GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

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On the heels of recent successful Federal accessibility events like the Accessibility Hackathon and the EEOC Twitter Event, GSA continued the momentum by hosting a Microsoft and Accessibility event on April 7th. With over 200 attendees (virtual and in-person) the event was evidence that there is need to come together as a community around Section 508 issues and that there is much to be done.

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hosted a live Twitter (hashtag #5084FEDs), inviting stakeholders to discuss how technology impacts Federal workers with disabilities.

Compliance and Conformance - Apr 13 , 2015

There are a lot of terms used when talking about Section 508, and they are not always used consistently. Federal agencies are required to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794 d). This Act states that Agencies must ensure that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that they “develop, procure, maintain or use” allows for comparable access by both Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities seeking information or services from the Federal government. Below is a description of the appropriate use of the terms compliance and conformance.

The U.S. Access Board will provide an overview of its proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in a free webinar on March 31 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET). The session, which is part of the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series, will review the Board's proposal to update its standards and guidelines for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act.

New content was just added to BuyAccessible.gov to help you learn more about website accessibility and WCAG 2.0. The content includes a new page on frequently observed accessibility issues on federal websites. GSA recently conducted a scan of 45 major public facing federal websites. The most common issues and resources to help fix them were identified.

On February 18, 2015, the U.S. Access Board released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also will jointly update guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act. This long-awaited set of updates will bring Federal requirements into sync with WCAG and other U.S.

The Accessibility Electronic Document Community of Practice (AED COP) recently created guidance documents on how to create accessible documents in Word 2010 and how to test against common issues. You can see them in our Accessibility Best Practices Library

A recent review of solicitations posted on FedBizOpps (FBO) offered several examples of good and not so good practices documenting solicitations for maintenance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products. Section 508 requirements for ICT maintenance are often simply absent, but when they are included there is a range in quality of the solicitation language used. Here are three examples of not so good, better, and best solicitation language for maintenance of ICT.

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