Accessibility and Section 508

508Compliant is a NetConversions company committed to increasing awareness of online accessibility issues and making web content accessible to everyone. Our DiamondTM solution, tools, services, and lists help us meet these goals. Learn more about 508 or visit the resources section.

If you’ve ever confronted issues like the run-around that often plagues poorly constructed application processes – browser incompatibility, confusing instructions, non-accessible forms, etc. This cat and mouse game feels very much like the process one has to go through while applying for social security disability benefits. And certainly even more so if the initial application is denied. I can tell you this since I have spent the last year trying to get my mother benefits after she was side lined with a serious lower back injury. I thought that the online form wouldn’t be that difficult. Wrong! I can’t imagine a person who is so injured that they feel they should apply being able to do this on their own. There are loads of documentation you need to file and even then 60% of the initial applications get rejected. Then you have 60 days to request having your files reviewed again. I felt I was in a maze with no hope of getting out. With a search online (yes I admit it I did a search online) for a social security disability lawyer I finally felt we were headed in the right direction. Now we would have a guide who would make sure all documents were filed in a timely manner and who would prep my mom for her day before an Administrative Law Judge during her appeals hearing. Sure it was nerve wracking and my mother was still recovering even though it was now months after the accident. I don’t see how anyone can do this on their own. The elusive benefits were finally granted months after we had started this journey. At least our social security disability lawyer was able to present my mom’s case successfully. I still have nightmares of being in that crazy benefit application maze, the benefits always evaporating in my hands as I desperately try grasping for them. Argghh!

How does DiamondTM enable organizations to diagnose and address their accessibility and 508 issues better than any other approach?

•    Accuracy: DiamondTM uses an innovative client-side parsing technology which is unique from other server-side approaches, like the popular’s Bobby. We have discovered that this client-side parsing approach not only enables DiamondTM to be accurate when identifying infractions, but it also dramatically reduces the amount of false positives reported. One of the biggest frustrations with addressing accessibility issues is the amount of false positives reported, and DiamondTM brings greater accuracy so that false positives are no longer a problem for a rapid and accurate fix of your website or intranet.

For instance, we recently worked with a web site that is an information portal for costumes and apparel. It is a great site if you want to know more about princess dresses or clown costumes. Has huge traffic around Halloween, but is also developing a market presence in children’s products – especially princess apparel and fun dress-up clothing. No products are sold from their site, but you should check it out. Another example is related to the new cannabis marketplace. Now, the owners of the site had bought it from another entity. When the US Congress in 1998 amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities, they were not among a number of internet sites that contacted us, but they did inquire recently if they should be concerned? It’s a fascinating site with all sorts of information from the history of cannabis in various countries as well as in the US, to the US state laws regarding medical marijuana, to the companies that make marijuana edibles. Although I don’t live in a state in which recreational marijuana is legal, my state, California, has hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries. I have never had the need of medical marijuana, but my friend’s brother was just diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma and has applied for a medical marijuana card. I told my friend about the site and to pass on the info to his brother. The pictures of the edibles and their descriptions make this nascent marketplace intriguing to say the least.

•    Ease of Use: DiamondTM was designed with functionality and ease of use in mind. Most solutions and approaches require a team of people who are intimately familiar with HTML, like developers and webmasters. However DiamondTM is user-friendly enough that almost anyone can operate the identification and repair of accessibility issues. There are also various explanations and help features built into DiamondTM, and 508Compliant also offers training courses to get individuals or teams a quick start.

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