Is your organization aware of accessibility/508 requirements?

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual’s ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. It is recommended that you review the laws and regulations listed below to further your understanding about Section 508 and how you can support implementation.

So, for employees who have some degree of special needs, certain accommodations need to be designed into the product. A few examples are sticky keys, screen readers and providing feedback not solely based on color perception. As the baby boom population continues to age, the percentage of users with some level of special needs is increasing.

Disability does not just mean those who are blind or deaf. Among other things it also covers folks that may be hard of hearing, those that are color blind, are unable to use their mouse, or speak clearly, or need things to be magnified, etc.

  1. How crucial is it for your company to buy products that meet accessibility/508 requirements?
  2. How important is it that the Citrix suite of products you use meet accessibility/508 requirements?
  3. Which products do you believe must meet accessibility/508 requirements?
  4. Do you have administrators or end users who are keyboard centric, that is they prefer to use keyboard (shortcuts, access keys) to interact with the software vs. mouse?
  5. Do you have users who have difficulty using the mouse due to some physical limitations?
  6. Do you have users who are color blind?
  7. Do you have users who are visually impaired and often use some sort of a magnifier application to see the things on the screen?
  8. Do you have users who are legally blind and use a screen reader such as JAWS?

I look forward to your comments and a very engaging discussion.

Bhagirath Thaker
Usability Design and Evaluation