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Lesson 7. Accessibility and Testing > Generate Section 508–Compliant Code

Generate Section 508–Compliant Code

Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires Federal agencies to account for the needs of people with disabilities when developing, procuring, maintaining, or otherwise using electronic and information technology. The goal is to ensure that all users have an equal opportunity to access the content made available through technology such as the Internet. Section 508 defines the standards that are necessary in order for those who have disabilities to be provided with comparable information and services as that which is available to non-disabled users. While Section 508 is not enforced upon the private sector, it is important for all Web sites to adhere to the practice of creating compliant code wherever possible for many reasons. Disabilities ranging from poor or failing eyesight to color blindness or even total blindness affect a significant portion of the population—and therefore, your audience.

One solution would be to create an alternative, text-only page for every page of content on your site. While this would provide appropriate and functional pages that can be specifically tailored to the needs of the disabled, this solution may not be feasible or even necessary for every site (particularly given issues of the kinds of content and services offered, the amount of space available, time and resources needed to create additional pages, and increased requirements for site maintenance). There are a number of solutions you can work into your pages without creating a duplicate site and with no visual impact on your page designs. Dreamweaver provides you with an easy way to incorporate such solutions to create Section 508–compliant Web pages through the use of elements in the code such as <alt> tags, descriptions, and summaries. You've already used two of these objects: You inserted an accessible image in Lesson 2, and you inserted an accessible table in Lesson 4. You can also insert Form objects, Frame objects, and Media objects with accessibility attributes. To turn these accessibility options on or off, choose Edit > Preferences and select Accessibility from the list of categories. You will work with forms in Lesson 11 and frames in Lesson 10.


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