Web Accessibility and Section 508 Support

Optimizing Websites for People with Disabilities

These numbers may surprise you, but according to data for the year 2014 approximately 20% of the US population has some form of disability.

20% of population have some sort of disability

Accessibility: Disability Types

Types of Disabilities

Disabilities come in various forms and here the ones that have the most effect on how people browse websites or interact with software in general.

  • Low Vision
  • Color Blindness
  • Hearing Loss
  • Limited Fine Motor Controls

To ensure that your website or web application is usable by everyone you are targeting with your content, keep these disabilities in mind and make sure any user can:

  • Consume Content
    For this purpose, they can use high contrast themes, Braille displays, audio narrators, text transcript for multimedia elements.
  • Navigate the Website and Input Data
    Support keyboard to navigate between pages and fill out forms.

Business Case for Accessibility - Benefits for All Users

Accessibility overlaps with other web development best practices, such as search engine optimization, responsive design, and others, giving you:

  • Better search results
  • Device independence
  • Better readability and easier navigation
  • Faster page downloads

In a nutshell, making accessibility design improvements to your website will benefit all users, thus greatly increasing your audience reach.

Accessibility - Wider Audience Reach

Accessibility Guidelines and Regulations

When you read about accessibility guidelines and regulations, you will come across a lot of acronyms and official names and regulation names such as WAI, WCAG, ARIA and Section 508. Let's take a quick look at what they all stand for and what are the connections between them.

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a part of The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), publishes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) which include guidelines for Accessbile Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). All these guidelines have a lot in common with the regulations imposed on software by national governments. In United States, the goverment-imposed standard is most commonly referred to as Section 508, and the full name is "Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998 (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d))". This set of regulations is a must-follow for all software companies developing software to be used by government agencies.

You can refer to the following resources to learn more about the mentioned W3C initiatives, guidelines and about Section 508.

Accessibility Compliance for DevExpress Controls and Libraries

DevExpress web controls (ASP.NET, MVC, and DevExtreme) comply both with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 (Level AA). To get more information related to the Section 508 conformance, please download the latest version of our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) PDF file.

How to Enable the Accessible Mode

Most DevExpress ASP.NET, MVC, and HTML5/JS controls are generally accessible without needing any specific accessibility mode. Some ASP.NET controls do provide the AccessibilityCompliant property to enable accessibility compliance at the control level. Similarly, accessibility for DevExpress ASP.NET controls can be enabled at the page level by modifying the web.config or global.asax files. For more information, see the following help topics in our online documentation: