Verifying Section 508 Compliance for Liferay Portal

The following article describes how to detect Section 508 Compliance issues.

Section 508 is an, "Amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities." (Source: TechTarget Search CIO)

While each issue is different and compliance is based on a case-by-case scenario, the easiest way to measure whether something is "508 compliant" is to test if a portlet and its functionality can be accessed via the keyboard.

To detect Section 508 compliance issues, one can use a tool such as Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) toolbar for Firefox. The WAVE toolbar extension is developed by and is available for download here: WAVE Browser Extensions. It can detect what is missing or hindering accessibility on a particular web page. The toolbar does not solve problems; rather it is used best as a detection tool. See the screenshots below for the WAVE toolbar in action.


  1. Install Firefox WAVE tool bar and enable it. Users will have to restart the browser.
  2. Start Liferay Portal
  3. Add a portlet to the page. For illustration purposes, one can use the Search portlet.
  4. Click the Errors, Features, and Alerts button on the toolbar.


  5. Roll the mouse over or click any of the error messages.

Usually, the tool like WAVE will indicate elements such as missing form label. As mentioned above, the WAVE toolbar does not solve accessibility problems. Rather it highlights specific elements on the page where web designers should improve in order to comply with Section 508 requirements. In the second screenshot, the alt=alt error indicates that alt tags have not been filled out to differentiate between the different images.

If a 508 compliance issue is encountered, please note that our Support team will use due diligence to confirm the issue. If the issue is determined by Engineering to be an issue that Support needs to provide a fix for, we will release the solution in the form of a fixpack, minor release or major release.

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