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Applicability & Conformance Requirements


The Revised 508 Standards incorporate by reference the WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria, and apply the WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria and conformance requirements to both web and non-web electronic content.

Chapter 2 of the Revised 508 Standards specifies which electronic content must be accessible (scoping). Apply the technical requirements based on content type. The scoping requirements for electronic content (Section E205) apply to non-web electronic documents regardless of format (e.g., Microsoft Office, Portable Document Format, and HTML Web pages). Other scoping provisions apply to non-web software (e.g., spreadsheet or video conferencing applications), and native mobile apps. There is no distinction between “web pages” and “non-web” content because the same accessibility needs exist for all electronic content.

The Revised 508 Standards include specific requirements for authoring tools (see Section 504). Authoring tools include not only word processors, but any tools used to develop web pages or applications, as well as the Integrated Development Environments (IDE) used by developers for software development.

If your agency has never used the harmonized test methods published by the Federal CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice (ACOP), you may have to significantly revise your policies and procedures to implement and verify conformance to the Revised 508 Standards. The transition will be easier for agencies already using these or similarly comprehensive test methods which already incorporate WCAG 2.0 Level AA. The revised standards also now clarify which electronic documents must conform to the new technical requirements.

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Conformance Requirements

As an author or developer, you should assess the extent to which your work conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

  • A page that fails to meet even one of the 38 applicable WCAG success criteria does not conform to the standards.
  • A set of pages in a sequence, e.g., identifying, selecting, and paying for a ticket to a public event, does not conform if any of those steps fails to conform fully.

In some situations, you can comply with the Revised 508 Standards by providing a conforming alternate version of content. However, you should be aware that Sections E101.2, E205 and E207 of the Revised 508 Standards impose significant constraints on this option.

Reviewed/Updated: May 2018