Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, is the official standard for accessibility. The Federal IT Accessibility Initiative's (FITAI) section 508 Homepage links to all Federal Government activity that supports Section 508 implementation. It's an interagency effort: coordinated by General Services Administration (GSA), the Access Board, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Social Security Administration.
One link you can get to from the Section 508 site (under RESOURCES & LINKS) is a FAQ sheet at www.access-board.gov. I highly recommend reading though it.
The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) pages can be arrived at from the AWARE Center pages, but here's a direct link to help you out.
Wondering if your site's pages meet accessibility standards? Once your pages are posted on the web, you can check. It's easy and its free. Just jump to the the Bobby web site <www.cast.org/bobby/>, enter your URL, then read the detailed report. What if you don't pass. No problem. There's no penalty and with GoLive it's easy to make the recommended changes, upload them, then try again. You need to do each page in order to get approval for your entire site.
For a taste of how blind people read your site, hear an audio comparison of inaccessible and accessible Web pages, by Human Factors International. The MP3 file of the inaccessible page may shock you. While you're at this site, take a look around; there's more good stuff there too.
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©2000, Deborah Shadovitz, www.golivebible.com