Navigating Clients’ Compliance Requests
Welcome back to our blog series, The ABCs of 508 Compliance, where we share best tips and practices as they relate to document accessibility. In our last blog post, we explained what 508 compliance is and why it’s important. We also shared how anyone—regardless of knowledge or training—can support the accessibility process.
While all Federal agencies can agree that Section 508 is necessary, they often have different—and sometimes contradictory—interpretations of not only what rules need to be implemented but also how. Some agencies have rich resources with staff who certify each document’s accessibility before posting, while others rely on the good faith of its staff and contractors that the PDFs they prepare are accessible.
So, what happens when your organization is supporting multiple clients, all of whom have different understandings of 508 compliance and its requirements? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re meeting each of their specific needs while staying organized and keeping your staff informed.
Ask Your Client
In an ideal situation, agencies will provide accessibility guidance; however, many do not. In these cases, the best thing that you can do is communicate early and often with your client. Ask questions at the project’s onset. You’ll quickly learn their process and can suggest improvements during the early stages, helping facilitate compliance later on.
Check the Agency's Website
In addition to communicating with your client, conducting an Internet search of the agency is a great way to see if they have any 508-related resources posted online. You may find links to useful information that you can download and/or organize into your own personalized checklist.
Research Posted Publications
Searching through the agency’s recently posted PDFs is also a quick and easy way to see what standards they follow. If possible, search for PDFs created for your specific client. You may identify accessibility patterns within the documents, or you may find that there isn’t a consistent approach. Either way, this will provide you with valuable insight needed to proceed.
Create Your Own Checklists
Document, document, document! Creating tailored checklists for each client will help you manage their standards. When all else fails and you cannot find any standards, establish your own best practices. We suggest following the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) standards, which are the most stringent among Federal agencies and considered the gold standard for accessibility compliance. Maintaining your checklists on a live cloud-based platform, like SharePoint, will help your team (and clients!) stay abreast of the latest remediation standards as they evolve over time.
Need help remediating your documents?
MacroSys’s 508 specialists are passionate about compliance, having been formally trained in the latest Section 508, WCAG 2.0 and 2.1, U.S. Access Board, and HHS standards. Whether you need help creating 508 checklists or remediating documents, our experts are here to help. Please reach out to us via our website at www.macrosysrt.com; we’d love to hear from you.