TeamConnect maintains 508 compliance in part for our government clients, but the benefits extend far beyond that. 508 compliance meets TeamConnect users’ high standards of accessibility, making their working lives better and more productive. These standards, incorporated throughout the solution, ensure all team members have equal access to technology, thus establishing TeamConnect as the single source of truth for your legal team.
If you have worked extensively with or even developed software, there is still a good chance that 508 compliance is something you’ve never heard of. Or if you have, you might not know exactly what it is or why it’s important.
508 compliance is when software adheres to certain standards of accessibility that were first defined by the US government in 2000 and updated in 2015. These standards were created in response to a 1998 amendment of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, of which section 508 detailed accessibility requirements of government services. The United States Access Board provides more detail, “Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.”
While the standards can sometimes be very prescriptive, more often they are guidelines that are broad enough to accommodate any type of physical disability. For instance, one requirement is to accommodate various forms of visual impairment. This can include colorblindness (of which there are several forms), partial loss of vision, or complete blindness. To assist users with these conditions, software must be able to present screen elements like backgrounds, buttons, and text in different colors and sizes. For users without any vision, the screens must be designed in such a way that specialized screen reading software can navigate and describe to the user what is being displayed. Similarly, for users who cannot use a mouse, keyboard navigation may be a viable option.
The standards of section 508 shouldn’t be thought of as extra overhead or an onerous requirement. Providing a way for all users of a piece of software to enjoy a comparable experience goes beyond just meeting a potential legal requirement. It can also drive adoption and help clients capture more value. At its core, these are design standards that remove barriers for those who might otherwise not be able to use software. They are a democratizing force in technology with the goal of accessibility for everyone.
I would love to show you a demo of the new TeamConnect at LegalTech New York 2017. Please stop by our booth (#1995) for a live demonstration of TeamConnect, the back-to-back champion of LegalTech News Most Innovative Award. See you there!