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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.


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#372: Make Sure Your Consulting Products Are Section 508 Accessible

Posted By Mark Haas CMC , FIMC, Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Our client just told us all our products needed to be Section 508 compliant. I know this is a government requirement, but is this really necessary for non-public work products?

Section 508 refers to a provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal agencies (and their consultants providing work products to be used as federal products) to make their online information accessible to people with disabilities. This makes sure information is provided in a form that everyone can use and benefit from. Legally, you are likely not required to deliver section 508 compliant work products for private sector clients.

However, as consultants, we are professionally obligated to maximize the access, use, and understanding of our work products, regardless of the client. Making your work products Section 508 compliant not only assures access, it is a "good (if not best) practice" and a valuable standard by which you can improve their consistency and quality. This is not just the law, and not just a good idea, but a way to improve the usability of your products for the potentially millions of people who might eventually use your work products or derivatives (e.g., that piece of text, chart or web page your client repurposes to the public). It’s the right thing to do.

The Section 508 guidelines address page layout and formatting, fonts, page and document numbering, images, tables, video captioning, HTML and CSS formatting, web page linking formats, etc. These apply to word processing, spreadsheet, webpage, multimedia, presentation. Some very good resources such as checklists are available.

Tip: Compare the Section 508 guidelines with your own company's document creation and publication guidelines. Oh, you don't have quality assurance standards for your communications? Here is a good and rigorously developed start to enhancing your consulting value and professionalism. A good place to get the basics is (fully qualified URLs are a Section 508 good practice).

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  information management  professionalism  quality  regulation  Section 508  usability  website  writing 

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#88: Source of Information on Legislation Affecting Your Clients

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, July 8, 2009
My client wants me to research federal laws relation to its business but I am having a hard time using search engines. Is there a place I can go to get more information?

Any logical research task worth doing is likely to generate a service or website to facilitate this task. As it happens, there are a number of legal sites that can help you out. The best place to start is Thomas, a site run by the U.S. Library of Congress, the largest library in the world (named after Thomas Jefferson, whose donated library formed the basis of the original Congressional library). In addition to actual signed legislation, it provides access to Congressional intent as reflected in conference reports, Congressional calendars (i.e., schedules for upcoming legislation that would affect your client), the Global Legal Monitor (if your client needs to track foreign legislation), and state legislation.

Tip: This is not just for lawyers or legal scholars. If you are advising management, then unarguably every business, association or nonprofit is affected by current or impending legislation. Your recommendations about change in strategy or operations must be judged against law in areas of pricing, antitrust, human resources and labor, advertising, environmental, safety and other areas. Some laws apply across all businesses and others only apply to specific industries. Consulting in the real world has to accommodate real laws and a good consultant is up to speed on all the rules.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  customer understanding  regulation 

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