Date: January 2017
Publisher: The Access Board
‘Section 508’ is a comprehensive and detailed technical standard. It was produced by the United States Access Board, part of the US Federal Government. It has direct applicability to US Federal departments for the technologies they procure and use. Beyond the Federal government, many US State, city and local governments have also adopted the provisions of Section 508. This 2017 version is the revised (‘refreshed’) version of the precursor 2001 standard.
The Standard describes how various types of mainstream Information and Communications Technology (ICT) should behave in order to be accessible to people with disabilities. It also describes over-arching functional performance criteria that apply to all ICT. It covers websites, electronic documents, telecommunications devices, software, public-use devices, and more.
The primary target audience for this document is product designers, developers and testers. Having the requirements defined allows a secondary target audience, public procurement policymakers, to reference these standards in their activities. Referencing the standards provides buyers and vendors a shared language and common understanding of what is considered to be ‘accessible’.
There are associated training and toolkit materials available. These materials can help those who work in related aspects, even if they consider themselves to be ‘non-technical’. Procurement personnel, marketing and sales personnel, managers, and others may find it beneficial to first consult these related ‘Understanding and Implementation’ resources, which are provided in the next Section(s) of this Portal.