Section 508 Compliance – We practice what we preach

February 1, 2021

Aveshka launched its redesigned website to improve aesthetics and ensure all visitors can easily and efficiently learn about Aveshka. The major objective was to simplify website content and make it accessible to everyone. This includes Section 508 compliance.

Aveshka’s team of 508 experts supports a three-year, $6.3 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) OCIO, Office of Enterprise Services.  HHS takes a major step in evolving 508 compliance into a more proactive approach to meet governance. Aveshka’s dedicated support helps HHS meet and improve Section 508 compliance.

“At Aveshka, we practice what we preach,” said Kimberly Purlia, Vice President, Growth. “We fully understand the complexities surrounding technologies and applications and how these can impact compliance and governance standards. For this reason, we leveraged the expertise of our own 508 experts in our website redesign.”

Aveshka’s 508 team uses an agile methodology in its 508 support for HHS OCIO OES. This approach is applicable for any type of 508 project or task. Therefore, they employed the exact same approach for Aveshka’s website redesign process. The team worked closely with all parties to include Aveshka’s Communications and Marketing team and web developer, NG Media, throughout the course of the project.

“I’ve seen a very common error where customers in the federal space delayed performing 508 testing. As a result, it creates a tremendous amount of stress on the project’s resources and timelines,” said Aveshka’s Section 508 Task Lead, Sean Yein. “Late testing has various impacts on issues ranging from resolving defects to experiencing pressure from dependent teams. Furthermore, I’ve seen customers solely focus on the visually impaired criteria only to realize late in the game that there is actually a very wide range of disabilities to account for in achieving 508 compliance.”

Aveshka’s methodology successfully avoids those potential challenges for its customers. To efficiently ensure the highest Section 508 compliance standards for our customers, Aveshka’s team operates under the following principles:

Coaching standards over logging defects:
  • Provide coaching and adoption of the latest accessibility–To include WCAG and Section 508 standards
  • Employ understanding of potential 508 variations of Agency standards across different federal agencies
Provide design solutions over demanding remediation results:
  • Work with developers to determine solutions that best meet 508 standards without sacrificing elements of user experience and aesthetic for standard users
Holistic coverage of all disabilities (physical and cognitive) over specific disabilities:
  • Consider all layers and complexity of 508 compliance.  In doing so, Aveshka provides full coverage of testing for all types of disabilities and ensures accessible content for everyone

These principles enable efficiency when ensuring 508 compliance for a project or task. In addition, they simultaneously employ process improvements that feature significant cost reduction for our customers. Remediating 508 defects when in production requires the daunting task of going back to the beginning of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). As a result, customers must allocate significant resources and manpower to remediate and at times, at the eleventh hour. Aveshka realized that early testing within the development life cycle avoids timeline delays for the customer and significantly reduces costs.

Lastly, upon a 508 project or task’s completion with Aveshka, customers walk away with a better understanding of accessibility as a practice. Aveshka seeks to empower their customers and arm them with a working knowledge of 508 compliance. Getting customers to become a little “508 savvy” renders them as more self-sufficient content owners that can better ensure their sites and/or applications are truly 508 compliant.

See: Section 508 “101” – Are you compliant?

By Carissa Nee, Director of Communications and Marketing