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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.

For more information about Section 508, please refer to one of the following sites:

On this page:

Acquisition Regulations

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

Federal agencies must follow the FAR when they b​uy supplies and services. In 2001, the FAR was amended to require that purchased supplies and services meet 508 standards.

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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.

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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.

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Telecommunications Products

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.

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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.).

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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.

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Desktop and Portable Computers

What's Covered? - Personal computers (desktop, notebook, portable, including displays). These requirements also apply to handhelds, workstations and servers.

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