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Quick Guide to IT Accessibility for Program Managers

Learn how to build an effective information technology (IT) accessibility program, and ensure that the technology your agency buys, builds, and uses, is accessible for all.

Take It Step By Step

Follow the steps below to navigate the Technology Accessibility Playbook (the Playbook). You’ll learn what’s required of a federal IT Accessibility Program Manager, and gain insights that will improve IT accessibility at your agency.

Step 1 - Understand IT Accessibility Requirements

Step 2 - Understand Reporting Requirements

Step 3 - Review Current Program

Step 4 - Build an Effective Team

Step 5 - Buy Accessible

Step 6 - Build Accessible

Step 7 - Test and Remediate

Step 8 - Train Employees
 

Step 1 - Understand IT Accessibility Requirements

Federal agencies have a responsibility to ensure equitable access to information and communication technology (ICT) for people with disabilities. Several laws and policies cover accessibility-related activities, but the two with which you should be most familiar are the  Revised 508 Standards and the Section 508 law.

Learn more about IT accessibility laws and policies.

Key Playbook Plays

Step 2 - Understand Reporting Requirements

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) collects data twice per year on the maturity and effectiveness of agency Section 508/IT accessibility programs. Reporting is required for CFO Act agencies, and recommended for all federal agencies.

View governmentwide dashboards to see accessibility-related performance and budget data.

Key Playbook Play

Step 3 - Review Current Program

Review current processes and procedures related to managing IT accessibility. Once you’ve identified gaps, develop a roadmap to fill those gaps.

Key Playbook Play

Step 4 - Build an Effective Team

IT accessibility is a team effort, requiring support from throughout your organization. Engage people in your IT/CIO office, as well as procurement professionals, and content creators from across the agency, to ensure they understand their responsibilities under the law. You can also find allies at other agencies by joining the Federal Accessibility/508 Community of Practice.

Key Playbook Plays

Step 5 - Buy Accessible

Collaborate with agency procurement professionals in your contracting office, to ensure that every IT purchase request at your agency includes accessibility requirements, and that an accessibility requirements review is part of every solicitation issued by your agency.

Key Playbook Plays

Step 6 - Build Accessible

Help agency stakeholders learn to address accessibility throughout the entire software development lifecycle. Properly document accessibility needs in systems requirements, follow universal design best practices, and develop digital tools and systems that are accessible to all.

Key Playbook Plays

Step 7 - Test and Remediate

IT products and services must conform to the Revised 508 Standards. Websites and digital tools must also conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.

Develop and promote clear processes to track and resolve issues related to inaccessible technology.

  • Resolve internal issues

  • Address complaints from external users

Key Playbook Plays

Step 8 - Train Employees

Ensure staff understand their responsibilities under Section 508, particularly for official communication. Target key audience groups to ensure they have the required knowledge.

Develop customized training to address the specific skill gaps at your agency. Communicate regularly with agency components to share guidance, tools, and training opportunities.

Key Playbook Play

Conclusion

This guidance is intended to help agencies navigate the Technology Accessibility Playbook and operate an effective IT accessibility program. Adoption of these strategies will help your agency expand access to government digital services, spur greater use of inclusive technology to increase diversity of the federal workforce, and improve accessibility for all.

This guide is a companion to the Executive Guide to IT Accessibility, and aligns with the U.S. Web Design System, the Digital Services Playbook, and the TechFAR Handbook.

Contact GSA’s Government-wide IT Accessibility Team for additional training and assistance.

Reviewed/Updated: January 2019