The U.S. Congress enacted "Section 508" to eliminate barriers in technology, create new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage the development of resources to help achieve those goals. The law applies to all federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, the criteria for web-based resources are based on Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
It is essential that "the Web" be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. In fact, the United Nations recognizes access to information and communications technologies--including the Web--as a basic human right. Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as older people and people in rural areas. It is a must for developers and organizations that want to create high quality websites that do not exclude valuable prospects from using their products and services.
There is a strong business case for accessibility: Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization. Accessible websites offer better search results, reduced maintenance costs, increased audience reach and many other advantages. Let us tell you more about the social, technical, legal and financial benefits of web accessibility: