"The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
— Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
Access to information and communications technologies, including the web, is defined as a basic human right in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As part of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, accessibility is required by law for institutions, including EVMS, that receive funding from federal agencies, including the Department of Education.
An accessible website is developed so that people with disabilities can use it, according to the World Wide Web Consortium. This means that people with diverse abilities must be able to understand, navigate and interact with the web.
All EVMS departments are responsible for the accessibility of EVMS' website. It is vital that our website be accessible to everyone in order to provide equal access to everyone.
What is accessibility?
"Web accessibility basically means that people with disabilities can use your website. Most specifically, web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the web," according to the authors of "Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance."
What does the law say?
Section 508 is the portion of the law (part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) that covers web accessibility for federally funded programs and services. It encompasses electronic and information technology, including the internet, as stated by the United States Access Board.
The Department of Education, in its accessibility statement, defines Section 508 as "a federal law that requires agencies to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to electronic information and data comparable to those who do not have disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency."
According to the United States Access Board's information and communication technology standards, Section 508 standards are intended to "ensure accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities. Compliance with these standards is mandatory for federal agencies." Any entity that is funded by a federal agency, such as the Department of Education, is subject to Section 508.