Section 508 site takes own advice

Section 508 site takes own advice

When it comes to complying with Section 508, the General Services Administration's Center for IT Accommodation is the standard bearer for the federal government.

So when the center had accessibility problems with its own contractor-run Web site, director Terry Weaver took what seemed the best approach: She brought the operation in-house and updated the site.

The new site, at www.section508.gov, is more logically put together and lets users find information more quickly and easily than its predecessor.

'We are trying to focus on different types of users and tailor the site to their needs,' Weaver said.

Smooth operator

The site uploads pages from a Microsoft SQL Server database via Common Gateway Interface scripts. It now more smoothly supports online interactive tutorial classes.

The database resides on a Dell PowerEdge 1400SC server with dual 1.3-GHz Pentium 4 processors, a 73G hard drive and Microsoft Windows 2000. The 508 team coded most of the site using Cold Fusion from Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco.

'We had a lot of hang-ups with the old database server,' Weaver said. 'The old server also did not support Active Server Pages used in the training modules.'

Users who need screen readers can browse more easily now, Weaver said.

'Ultimately, we hope the pages will download quicker, and eventually we would like to move to wireless' so visitors can get data while on the move, Weaver said.

Another new feature lets users adjust the type size and font style of the pages. They can make their choices from six font styles and type sizes from 10 points to 20 points.

Weaver noted other changes such as a new frequently asked questions list and an option to search the site for products that improve accessibility.

'We have to make the federal government and the world more aware of 508,' Weaver said.

'We also have to give people resources to do their job. The Web site makes it easier for them to understand 508 requirements and gives them resources to meet those requirements.'

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