right there.

      2 years ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. At the risk of beginning a whole new discussion here (possibly undesirable to some, or even taboo?) - I truly hope that your implication is that hiring managers need to begin to look more closely at and more strictly define the legal term "otherwise qualified" in writing when making hiring decisions. As one who uses screen reading software on a daily bases, has been a disabilities advocate since 1978 and AAT trainer since 1999, I have learned that the spectrum of ability and willingness to rise to challenge among persons with "disabilities" is as broad as that in those without.

      Mandating, regulating and enforcing product accessibility on the backs of commercial developers is only one side of the Section 508 revision coin. Meaningful, ongoing collaboration with assistive technology developers and service providers to impart real-world agency technological needs, and, turning the tables 180 degrees to have the Federal Government take the lead in driving the activities of the Vocational Rehabilitation system toward redefining the definition of "job ready candidate" to align with real-world business needs would go a long way toward convincing commercial developers that there is a real-world market for Universal Accessibility.

      We need to place the onus of employability and the development of marketable soft/technical job skills squarely back on the shoulders of persons with disabilities themselves and all of the systems which serve and support them in the 21st Century workforce. We need to be able to assess and measure candidates' abilities with accessible tools that will meet the individual needs of those candidates, and, we need to develop accessible in-house training and competent ILT for onboarding and advancing employees with disabilities equally to those employees without disabilities. We need to internalize that "the disabled" are not a special, privileged or delicate class; "we/they". We're all together in this. We all have "differing abilities", and ultimately, we will all work together in the same world; or not.

      Accessible commercial products and assistive technologies in their current state are not the end-all in this discussion. Just as a Rottweiler is only as responsible as his owner, technology, regardless the policies and mandates, is only as accessible as the abilities of its end-users.

      2 years ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed