Importance of New Media Accessibility

Benefits of Compliance

Section508.gov and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 govern access to Federal websites. According to the law, Federal agencies must ensure technology is accessible when agencies create and disseminate information through electronic technology (United States Access Board, n.d.).  The Kentucky’s Office for the Americans with Disabilities Act indicates in the United States, 58 million people are living with disabilities but “only 39.3% of all working age Americans with disabilities were participating in the work force” (Kentucky’s Office for the Americans with Disabilities Act, n.d.). Section508.gov is necessary for empowering and providing opportunity for people with disabilities. Federal agencies must comply with anti-discriminatory laws for websites so that individuals who are either Federal employees or members of the public, “access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities” (United States Access Board, n.d., para. 4).

Ensuring Organizational and Website Compliance with Section 508

United States Access Board (n.d.) identifies multiple components for constructing accessible technology in the Federal Government. Equipment for transmission of data and electronic information should be accessible through physical locations or if unavailable, purchased by the Federal government to ensure accessibility. Software and peripheral devices should be installed for people with disabilities. Technical assistance should be available to people working in Federal departments. Telecommunications devices must be disability accessible so Section 255 of the Communications Act instructs manufacturers to develop products that are usable by disabled people (United States Access Board, n.d.). Compliance with the law includes providing the public with the ability to acquire wired and wireless devices, computers and computer components, and internal organizational equipment. By providing the public access to telecommunication devices such as computers, phones, and customer service within an organization, website owners are empowering disabled people.

Final Thoughts

The legal requirements of accessibility are outlined for websites but as new media evolves, problems arise. The extraordinarily successful app PokemonGo that was released in July 2016 has proven to be problematic for people with disabilities.

The game is appealing to virtually everyone, but it’s simply not accessible for some players. Pokémon Go is limiting for people with physical disabilities, and the physical requirements needed to play the game—like moving around the environment to collect Pokémon, and walking a certain distance to hatch eggs—make it hard or impossible for some people to play (Larson, 2016, para. 2).

Accessibility is an important component for new media because inclusion is what creates a global community.

References

Kentucky’s Office for the Americans with Disabilities Act. (n.d.). ADA General Information. Retrieved from http://ada.ky.gov/why_important.htm

Larson, D. (2016, July 12). How Pokémon Go is creating a barrier for gamers with disabilities. Daily Dot. Retrieved from http://www.dailydot.com/debug/pokemon-go-disabilities-problematic/

United States Access Board. (n.d.). About the Telecommunications Act Section 255 Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-telecommunications-act-guidelines

United States Access Board. (n.d.). Section 508: The Law. Retrieved from https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/background/section-508-the-law

 

 

 

 

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