Benefits of Section 508 Compliance
Many benefits can be derived from developing Section 508 compliant products. One of the biggest advantages is that the U.S. government purchases well over $100 billion in E&IT every year, and companies that deliver 508 compliant products can participate in selling products to the U.S. government. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2005 alone, the U.S. government awarded over $67 billion in E&IT-related prime contracts!
Additional benefits of producing 508 compliant products include the ability to deliver products that are more accessible, usable, and useful for an increased number of consumers in addition to consumers with disabilities. The E&IT access needs of consumers living in big emerging markets vary greatly from that of the United States and are surprisingly similar to the access needs of people with disabilities. These important consumer groups include
Users who speak English as a second language (ESL);
People living in countries where bandwidth is low;
People 65+ years of age;
Individuals who never learned to read;
People living in societies that speak many languages; and,
Consumers living in countries where the average population density is high.
An additional source of information about benefits of accessible web design is the World Wide Web Consortium's paper entitled "Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization".
The Downside of Not Complying with Section 508
Developers of E&IT products that are not Section 508 compliant run the risk of being negatively impacted in the following ways:
Loss of U.S. government business;
Loss of competitive advantage;
Loss of potential revenue and customers; and,