GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Welcome to the Section 508 Blog...conversations about Section 508

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Helen Chamberlain, Governmentwide Section 508 Training & Outreach Director, General Services Administration

On August 18, 2015 ​at the National Science Foundation in Arlington Virginia, GSA's Governmentwide Section 508 Program hosted one of a series of six annual ​Section 508 ​community events. The August event focused on Mobile, Social Media, and Google accessibility.

While those of us who work in Section 508 understand the importance and scope of the role it plays, those who don’t may need a little help to understand. Sometimes you will get questions and comments that make you want to put your face in your hands and cry. Instead, we recommend that you take a deep breath and use it as an opportunity to spread understanding of Section 508. Here are “508 facepalms” that have been shared with us.

This time of year, many government acquisitions professionals are rushing to do procurements. Did you know about the Quick Links that provide quick and easy pre-packaged Section 508 solicitation documentation for a number of standard EIT deliverables? These links identify typical applicable Section 508 provisions to help agencies in generating Government Product/Service Accessibility Templates (GPATs) and vendors responding with Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs).

The CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice has updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Agency Section 508 reporting to OMB. [docx] OMB Section 508 reporting is required for all CFO Act agencies and recommended for all federal agencies. The next reports are due August 30, 2015. Learn more about agency responsibility for Section 508 monitoring and reporting.

Accessible CAPTCHA - Jul 27 , 2015

CAPTCHA is an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". Websites often use CAPTCHA for anti-spam verification to make sure responses are being generated by an actual person and not a computer “bot”.

Celebrate the ADA and the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law on July 26, 1990, and was the first major legislative effort to secure an equal playing field for individuals with disabilities. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

A recent question gives us some general guidance when asking a key question: “Is this ICT subject to Section 508?” Though this particular question was posed for a specific product, the guidance applies generally to any component that is part of an interconnected system but doesn't itself directly present a user interface.

We all know about those cameras typically used for surveillance monitoring. They seem to be everywhere, recording everything – especially at federal government facilities! So are they subject to Section 508 requirements?

The new “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” from the US Access Board have been published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The period for public comments will close on Thursday May 28, 2015. Visit Regulations.gov to provide your feedback on the rule and the questions about the rule asked by the Access Board.

The Governmentwide Section 508 Program at GSA is pleased to commemorate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) [http://www.globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/] on May 21 this month. Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort dedicated to raise the profile and heighten awareness of digital accessibility to the broadest audience possible.

On the heels of recent successful Federal accessibility events like the Accessibility Hackathon and the EEOC Twitter Event, GSA continued the momentum by hosting a Microsoft and Accessibility event on April 7th. With over 200 attendees (virtual and in-person) the event was evidence that there is need to come together as a community around Section 508 issues and that there is much to be done.

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