Accessible Tech: 508 Compliance in Your VMS

In 2020, the business world heavily increased its reliance on technology and we don’t see that letting up any time soon. For many workers, using software is a normal part of their day-to-day. But what does that look like for workers who might be visually impaired or unable to use a mouse or keyboard?

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to provide recommendations for making online content more accessible for the above-mentioned users. According to the abstract, following these guidelines can make content more accessible to a wide range of users with disabilities such as blindness, hearing impairment, movement issues, cognitive impairment, and more.

In the United States, Section 508 was added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to apply to electronic and information technology provided by the Federal government. Companies that have government funding may be subject to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 can satisfy those requirements for compliance.

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How Does WCAG 2.0 Compliance Affect VMS Technology?

When VectorVMS took on the challenge of creating inclusive technology, it required deliberate attention to every page of the application. The guidelines require technology to be:

  • Perceivable  Information is presented to the users in a way they can receive.

Example: If the pages involve images, there should be text alternatives (known as Alt Text) for the visually impaired so that a screen reader can relay the information

  • Operable → The interface components and navigation must be easily operated.

Example: The technology should be completely operable with the use of a keyboard or keyboard-alternative without any gaps.

  • Understandable → Information and operations in the application should be easily understood.

Example: If there are fields to enter required information, any notifications such as an error message should be immediately noticeable before the user navigates away from the item.

  • Robust Content must be presented in a way that can be interpreted by a wide variety of assistant technologies.

Example: The technology should be usable by assistive technology. This can include items such as screen readers and specialty keyboards.

The VectorVMS platform achieved WCAG 2.0 compliance in August 2020 and is expected to achieve certification by the end of March 2021. The team took care to ensure an uninterrupted experience for its existing users when upgrading the system, allowing for nearly a month of testing and gathering customer feedback.

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Why Consider Accessibility in your VMS?

A diverse contingent workforce may include workers with varying needs when it comes to technology. As companies that seek to become the employer of choice to independent contractors and other temporary workers, accessibility is crucial to inclusivity. Setting up your workers for success from the start can help with contractor satisfaction as well as building your brand by doing right by your workers.

For companies that are government-funded or working with government entities, they may already be subject to 508 compliance. A compliant VMS in these cases is a must to make sure you have accessible technology in place.

If you are an employer in other industries like government, healthcare, or finance you may also find yourself in need of a VMS that is accessible for all users. It’s a standard that can be adapted across all industries employing contingent labor.

In need of a WCAG-compliant vendor management system? Contact VectorVMS for more information.