Where are we on 508 compliance?

by David Lane

As a computer professional I take my sight for granted. Think about it, how much you rely on your eyes. How much of what we do is based on what is on the screen and where it is on the screen.

I am currently helping a branch of our Agency that is responsible for testing software and the ability to connect and use systems by those that are less than able. The group is working on the 508 compliance capabilities and I am constantly amazed at how much they can do and saddened by how much more they have to do. They have a sighted person with them today as we are working through the process of learning new software, despite the software “talking” to them.

If Linux is going to succeed, we need to make sure that 508 access compliance is not an afterthought, but is a core concept, like security, like building better software. Otherwise, a portion of our user base will be left out.

I am not familiar with software that is currently 508 compliant and would welcome your input. Perhaps we can get Linux Journal to add a section or part of one month’s edition to access issues. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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