The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum, “Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act“ requires federal agencies to increase transparency by providing the public with a standard feedback mechanism and statement available on agency websites, specifically:
“Federal agencies will include an accessibility statement on all inter- and intranet websites. Secondary sites can link to the accessibility statement on the domain website. The accessibility statement should, at a minimum, include contact information for the agency Section 508 program, date of the last update, and the ability for website visitors to provide comments and/or feedback regarding the agency Section 508 program.”
Why Publish an Accessibility Statement
While federal agencies are required to provide an accessibility statement, we encourage all digital product owners to include information about an organization’s commitment towards providing equal access to information. In brief, it’s the perfect opportunity to engage customers with disabilities by highlighting relevant information to improve their customer experience.
People who visit the website, particularly individuals with disabilities, will appreciate the open acknowledgement that accessibility is a key driver for the website. Users will also appreciate the ease of access to contact information and speedy responses and resolution should they encounter any barriers while using your website or digital service.
What to Include in an Accessibility Statement
We recommend that each agency craft a message highlighting the agency’s commitment to ensuring equivalent access to information for people with disabilities, and provide information on the various points of contact, resources and services available to visitors and customers. However, accessibility statements should – at a minimum – be evaluated for each of the following four requirements:
- Has an Accessibility Statement – A link to an accessibility statement is included on the domain website – either by itself, or within a page which contains several website policies (best practice is to include in the website’s footer)
- Includes Section 508 Program Point of Contact – The statement includes contact information for the agency Section 508 Program – such as the Section 508 PM’s email address, or a general mailbox managed by the Section 508 Program (either directly, or using an online form)
- Includes Last Date Updated – The date the page was last updated or reviewed (recommend at least an annual review), and
- Provides or describes feedback mechanism – Website visitors have the ability to provide comments and/or feedback regarding the agency Section 508 Program
Where to Publish an Accessibility Statement
To ensure that your accessibility statement is available to visitors at any point within their digital experience, agencies should include a link to the accessibility statement in the site-wide footer. Secondary sites may create their own footer and accessibility statement page or link to the domain website’s accessibility statement.
Websites that conform with the U.S. Web Design System should use the
Identifier component, which communicates a site’s parent agency and displays agency links required by federal laws and policies, and includes the accessibility statement by default (Figure 1).
Websites not utilizing the USWDS’s
Identifier component should ensure that a link to an accessibility statement is located in the site-wide footer of each page using “Accessibility” or “Accessibility Statement” as the link text (Figure 2).
Another acceptable approach is to include the accessibility statement among a series of website policies and notices using “Website Policy & Notices“ as the link text (Figure 3).
Examples of Accessibility Statements
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Department of State (USDOS)
- Department of the Interior (DOI)
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- National Security Agency (NSA)
- U.S. Access Board (USAB)
Reviewed/Updated: December 2022