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Template Developer's Guide to Section 508 Compliance: Internet Handicapped Accessibility

A paper to assist Estrada template designers to create templates that comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 established standards for electronic and information technology


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Introduction to Section 508 Accessibility Standards


Estrada provides proactive, efficient Web site management resources to help clients achieve 508 accessibility compliance. By designing and programming the template for your Estrada site correctly, you can take steps in advance to help ensure that pages in your web site meet accessibility standards. In this manner, web authors can simply create content without having to worry about 508 compliance because a correctly designed Estrada template can significantly reduce non-compliant code violations.


Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998
established standards for electronic and information technology so that individuals with disabilities can use them. All U.S. federal agencies must bring their web sites and other electronic information into compliance with Section 508 by June 21, 2001.


Achieving 508 Compliance through Estrada Templates


The following guidelines outline the steps for developing a template that meets all 16 points of Section 508:


a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

When designing templates, make sure that all graphics in the template also include "alt" tags to provide a description of the image for visually impaired visitors to your web site. Try to avoid the use of image maps and large, elaborate graphics that present information that could be conveyed textually.

As a template designer, you don't have to worry about "alt" tags for the images inside of the content because Estrada will take care of them automatically. Since all content graphics are stored in the media library, whenever a graphic is displayed on the site, Estrada provides the appropriate "alt" or "longdesc" tag to accompany the image.


(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

As a template designer, you shouldn't be worried about this point because Estrada takes care of this at the content authoring stage. Estrada requires authors to provide a plain-text description for all multimedia material items when adding it to the media library, so that an alternative is always provided.


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