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How to Complete Section 508 Compliance Testing

written by: Summer Banks•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/13/2009

Section 508 refers to the government mandate relating to the accessibility of a website by people with disabilities. In order to be considered section 508 compliant, the web designer will need to complete section 508 compliance testing.

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    Does your website follow 508 compliance guidelines? Do you have any idea how to create a website that complies with the section 508 guidelines? These are questions the web designer will need to answer before attempting to obtain the federal seal of approval regarding the ability of the visitor with a disability to effectively maneuver a website.

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    Section 508 Compliance Testing Platforms

    There are several ways to complete section 508 compliance testing for your new or current website. Two of these testing methods include using section 508 compliance testing software and human testing protocols.

    The most popular 508 compliance testing software programs are the 508 Wizard and InFocus. The 508 Wizard claims to test for all paragraphs under the Section 1194.21. This section is the source of all compliance testing for websites both personal and professional. The 508 Wizard comes in three versions for 508 compliance testing - Visual Basic, Java and C++.

    Another software suite for 508 compliance testing is InFocus. InFocus requires extensive in person training to maintain what they refer to as their AMP (Accessibility Management Platform). The program price, as published on the Internet, is $1795.

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    Live 508 Compliance Testing

    Live 508 compliance testing, with humans interacting with your website, is a bit more tedious, but provides a more reliable result. There are four steps to completing live 508 compliance testing. These steps are plan development, focus group choice, live 508 compliance testing and documentation.

    The plan development for the live 508 compliance testing is crucial to the success of the test and the eventual passing of the 508 compliance test. The plan needs to include questions covering all aspects of section 508.

    Once the plan is complete, the focus group will need to be chosen for the live 508 compliance testing. The focus group should contain people with disabilities whenever possible.

    The live 508 compliance testing will take place for a given length of time. This length of time will depend on the size of the focus group and the size of the website.

    After the completion of the live 508 compliance testing, the results of the test will need to be gathered and reported to the owner of the website, or the business having the website built. If there are problems with the website in regards to 508 compliance, changes to the website will need to be made before the website will pass 508 compliance testing.