There are common challenges and solutions within 508 compliances I will address in this blog. Many businesses and individuals are under the assumption that 508 compliances under the American with Disabilities Act cover only visual impairments via assistive readers, or captioning videos for hearing impairments. Those are, in fact, two major types of impairments that are encompassed. There are many types of impairments that inclusive design and assistive technology or applications can help with.
Impairments include numerous physical and psychological issues and are not always caused by a disastrous event such as a war injury, accident or catastrophic illness. Below, are a few challenges and possible ways they can be addressed via inclusive design and applications or assistive technology.
- Not only does an assistive reader help with blindness, but 508 compliances also help with low vision and colorblindness by providing specifications for color contrast, font sizes, and illustrations (via alternative text). Even if an individual is not considered legally blind, but perhaps just part of an aging population, an assistive reader can be helpful with conditions like cataracts, or macular degeneration.
- Profound deafness is quite obviously a disability that captioning and auditory descriptions and transcripts can address. Assistive technology can also help with hard-of-hearing impairments by providing volume control via computer speaker, without having to wear a hearing aid constantly.
Flexibility, Fine Motor Control and Manual Dexterity:
- Impairments are addressed by providing keyboard controls versus utilizing a mouse. For an individual with arthritis for example, depressing an arrow key is easier than gripping a computer mouse.
- These are addressed by removing flashing elements and or slowing the speed with which some information is presented. Utilizing color contrast tools can also help with this issue and with photosensitivity.
Cognitive or Intellectual Impairments:
- These types of impairments can include memory, reading, mathematical comprehension, attention deficit, impaired learning, dyslexia, language barriers and the autism spectrum. Addressing these types of impairments is imperative for educational websites. These can be addressed by providing intuitive software, marker highlights, and a simplified interface when utilizing inclusive design together with other techniques, such as providing transcriptions or captioning. When addressing these types of impairments remember: keeping it simple is always best!
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