The rehabilitation act of 1973 was passed in the United States to ensure that people with physical disabilities were given equal access to the workspace. In 1988 the act was amended suitably to accommodate the information technology sphere that made it mandatory for sites put up with federal funds to be user-friendly to people with disabilities. It was a natural progression in a series of steps to ensure greater worker participation in daily routines and an effort to ensure that people of various disabilities were not discriminated against.
The practical advantages of 508 compliance
No doubt, the implementation of section 508 did bring a number of commitments to the companies and firms, it did also bring out a lot of advantages to those sites compliant to the new norms.
Better SEO: With the need to be compliant of section 508, it became imperative to pay particular attention to the optimization of the sites. Thus a lot of steps that did not cut muster with webmasters due to various constraints had to be included in the future offerings. This improved the organic results over time tremendously. It was not that people were not aware of these issues but mostly that they were not willing to make the additional investment or that they were not too sure of the end results.
Wider reach: By having websites made to section 508, it soon introduced the sites to an audience who would not have normally been able to access them. It thus improved on the number of hits and people coming to a particular site. In the long run, the amendment brought to focus on a lot of issues that the disabled or the disadvantaged people of society faced in their day to day existence. It would have been otherwise confined to being swept under the carpet.
Employability: The amendments to the disabilities act brought to the fore issues faced when infirmed people tried to enter the workforce. It thus pushed a marginalized part of society to the mainstream as has been ably demonstrated. With the increasing use of information technology to all spheres of life, it soon came to pass that a lot more of the disadvantaged sections of society were rendered employable.
Diversity: Section 508 brought to fore the diversity of society to the workforce most of the time. It exposed the workers to issues that were not very apparent during ordinary times and this was an introducer to the mainstream workforce. In many ways the passing of the amendments brought to sharp focus issues of equality and a level playing field that all human beings considered as part of being a society.
The passing of the 508 amendments in 2013 was just a start to integrating the disadvantageous people to mainstream activities and particularly the use of information technology. It does not purport to be the end of discrimination and of being disadvantaged, but a corrective step that would do a lot of good to some folks over time.