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 and Applications
- Telecommunications Products
- Video and Multimedia Products
- Self-contained, Closed Products
- Desktop and Portable Computers
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
Federal agencies must follow the FAR when they buy supplies and services. In 2001, the FAR was amended to require that purchased supplies and services meet 508 standards.
- Revised 508 Standards, Safe Harbor and FAR Update
- GSA’s Guidance on Acquisition for Accessible Information and Communication Technology
- Buy Accessible Products and Services
Software Applications and Operating Systems
What's Covered? - Operating systems and application software programs. ICT products that contain software as an integral part of their functionality. Such application software is bundled or sold with the product and typically executes on an attached network connected personal computer or server. Examples include digital copiers, scanners, smart card readers, printers, handhelds, fax machines and telecommunications devices (wired, analog and digital wireless and Internet). In addition, these requirements apply to telecommunications PBX with Telephone Application Programming Interface (TAPI) software that allows access to phone system functions from a computer workstation.
Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications
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.
What's Covered? - Devices including wires, analog and digital wireless and internet-based products; also includes devices such as PBX (in-house electronic exchanger) and telephone answering machines/systems.
Video and Multimedia Products
What's Covered? - Audio/Visual equipment (both legacy analog and were digital systems and personal computers - desktop, notebook, handheld, etc.) as well as the content itself (video/DVD programs, narrated slide productions, computer-generated presentations, etc.).
Self-contained, Closed Products
What's Covered? - Products include, but are not limited to, information kiosks and information transaction machines, copiers, printers, calculators, fax machines and other similar types of products. Products that generally have embedded software and are commonly designed in such a fashion that a user cannot easily attach or install assistive technology.
Desktop and Portable Computers
What's Covered? - Personal computers (desktop, notebook, portable, including displays). These requirements also apply to handhelds, workstations and servers.