Accessibility 101

December 19, 2016
Posted in News
December 19, 2016 Ripple Effect

The Facts…

  • Worldwide 750 million people have a disability.
  • 21% of Americans currently have a disability.
  • 180 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired.
  • More than 4 in 10 Americans with a disability are online.
  • They report more positive feelings about the Internet than non-disabled users of the Internet.
  • Their total annual discretionary income is $175 billion.

Accessibility vs. Usability

What’s the difference?

  • Accessibility = ACCESS to information and services
  • Usability = Ease of use

Ideally, the two would be combined.

Why is this important to government?

Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act is a statute that applies to federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.

How can you check if your website is accessible?


  • AccVerify
  • HiSoft
  • Bobby (Watchfire)

Strengths – Faster than “human” verification, thorough

Weaknesses – Reports can be difficult to read, each software evaluates accessibility slightly differently, reports require visual verification


  • Section 508 savvy staff
  • Attention to potential problem areas and issues

Strengths – Able to make relevant decisions to fix issues

Weakness – “Only human”

What are common accessibility errors in websites?

  • Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents not “alt” tagged
  • Tables missing header row (<th>)
  • Web site template missing the “skip to main content” tag

Why build “accessible”?

  • It’s a government mandate for federal sites.
  • It’s good business.
  • Improving accessibility improves usability for all users.
  • Morally, it’s the right thing to do.


Work Smarter. Perform Better.®

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Rockville, MD 20850