Why Section 508 Testing is Important

DJ Bragg  

January 03, 2008

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Section 508 testing is important as it is necessary that a solid interpretation and understanding of the accessibility requirements be utilized to its optimal performance. These requirements need to be the basis for technical solutions, provide the platform for assistive technologies and offer proficient knowledge of how disabled people successfully manage information technology.

Section 508 must be read and understood thoroughly before testing can begin. It’s necessary to evaluate the website completely. Using multiple tools serve to complete the evaluations. In order to comply in full accordance with Section 508 the tester must know the differences in tools.The tester must be familiar with web development techniques and HTML codes. This is so that all errors can be found and fixed manually. Using a minimum of two testing products is adequate but the use of additional testing tools can provide better results. The goal is not only to enable Section 508 compliance but also make sure that that web content standards are maintained at maximum capacity in a regular, expeditious manner.

When testing what to look for:
Web Content Accessibility Standard

  1. Is there a text equivalent (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content) for every non-text element?
  2. For any multimedia presentations, are there equivalent alternatives and are they synchronized with the presentation?
  3. Are documents organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet?
  4. Are redundant text links provided for each active region of a server-side image map?
  5. Are client-side image maps provided, instead of server-side image maps (except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape)?
  6. Are row and column headers identified for data tables?
  7. Is markup used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers?
  8. Are frames titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation?
  9. Are pages designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz?
  10. Is a text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, provided? (This is to ensure that a web site complies when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way.)
  11. Is the content of the text-only page updated whenever the primary page changes?
  12. If the pages use scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, is the information provided by the script identified with functional text? Can the text that can be read by
    assistive technology?
  13. If a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, does the page provide a link to a plug-in or applet
  14. If electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, does the form allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues?
  15. Is a method provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links?
  16. If a timed response is required, is the user alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required?