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Database Accessibility

Accessibility Overview

Section 508

"On August 7, 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, which covers access to federally funded programs and services. The law strengthens section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires access to electronic and information technology provided by the Federal government. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Federal agencies must ensure that this technology is accessible to employees and members of the public with disabilities to the extent it does not pose an “undue burden.” Section 508 speaks to various means for disseminating information, including computers, software, and electronic office equipment. It applies to, but is not solely focused on, Federal pages on the Internet or the World Wide Web. It does not apply to web pages of private industry." -- Rehabilitation Act - Section 508

VPAT - Voluntary Product Accessibility Template

"A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) is a document that explains how information and communication technology (ICT) products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation meet (conform to) the Revised 508 Standards for IT accessibility." - section508.gov

Accessibility Statements

Accessibility statements are commonly provided by vendors that demonstrate their commitment to accessibility. They are written for users and tend to not have as much technical jargon. The downside is that they don't have required elements and may not be consistent between vendors.

Web Accessibility Initiative

"The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops standards and support materials to help you understand and implement accessibility." - w3.org

Important Considerations

Screen Readers

A screen reader is a tool that reads aloud the text on a screen. Screen readers can identify headings and links, read alternative text (alt text) for images, and even highlight text as it's being read aloud.

There are numerous mobile screen reader apps for both iOS and Android devices. For desktops and laptops, some good options are:

Resizing Text

According to WCAG 2.1, accessible text should be able to be resized up to 200% by users with mild visual impairments so that it can be read without assistive technology. They also note that images of text do not respond well to being resized because the text in the image often becomes pixelated; they recommend using regular text whenever possible.

Audio/Text to Speech

Many websites have built-in text to speech options where the content on the site can be read aloud. This feature is not only essential for people with visual impairments, but also useful for anyone who prefers to listen to the content instead.