Section 508 Standards
EPA is responsible for ensuring that all information and communications technology is accessible to disabled users. This involves designing websites, software, hardware, video and multimedia and telecommunications to meet Section 508 information and communications technology accessibility standards, as well as incorporating other techniques to ensure accessibility. The resources provided in this section include standards, guidelines, design tips, tools and other information to help you design products that are accessible to all users.
The Section 508 standards were developed by the US Access Board, an independent federal agency that works on accessibility for people with disabilities. The standards are published in the federal government's procurement regulations.
The Section 255 Guidelines cover telecommunications equipment and customer-premises equipment — such as telephones, cell phones, routers, set-top boxes, and computers with modems, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol products, and software integral to the operation of telecommunications function of such equipment
For more information about Section 508 and 255 Guidelines, please refer to the following sites:
- US Access Board: Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines
- Section508.gov, maintained by the General Services Administration (GSA)
- W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, maintained by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- Acquisition Regulations
- Software Applications and Operating Systems
- Web-based Intranet and Internet Information
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
Federal agencies must follow the FAR when they buy supplies and services. In August 2021, the FAR was amended to incorporate revisions and updates to the 508 standards.
- Revised 508 Standards, Safe Harbor and FAR Update
- Federal Acquisition Regulation: Section 508-Based Standards in Information and Communication Technology
- Tabular Comparison of the Previous FAR text against the 2021 Update
- GSA’s Guidance on Acquisition for Accessible Information and Communication Technology
- Buy Accessible Products and Services
- Accessibility Requirement Tool (ART)
Software Applications and Operating Systems
What's Covered? - Operating systems and application software programs. Programs, procedures, rules, and related data and documentation that direct the use and operation of ICT and instruct it to perform a given task or function. Software includes, but is not limited to, applications, non-Web software, authoring tools and platform software. ICT products that contain software as an integral part of their functionality. Where components of ICT are software and transmit information or have a user interface. Examples include digital copiers, scanners, smart card readers, printers, handhelds, fax machines and telecommunications devices (wired, analog and digital wireless and Internet). EXCEPTION: Software that is assistive technology and that supports the accessibility services of the platform.
Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Electronic Content
What's Covered? - Websites (the information content as well as any associated applications and plug-ins) and web-based applications. These requirements also apply to web-based interfaces to other ICT products or systems. Web-based applications are also any aspect of a Web page with which the user must interact in order to operate the given function of a Web page. (For example, a streaming audio player delivers the content of a page to the user and, therefore, must be accessible to the user.) The standards apply to federal websites but not to private sector websites unless a site is provided under contract to a federal agency, in which case only that website or portion covered by the contract must comply. They also apply to non-web digital documents this includes, but is not limited to, PDFs, Spreadsheets, Word documents, Presentations, Videos, and Training Modules.
What's Covered? - A tangible device, equipment, or physical component of ICT, such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, and keyboards. EXCEPTION: Hardware that is assistive technology