Re: Section 508

Subject: Re: Section 508
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 07:31:05 -0700 (PDT)

--- Tothscribe -at- aol -dot- com wrote:
> I'm pulling together justifications for taking Section 508 training on the
> company's tab. For the web part of my work, it's an easy sell - "508's the
> law. You don't have any 508 experts on the web development staff."

I believe that Section 508 is only Federal Government regulation and only
applies to Federal web sites. Now, since 508 is, essentially W3C's Web
Accessibility Initiative, I think it's a good thing, and I'm glad to see
somebody is offering training, and I think people learning how to develop
web-based information that will be generally accessible should take it.

But it's not The Law in the sense that you will be fined or imprisoned if you
don't comply. (I don't know what, if anything, happens to a Federal web
developer found not in compliance.)

> But I'm a little unsure how to claim accessibility also impacts the classic
> technical writing (read: writing documentation) side of my job.
>
> So the general question is, how have accessibility issues and/or Section 508
> impacted you? Are there any sweeping statements I can make about
> accessibility and technical writing to defend my request to get the
> EASI/University of Southern Maine certificate?

Personally, I don't think web site development that is in compliance with
Section 508 will make you a better writer or a better TW. HOWEVER, I do seem to
recall that WAI includes requirements that information be developed using the
clearest, simplest language possible.

Point your browser at http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ and nose around a
bit. Any writer worth his or her pay ought to be able to come up with a
paragraph of B.S. to justify it. :-)

=====
Tom Murrell
Lead Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page - http://home.columbus.rr.com/murrell/
Page Last Updated 07/15/01

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References:
Section 508: From: Tothscribe

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