Georgia Tech Research Institute

Can Section 508 obligations for an inaccessible web site be met by providing a phone number to call or another substitute means of interaction?

Using the phone or other means as a work-around for an inaccessible web site is an accommodation, and does not satisfy Section 508. The forms of access need to be comparable in terms of the information they provide as well as the availability of the services. For example, web sites are generally available 24 hours a day and provide instantaneous information. Telephone services, however, are typically restricted to certain hours of the day, and often involve mailing a packet of information to the inquirer, which takes much longer than web access. Thus, if the federal government is a customer, the customer service features of the company's website should adhere to the Section 508 standards.