Please select the first letter of the glossary term
An independent federal agency that develops and maintains accessibility requirements, provides technical assistance and training on the standards, and enforces accessibility standards for federally funded facilities. The official name is the "Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board".
Access Board Standards for Section 508
The Access Board has divided the standard into three subparts, and further organized the subpart containing technical provisions according to six general categories as follows:
- Subpart B -- Technical Standards
- Subpart C -- Functional Performance Criteria
- Subpart D -- Information, Documentation, and Support
Accessibility Forum Quick Reference Guide to Section 508 Resource Documents
The Accessibility Forum has developed and validated a substantial set of resource documents on technology and accessibility information related directly to the Section 508 technical standards. These original resource documents are available and extensive, but technically complex, cumbersome, and hard to use. A consolidation and condensation of the project resource documents has resulted in a more usable document, informally referred to as the ‘paper tool’. This document contains a summary page for each of the technical sections of the Section 508 standard, and presents a reference page for each individual technical provision of each technical section of the Section 508 standard. Each reference page provides useful information organized into three distinct sections:
- What does this requirement mean?
- How can I tell if this requirement is met?
- Where can I get additional information?
Definition from Access Board standard:
Alternate formats usable by people with disabilities may include, but are not limited to, Braille, ASCII text, large print, recorded audio, and electronic formats that comply with this part.
Definition from Access Board standard: Different means of providing information, including documentation to persons with disabilities. May include, but is not limited to, voice, fax, TTY, Internet posting, captioning, text-to-speech synthesis, and audio description.
The background sound of an environment in relation to which all foreground sounds are heard. Ambient noise level is a measure of the ambient noise of an environment over a given period of time in Decibels.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
1990 civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in the private and public sectors.
Analog Television Display
Any device that displays analog television signals or other analog signals such as those originating from DVD or video tape. In addition to standard television displays, these display devices also include projectors that have analog video input and include analog TV display circuitry, and computers that display analog television signals.
Analog Television Tuner
Any device that receives analog television signals or other analog signals such as those originating from DVD or video tape. In addition to standard television receivers, these signals are also received by computers that contain analog tuner cards.
Application Programming Interface (API)
The interface that allows an application program access to an operating system and other services. A set of subprograms that applications may use to request and carry out lower-level services performed by an operating system.
Application Software (Software Application)
Application software is used to accomplish specific tasks, as opposed to the operating system functions for running the computer system. Application software may consist of:
- a single program, such as an image viewer;
- a small collection of programs (often called a software package) that work closely together to accomplish a task, such as a spreadsheet or text processing system;
- a larger collection (often called a software suite) of related but independent programs and packages that have a common user interface or shared data format, such as Microsoft Office, which consists of closely integrated word processor, spreadsheet, database, etc.; or
- a software system, such as a database management system, which is a collection of fundamental programs that may provide some service to a variety of other independent applications.
Software applications are created with programming languages and related utilities, which may come in several of the above forms: single programs like script interpreters, packages containing a compiler, linker, and other tools; and large suites (often called Integrated Development Environments) that include editors, debuggers, and other tools for multiple languages.
Applicable - capable of or suitable for being applied, appropriate. The applicability of A to B is a measure of how applicable A is to B. For example, the applicability of a specific Section 508 standard to particular EIT product or service measures whether the standard is appropriate (applies) to the particular EIT.
- What specific provisions from the technical sections apply?
All technical provisions do not apply to all EIT or all acquisitions. Unfortunately it is often assumed that a product can only fall into one of the six subsections of the Access Board standards. The EIT functions that are needed to accomplish the work to be performed determine which technical provisions from the standard apply.
For example, where a telephone on a desk will do, the provisions for telecommunications products apply. However, if a multi-functional cell phone is needed, additional provisions from software applications and operating systems or web-based intranet and Internet information and applications may also apply.
In this step the Wizard helps determine the applicable technical provisions of Subpart B of the Access Board standard. Functional performance criteria and information, documentation, and support apply to all EIT procurements.
Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Sometimes referred to as Adaptive Technology. A device or software that substitutes for or enhances the function of some impaired ability. Sometimes referred to as Adaptive Technology.
Assistive Technology and Electronic and Information Technology Interoperability. AT-EIT Interoperability is defined as the ability of Assistive Technology (both soft and hard) and standard Electronic and Information Technologies (both soft and hard) from multiple vendors to exchange and use information meaningfully and without adverse system consequences, or, when possible, the need for special configuration or adaptation effort on the part of the user. All but one of the technologies identified in the six Technical Sections of the Section 508 standard include AT interoperability considerations:
- AT interoperability with Software Applications and Operating Systems (1194.21)
- AT interoperability with Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22)
- AT interoperability with Telecommunications Products (1194.23)
- AT interoperability with Video and Multimedia Products (1194.24)
- AT interoperability with Desktop and Portable Computers (1194.26)
Self Contained, Closed Products(1194.25) describes standalone devices that by definition exclude interoperability with AT. They are expected to provide all required accessibility as standalone units without the support of external assistive technology.
AT-Desktop and Portable Computer Interoperability
Desktop and portable computer interoperability refers to the ability of computers to link or interface to other devices via standard ports or connectors, and provides significant capability and cost benefits. These interconnection points are standard for most desktop and portable computers. Some industry standard interfaces have remained a constant over the past several decades, while others have come and gone. Connection technologies used by assistive technology include: serial ports, parallel ports, PS 2 mouse and keyboard connectors, computer expansion slots, PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) interface, USB (Universal Serial Bus), and Wireless connections. Parallel ports, the standard for printer connection for many years, finally appear to be giving way to Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. Serial ports are going much the same way as parallel ports.
Software applications and operating systems interoperability with assistive technology is the result of rules that are established to allow software programs (applications) to interface with each other. These rules define how one software application requests information from another software application, and how the second software application will respond. These rules are referred to as an application programming interface (API), or simply an interface. If a software program writes to the interface, it should be able to communicate with other applications and the operating system using a conventional set of rules to ask for or provide information. Operating systems by their nature are intended both to provide services to applications, including assistive technology, and to keep one application from interfering with others. If applications need to share data, there is often a defined set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow the interaction. In general, the transfer of shared data is through the operating system. This keeps one application from reading and writing into areas that are reserved for others. Until recently, assistive technology was developed without conventional APIs provided by the operating systems. Assistive technology developers created ingenious ways to obtain the information required to provide users with disabilities access to computer-based information. Current operating systems and operating system environments offer a variety of conventional accessible APIs and open sources to support application programs and assistive technology. These include:
- GNOME Accessibility Framework
- Java™ Accessibility
- Linux Accessibility
- Macintosh Accessibility
- Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA)
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Document Object Model (DOM)
Assistive technology that does not use these APIs may work with some operating systems, but it is likely the result of contrived or accidental compatibility. On the other hand the existence of an Accessibility API does not guarantee interoperability between assistive technology, software applications and operating systems.Problems in assistive technology and EIT interoperability can exist even with current APIs. There are many causes for these problems, including (but not limited to):
- Lack of a *complete* accessibility API (that is, not all information needed by assistive technology is available via standard and accessibility APIs).
- Lack of conformance to, use of, or implementation of the API by assistive technologies, operating systems, or applications.
- Bugs in implementing an accessibility API (or in the basic code) assistive technologies, operating systems, or applications.
- Mismatch between the version of the accessibility API that are implemented by assistive technologies, operating system, or application.
Web-based intranet and internet information and applications interoperability is the result of how Web pages are designed. The Section 508 technical provisions are essentially design rules intended to produce pages that provide a usable interface with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, Braille readers, and alternate input devices. Assistive technology products interact with Web-based applications in a variety of manners. Typically, the method used to permit interaction between the assistive technology product and the web-based application depends on the operating system and language in which the Web-based application is written. These include:
- Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA)
- Java Access Bridge
- Accessible markup language
- Private interfaces
- Text-only variations
- Rendering information directly from the screen
Telecommunications product interoperability is the result of the successful delivery and availability of TTY services. Domestic TTYs are Baudot-based devices used to communicate by people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired over networks designed to carry voice. In other words if a device can transmit and receive voice over a telecommunications network, then it should be able to support the hookup and successful interoperation of TTY assistive technology. In the longer term it is hoped that accessible digital cell phone handsets will be widely available, and that interference with hearing aids will continue to be reduced. The 508 standard was written broadly to ensure that it would apply to evolving technologies, including digital telephones and television, voice or video over IP, and videoconferencing systems. This also ensures that it will apply during the evolution of non-proprietary assistive technology, such as TTY, audio description, and closed captions.
Video and multimedia product interoperability results from accessible alternative representations that are decoded and presented correctly in video and multimedia presentations. This applies to both legacy analog type systems and newer digital systems. For traditional analog systems audible content is translated in to text and converted into closed captioning that is encoded on scan line 21 of the video frame of National Television System Committee (NTSC) broadcast signals. Audio description of important video content is provided through the secondary audio programming (SAP) channel within a standard analog video broadcast signal. Newer digital technology allows more delivery mechanisms. Digital technology can play video and multimedia content locally on a personal computer (PC), but it can also be implemented across an intranet or the Internet.
An audible description of the visual content of a presentation, synchronized with the existing soundtrack. Same as video description.
In the context of the requirement of 1194.25(e), auditory output is voice output.
'Back Office' Exception
"(f) Products located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment are not required to comply with this part."
Controls that are activated by a particular biological feature or physical characteristic.
Bundled contract means a contract where the requirements have been consolidated by bundling.
- Consolidating two or more requirements for supplies or services, previously provided or performed under separate smaller contracts, into a solicitation for a single contract that is likely to be unsuitable for award to a small business concern.
- The diversity, size, or specialized nature of the elements of the performance specified;
- The aggregate dollar value of the anticipated award;
- The geographical dispersion of the contract performance sites; or
- Any combination of the factors described in paragraphs (1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this definition.
- "Separate smaller contract" as used in this definition, means a contract that has been performed by one or more small business concerns or that was suitable for award to one or more small business concerns.
- "Single contract" as used in this definition, includes:
- Multiple awards of indefinite-quantity contracts under a single solicitation for the same or similar supplies or services to two or more sources (see FAR 16.504(c)); and
- An order placed against an indefinite quantity contract
- Federal Supply Schedule contract; or
- Task-order contract or delivery-order contract awarded by another
agency (i.e., government wide acquisition contract or multi-agency contract).
- This definition does not apply to a contract that will be awarded and performed entirely
outside of the United States.
BuyAccessible is federal government database designed specifically for government procurement. It is intended to assist in meeting Section 508 requirements, specifically, performing market research on the accessibility of electronic and information technology products. The BuyAccessible database is a repository of Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates.
BuyAccessible Acceptance Guide
The Acceptance Guide is a supplemental guidance tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard. This guide is for use of government buyers and helps them to evaluate acquisition deliverables against applicable provisions as determined by the Wizard, based on generally accepted inspection and/or test methods.
BuyAccessible Design Guide
The Design Guide is a supplemental guidance tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard. This guide is for the use of EIT developers and provides them with resources(internet links) that provide qualified design and development methods to help ensure conformance to the applicable provisions as determined by the Wizard, based on generally accepted design and development methods.
BuyAccessible Evaluation Guide
The Evaluation Guide is a supplemental guidance tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard. This guide is for use of government buyers only and helps them to evaluate various proposals based on commercial availability of their applicable provisions as determined by the wizard. The commercial availability is determined using the Market Research worksheets as documented by the wizard. This is recorded in the column headed 'Commercial Availability'. Provisions determined to be commercially available in pre-solicitation market research for all products / services reviewed are indicated by the phrase 'partially or fully available in all'. Provisions determined to be commercially available in pre-solicitation market research for some products / services reviewed are indicated by the phrase 'partially or fully available in some'.Provisions not determined to be commercially available in pre-solicitation market research have no value in the Commercial Availability column.
BuyAccessible Solicitation Template
The Solicitation Template is a solicitation documentation tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard. The Solicitation Template is a simple tool to assist Federal contracting and procurement officials in producing good language for their solicitations for EIT products and services. The Solicitation Template provides specific example text recommended to be included in the solicitation documentation. This text provides basic statements about Section 508 aspects of general program need (Section 508 relevance), specific Section 508 program requirements (Section 508 applicability), Section 508 factors for proposal evaluation, and Section 508 criteria for deliverable acceptance. You can simply cut and paste the suggested solicitation language from your Solicitation Template into your formal solicitation documentation. The Solicitation Template includes by reference the Government Product/Service Accessibility Template (GPAT) as the mechanism to identify specific Section 508 program requirements and to solicit vendor information about the Section 508 accessibility of their proposed deliverables.
Captions (open, closed)
Visual display of spoken dialogue and other important audio information as printed words. Open captions are displayed automatically; closed captions are displayed only when selected by the user.
Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
Means the primary government repository for contractor information required for the conduct of business with the government.
The CIO Council serves as the principal interagency forum for improving practices in the design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of federal government agency information resources. The Council's role includes developing recommendations for information technology management policies, procedures, and standards; identifying opportunities to share information resources; and assessing and addressing the needs of the federal government's IT workforce.” Committees of the CIO Council include: Capital Planning and IT Management; Federal IT Workforce; Security, Privacy and Critical Infrastructure; Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging IT; Outreach; and E-Gov.
Originally known as the Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA) requires heads of federal agencies to link IT investments to agency accomplishments. The Act also requires that agency heads establish a process to select, manage and control their IT investments.
Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS)
Definition of COTS.
Distinct from Custom EIT Solution since the features and functional characteristics of COTS are known at time of Solicitation and RFP. Product feature and functionality assurance are emphasized during Solicitation, Source Selection, and Delivery phases of the process.
A combination of computer instructions and data definitions that enable computer hardware to perform computational or control functions.
Means computer programs, computer databases, and related documentation
Some standard connection technologies used by EIT, often to connect with assistive technologies, include:
- Parallel ports, PS 2 mouse and keyboard connectors, Computer expansion slots
- Serial ports: legacy connectors that have served as a general-purpose lower speed interconnection. Their behavior and characteristics are well known and stable. Older devices, or newer customized ones, are often equipped with a serial port although the USB and wireless technologies are rapidly making serial ports obsolete.
- PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association): PCMCIA slots are an older technology developed for laptop computers. They provide both high-speed connection and the ability to house additional functions directly inside the laptop. The cards that plug into these slots provide disk drive, networking, and modem features. PCMCIA slots and cards are convenient and quick where minimizing the size of add-ons is important. (Note: PCMCIA cards are rapidly giving way to Cardbus PC cards that are physically identical but electrically superior.
- USB (Universal Serial Bus): The USB and its ports were developed to provide a single point-of-connection for the growing number of quick-connect and-disconnect peripheral devices. These include printers, mice, scanners, hard drives, microphones, networks, and almost everything that is connected to a computer.
- Wireless connections: Wireless (RF and infrared) connections are quickly taking root and provide a particularly convenient connection mechanism or bus for people with physical, visual, and cognitive disabilities. Bluetooth, Wireless USB, 802.11, and other technologies fall in this category. Assistive technology has usually lagged behind other technologies in this area. The advantages may change this in the near future.
Controls which operate through sensing a person’s touch.
Contract Administration Personnel
Once a contract is in place, responsible to maintain the contract and its deliverables through the contract life cycle.
Means a person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings. The term includes certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer. "Administrative contracting officer (ACO)" refers to a contracting officer who is administering contracts. "Termination contracting officer (TCO)" refers to a contracting officer who is settling terminated contracts. A single contracting officer may be responsible for duties in any or all of these areas. Reference in this regulation (48 CFR Chapter 1) to administrative contracting officer or termination contracting officer does not-
(1) Require that a duty be performed at a particular office or activity; or
(2) Restrict in any way a contracting officer in the performance of any duty properly assigned.
Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR)
A federal government official serving as the technical representative for the Program Contracting Officer.
Contracting Officer Representative (COR)
A federal government official serving as the representative for the Program Contracting Officer.
An interface element that the user can manipulate to perform an action, select an option, or set a value. Software examples include buttons, sliders, and combo boxes.
Custom EIT Product
EIT product functionality developed to specification.
Custom EIT Solution
A custom EIT Solution requires significant design and development time or significant customization during deployment. The features and functional characteristics may not be known at time of Solicitation and RFP. In-process assurance of Section 508 conformance are emphasized over product features or testing during Solicitation, Source Selection, and the development parts of the Delivery phase of the process.
Table used to represent tabular information.
unit of relative sound intensity, abbreviated dB.
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS)
Additional regulations on federal acquisition that apply to the Department of Defense, as a supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
Desktop and Portable Computers
These Section 508 technical requirements apply to personal computers(desktop, notebook, portable, including displays). These requirements also apply to handhelds, workstations, and servers. Desktop and portable computers have become ubiquitous in our society. They perform a wide range of tasks, from information gathering, processing, and retrieval to real-time control of machinery and facilities. Still, developments in technology are leading to a blurring of features between computers and telecommunications, video, multimedia, standalone software, and other technologies. As a result, a computer or computer system may provide telecommunication, multimedia, and Web functionality and would therefore have to comply with or conform to the provisions in those sections as well (in addition to 1194.31, Functional performance criteria). Standard input and output interfaces are important to all computer users to allow them to connect a variety of software and peripherals to address the wide range of applications. The standard industry interfaces have also been important to people with disabilities by providing a means to link their assistive technology to the computer and software. The ability of computers to link to other devices via standard ports, connectors, and interfaces provides significant capability and cost benefits. These interconnection points are standard for most desktop and portable computers. Some industry standard interfaces have remained a constant over the past several decades, while others have come and gone. Parallel ports, the standard for printer connection for many years, finally appear to be giving way to Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. Serial ports are going much the same way as parallel ports. As the personal computer of choice has evolved from a desktop machine, to a laptop machine, and now in many cases to notebook or hand-held size, the importance of minimizing the number and size of interfaces has grown. It remains to be seen whether one of the current interfaces, such as USB or wireless (radio frequency (RF) and infrared), will be prevalent in the future or whether something new become the de facto interconnection standard. In general, connectivity aspects of interoperability are greatly facilitated by the existence of interface standards that are followed by both assistive technology and personal computer manufacturers. The recent trend toward the development of interoperability standards (hardware and software) at all levels can have a similar impact on overall assistive technology–information technology interoperability.
Digital Television Display
Any device that displays digital television signals, including standard digital and HD television displays These display devices also include projectors that have digital video input and include digital TV display circuitry, and computers that display digital television signals.
Digital Television Tuner
Any device that receives digital television signals, including standard digital and HD television receivers.
The display part of a monitor. Most display screens work under the same principle as a television, using a cathode ray tube (CRT). Consequently, the term CRT is often used in place of display screen.
Document Object Model (DOM)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Document Object Model (DOM) is an API that can be implemented on various operating systems and in many programming languages. It provides programmatic access to hypertext markup language (HTML) and extensible markup language (XML)-based content through a set of interfaces representing a tree structure and a set of events that allow interaction.
Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF)
Tones are those used by touch-tone phones for tone dialing.
E-Gov is a strategy to integrate agency operations and information technology investments. It includes a number of initiatives to eliminate redundant systems and significantly improve the government’s quality of customer service for citizens and businesses. E-Gov initiatives include:
- eCatalogs will provide a common on-line access to GWACS/MACS contracts. Longer-term, it will provide consolidated eCatalogs for all federal customers and establish a common framework for consolidated viewing and government purchasing.
- Business Partner Network (BPN) will provide a single point of registration and validation of supplier data accessed by all agencies using the current Central Contractor Registration (CCR)as the foundation.
- Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG) redesigns the existing Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and provides a central point for consolidated collection and access of statistical and management information related to government acquisitions.
- Intra-Governmental Transactions (IGT) will transform inter-governmental ordering and billing to enable universal electronic processes, reduce payment and collection problems, and enable swift and accurate revenue and expense elimination processes for preparing consolidated financial statements.
- Standard eTransactions establishes standard glossary and vocabulary to facilitate exchange of data between and within agencies.
Electronic and Information Technology (EIT or EIT)
Definition of EIT from Access Board Standard:
Includes information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. The term electronic and information technology includes, but is not limited to, telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks and transaction machines, World Wide Web sites, multimedia, and office equipment such as copiers and fax machines. The term does not include any equipment that contains embedded information technology that is used as an integral part of the product, but the principal function of which is not the acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. For example, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment such as thermostats or temperature control devices, and medical equipment where information technology is integral to its operation, are not information technology.
EIT Labor Hours Deliverable
Delivering labor hours on specified EIT-related activities, including operation, maintenance and / or support of ongoing EIT activities.
A contracted service that may produce a deliverable which is or relates to Electronic and Information Technology.
Types of services related to EIT include:
- General Information Services- expertise, consultation, research or other knowledge-based services that deliver information content in many different forms
- EIT Development Services- generally the design and development of custom EIT product deliverables. This includes the development of custom software, web-enabled applications and customized websites, as well as development of custom EIT hardware components, telecommunications equipment, including associated information, documentation and support. Also includes specific enhancements to existing EIT hardware / software.
- EIT Integration Services - composing various EIT components into a custom EIT system deliverable
- EIT Operations and Maintenance Services- providing management, operations and support of ongoing EIT functions, including the delivery of EIT functionality for end users, system performance, maintenance, monitoring and management of EIT-related activities. Developing new EIT is beyond the scope of typical Operations and Maintenance Services.
- EIT Testing / Validation Services- delivering quality assurance and remediation for existing EIT.
- Training Services- develop or provide training.
- On-Site Support Services- providing on-site management, operations and support of ongoing and new EIT functions including design, development, and delivery of EIT functionality for end users, EIT system performance assurance, maintenance, monitoring and management of EIT-related activities.
The basic types of EIT-related Service deliverables are identified.
EIT-related Service Deliverable
- Information Content Deliverable- Delivering information content in many different formats, including delivered documents, reports, videos, and multimedia productions.
- Custom EIT Product- Delivery of EIT product functionality developed to specification, including design and development of integrated EIT systems or solutions.
- EIT Labor Hours Deliverable - Delivering labor hours on specified EIT-related activities, including operation, maintenance and / or support of ongoing EIT activities.
Responsible to provide market research data related to Section 508 accessibility requirements, to respond to RFP during solicitation, and if selected to establish a contract with the Program Contracting Officer. Also, responsible to provide the EIT product/service and to maintain the EIT throughout the contract lifecycle.
Exceptions to Section 508 Requirements
Unless an exception at FAR 39.204 applies, acquisitions of EIT supplies and services must meet the applicable accessibility standards at 36 CFR part 1194. The exceptions in 39.204 include —
- Micro-purchases, prior to April 1, 2005. However, for micro-purchases, contracting officers and other individuals designated in accordance with 1.603-3 are strongly encouraged to conform to the applicable accessibility standards to the maximum extent practicable;
- EIT for a national security system;
- EIT acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract;
- EIT located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair or occasional monitoring of equipment; and
- EIT that would impose an undue burden on the agency.
According to the Law (29 U.S.C. 794d) "each Federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service" must consider Section 508 for all EIT procurements. No agency is "exempt" from Section 508. However, under certain conditions, there might be exceptions from applying Section 508 standards to EIT procurements. See General Exceptions
Existing Contract Vehicles
Contract vehicles already in place that allow the federal government to engage a vendor using an existing mechanism, rather than going through an open solicitation using a Request For Proposal (RFP).Examples of common existing contract vehicles include the GSA Schedule and GWACs.
Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET)
Is a government system that provides user access, employs nationally and internationally recognized data formats, and allows the electronic data interchange of acquisition information between the private sector and the federal government.
Federal Acquisition Council (FAC)
The Federal Acquisition Council consists of a diverse group of acquisition professionals in the Executive Branch established to provide a senior level forum for monitoring and improving the federal acquisition system. The Council promotes effective business practices that ensure the timely delivery of best value products and services to the agencies, achieve public policy objectives, and further integrity, fairness, competition, and openness in the federal acquisition system. The Council works closely with the Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to promote these business practices in the acquisition system.
Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI)
FAI is the primary research, education and training, career and change management resource for acquisition personnel. It partners with federal executive agencies, the Defense Acquisition University, training providers, and universities to assist the acquisition workforce. It has recently been transferred from GSA to SRA International.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
Official document of policies and procedures for acquisition that is used by all executive agencies. The FAR was established to codify uniform policies for acquisition of supplies and services by executive agencies. Statutory authorities to issue and revise the FAR have been delegated to the Procurement Executives in DOD, GSA and NASA.
Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council)
The FAR Council, which was established in 1990, manages and oversees the maintenance of the FAR.
A recent recommendation from the experience of E-Gov is the need for a Federal Enterprise Architecture. The FEA provides a framework for the relationship between business functions and the technologies and information that support these functions. The FEA consists of a set of agency-independent reference models:
- Business Reference Model (BRM) - representing lines of business and internal functions;
- Performance Reference Model (PRM) - identify and measure improvement opportunities spanning traditional organization boundaries;
- Service Component Reference Model (SCRM) - Information Technology (IT) and business components;
- Technical Reference Model (TRM) - standards, specifications, and technologies; and
- Data Reference Model (DRM) - a model of the information content and data flows.
The FEA maintenance and upkeep process is greatly facilitated through the use of an Internet-based automated EA repository and analysis tool - the Federal Enterprise Architecture Management System (FEAMS).
Federal Enterprise Architecture Management System (FEAMS)
An internet-based automated repository and analysis tool for maintenance and upkeep of the Federal Enterprise Architecture(FEA). In the future, agencies will be given access to FEAMS and use it in both capital planning and architecture development efforts.
Federal Government Officials
Federal government officials involved in specifying EIT requirements definition might include:
- Contract Administration Personnel
- Contracting Officer
- Contracting Officer Representative (COR)
- Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR)
- Government Technical Representative (GTR)
- Government Technical Evaluator (GTE)
- Government Technical Monitor (GTM)
- Program Management
- Project Management
- Requiring Official, a.k.a. Program Officer, Requesting Official
- Technical Experts
Federal IT Accessibility Initiative (FITAI)
Federal government interagency effort to offer information and technical assistance to assist in the successful implementation of Section 508.
Federal Procurement Data Center (FPDC)
The Federal Procurement Data Center (FPDC) is an organization responsible for operation of the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).
Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)
The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) collects historical and statistical information about the government's procurement contracts. This is done primarily to meet the information needs of the Congress and to, a lesser degree, federal agencies and the public.
Federal Supply Service (FSS)
FSS is one of the three Service Organizations of the GSA. It has five primary business lines:
Acquisition: Access to more than 4 million services and products and direct buying relationships with many commercial partners. Products from Information Technology (IT) hardware, office supplies and copier paper to systems furniture and laboratory equipment. Services, from management, financial, engineering, environmental, accounting, graphic design to landscaping.
- GSA Global Supply: Has over 7,000 items in stock.
- Travel and Transportation
- Vehicle Acquisition and Leasing Services
Property Management: GSA disposes of real property (land and buildings) and personal property (furniture, computers, equipment, and vehicles).
Federal Technology Service (FTS)
Experienced contracting officers and technical specialists who help requiring officials define what they need in terms of Information Technology and the best ways to get it.
A user interface element that appears within an electronic form field.
An interface element that has an intentional cyclic variation in display.
An unintentional and undesirable cyclic variation in display of a screen image.
Functional Performance Criteria -- Subpart C
Definition of Subpart C -- Functional Performance Criteria of the Access Board standard for Section 508.
Text that when read conveys an accurate message as to what is being displayed by the script or that describes what action will be performed.
Exceptions to the explicit requirements on EIT placed by the Access Board standard. Under certain conditions, there might be exceptions from applying Section 508 standards to EIT procurements. In this step the Wizard helps determine if any general exceptions apply and may assist in proper documentation of the exception as required by most agencies.
General exceptions to Section 508 are exceptions to the explicit accessibility requirements placed on EIT by the Access Board standards.These exceptions are generally based on characteristics of the requiring program or the context in which the technology will be used. They include EIT used in national security systems,items used strictly in the "back office", and items obtained by a contractor incidental to the contract. The Micro-purchase exception has been removed as of April 1, 2005.
General Acquisition Process
Implied by the FAR and the Access Board standards, this process may be viewed as four major phases:
GNOME Accessibility Framework
GNOME is a free, open source, graphical desktop for UNIX and GNU/Linux systems. https://wiki.gnome.org/Accessibility
Anyone and everyone in Federal Agency is or can be a Government Buyer. As soon as you decide you want to procure something, regardless of your grade level or position description, you become the "Government Buyer". Government Buyer refers to anyone describing deliverable(s) for a solicitation of any type including Credit card purchases. Types of solicitations include Invitation for Bids, Request for Quotes and Request for Proposals as well as Indefinite Quantity Contracts and associated Task/Work Orders.
For example, a secretary ordering a fax machine or a statistician ordering software is a Government Buyer. As long as you are in the process of buying something or considering a purchase, you are a Government Buyer. If you are a Government Buyer you may have several different types of responsibilities where you need a knowledge and understanding of Section 508 Standards.
Government Product / Service Accessibility Template (GPAT)
The GPAT is a solicitation documentation tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard. The GPAT is a simple tool produced by the BuyAccessible Wizard to assist Federal contracting and procurement officials in fulfilling the market research requirements associated with Section 508 regulations. The GPAT is intended as a form to be included with government solicitations, to be filled out by solicitation respondents as a part of their proposal to indicate how their proposed solution addresses the applicable Section 508 requirements. The GPAT is organized as a series of ten tables. The first eight tables reflect accessibility information about EIT products, corresponding to the six technical sections, the functional performance criteria, and the requirements for information, documentation, and support as defined in the Access Board Standard for Section 508. The ninth and tenth tables correspond to accessibility information about information content deliverables and labor hours, respectively.
GovernmentWide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC)
Means a task-order or delivery-order contract for information technology established by one agency for government wide use that is operated-
(1) By an executive agent designated by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to Section 5112(e) of the Clinger-Cohen Act, 40 U.S.C. 1412(e); or
(2) Under a delegation of procurement authority issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) prior to August 7, 1996, under authority granted GSA by the Brooks Act, 40 U.S.C. 759 (repealed by Pub. L. 104-106).
The Economy Act does not apply to orders under a GWAC.
GSA Advantage! is an electronic online shopping and ordering system. It provides online access to thousands of contractors and millions of services and products. It is available to federal government employees with a government wide SmartPay purchase card or a GSA Activity Address Code.
GSA Capital Planning Resources
Capital Planning is an integrated management process, including selection, control, life-cycle management and evaluation of IT investments to achieve business outcomes. It is the yearly budget planning process that frames the individual IT procurements during the fiscal year. GAO also has a role in defining the model for capital planning. Includes both an Information Technology Council that provides technical review of information projects and Business Technology Council that makes a final decision regarding the mix of new and ongoing projects for the upcoming budget year. Publications include:
- IT Capital Planning and Investment Guide;
- Best Practice Assessment;
- Implementing Best Practice;
- Capital Programming Guide.
The GSA Schedule (a.k.a. Multiple Award Schedules - MAS) Program is long-term government wide contracts with commercial firms that provide over 4 million commercial services and products that can be ordered directly from GSA Schedule contractors or through GSA Advantage!. MAS contracts are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts available to all federal agencies worldwide.
The international unit of frequency, equal to one cycle per second, abbreviation Hz.
"(b) This part does not apply to electronic and information technology that is acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract." That is, the products a contractor develops, procures, maintains, or uses which are not specified as part of a contract with a federal agency are not required to comply with this part. For example, a consulting firm that enters into a contract with a federal agency to produce a report is not required to procure accessible computers and word processing software to produce the report regardless of whether those products were used exclusively for the government contract or used on both government and non-government related activities since the purpose of the contract was to procure a report. Similarly, if a firm is contracted to develop a web site for a federal agency, the web site created must fully conform with this part, but the firm's own web site would not be covered.
Incremental Volume Control
Volume control that allows more than one step between minimum and maximum levels. The size of the increment may be small enough to effectively provide a continuous, or variable, volume control.
Individual Display Attribute
A visual display characteristic that has a user selectable setting.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Any information technology, equipment, or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment for which the principal function is the creation, conversion, duplication, automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data or information. Examples of ICT are electronic content, telecommunications products, computers and ancillary equipment, software, information kiosks and transaction machines, videos, IT services, and multifunction office machines which copy, scan, and fax documents.
Semantic representations of knowledge and data, including delivered documents and reports in many formats.
Information Content Deliverable
Delivering information content in many different formats, including delivered documents, reports, videos, and multimedia productions.
Information Technology Integrated Planning System (I-TIPS)
Government owned (CIO Council) software application. I-TIPS is an innovative web-based decision support and project management tool for controlling information technology investments. I-TIPS is a tool that is used in conjunction with an existing IT capital planning process in order to strengthen and improve an organization’s IT capital planning process.
Information, Documentation, and Support -- Subpart D
Information, Documentation, and Support requirements are defined in Subpart D of the Access Board standard for Section 508. In order for a product to be fully usable by persons with disabilities, the information about the product and product support services must also be usable by persons with disabilities. These issues are addressed in this section of the Access Board Standard.
- Paragraph (a) states that when an agency provides end-user documentation to users of technology, the agency must ensure that the documentation is available upon request in alternate formats.
- Paragraph (b) requires that agencies supply end-users with information about accessibility or compatibility features that are built-into a product, upon request.
- Paragraph (c) provides that help desks and other support services serving an agency must be capable of accommodating the communications needs of persons with disabilities.
Means any equipment, or interconnected system(s) or subsystem(s) of equipment, that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information by the agency.
(1) For purposes of this definition, equipment is used by an agency if the equipment is used by the agency directly or is used by a contractor under a contract with the agency that requires-
(i) Its use; or
(ii) To a significant extent, its use in the performance of a service or the furnishing of a product.
(2) The term "information technology" includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.
(3) The term "information technology" does not include any equipment that-
(i) Is acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract; or
(ii) Contains imbedded information technology that is used as an integral part of the product, but the principal function of which is not the acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. For example, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment, such as thermostats or temperature control devices, and medical equipment where information technology is integral to its operation, are not information technology.
Java™ Accessibility is provided by the Java Accessibility API and additional facilities, all of which are either built into the Java platform directly or available for download at no charge. The Java Accessibility API is a cross platform, toolkit-independent API designed to give assistive technologies direct access to the information in user interface objects. It facilitates the development of accessible applications and enables assistive technologies, such as screen readers or speech recognition technology, to provide alternative presentation and control of the user’s interaction with software. The API defines a contract between the user-interface components that make up a Java-based application and an assistive technology that is providing access to that application. Because the Java Accessibility API is built into the user-interface components of the Java Foundation Classes, the millions of developers using the JFC/Swing toolkit to build their applications automatically gain accessibility support directly from the development environment. Java-based applications run on a wide variety of host operating systems, many of which already have assistive technologies available for them (for example, Macintosh, OS/2, Windows). For these existing assistive technologies to provide access to programs written in the Java language, they need a bridge between their native environment and the accessibility support built into the Java platform. The Java Access Bridge for Microsoft Windows has been adopted by a number of popular screen reader and screen magnifier products, making Java-based applications running on the Windows platform accessible to low-vision and blind users. The same technology used in the Access Bridge for Windows is now being used in the development of a similar facility for Java-based applications running on the GNOME desktop. Source code is freely available to serve as a model for the development of additional Access Bridges for other user environments. http://www.sun.com/access/index.html, https://www-03.ibm.com/able/guidelines/java/snsjavagaccapi.html
Java™ Access Bridge
Some Web-based applications written in Java are compatible with the Java Access Bridge for Windows. Assistive technology products that are also compatible with the Bridge can use the Java Access Bridge to link assistive technology to applications. http://java.sun.com/products/accessbridge/
Performing specific EIT-related activities in order to achieve specified objectives and goals.
GNU/Linux lets the assistive technology or software developer make changes to the actual operating system in order to provide its users with the desired information. GNU/Linux-based operating systems separate the operating system from the user interface. Hence, in theory, one could provide a fully accessible UI without the underlying system ever knowing the difference. There are also many useful text-based applications that perform admirably in the GNU/Linux world. The GNU/Linux operating system treats textual output to the screen as a file and writes to it as if it were a disk. Thus, the interception of this information is relatively simple, letting the assistive technology developer concentrate on delivering the data rather than collecting it. The screen is not the only component that is treated like a file on Linux. Every process as well as every device, directory, and disk is treated as a single file. One can read and write to these processes as desired. As a final note, there are many techniques that a GNU/Linux-based assistive technology product might use that would minimize its impact on the running application, all the while gathering data for its users.
Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA)
The Microsoft Active Accessibility interface is included in the Windows operating system. It was designed to provide a standard interface for assistive technology as well as a standard interface for applications built on the Windows operating system. It is built into all of the common controls that are incorporated into the operating system as well as a component object model (COM) interface and application programming elements that provide reliable methods for exposing information about user interface elements for custom controls. Using this information, assistive technology vendors can represent the UI in alternative formats, such as speech or Braille, and voice command-and-control applications; other alternative input products can remotely manipulate the interface. In the Microsoft Windows environment, some Web-based applications support MSAA assistive technology products that are MSAA-enabled and that can deliver this information to their users. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms971310.aspx
Micro-purchase means an acquisition of supplies or services using simplified acquisition procedures, the aggregate amount of which does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold.
Micro-purchase threshold means $3,000, except it means ...
- For acquisitions of construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act, $2,000;
- For acquisitions of services subject to the Service Contract Act, $2,500; and
- For acquisitions of supplies or services that, as determined by the head of the agency, are to be used to support a contingency operation or to facilitate defense against or recovery from nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, as described in 13.201(g)(1), except for construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act (41 U.S.C. 428a)???
- $15,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, inside the United States; and
- $25,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, outside the United States.
NOTE: This Micro-purchase exception was removed effective April 1, 2005.: The Final FAR Rule for Implementing Section 508 of the Rehab Act Electronic an exception for micro-purchases in recognition of the fact that almost all micro-purchases are made using the government wide commercial purchase card. Government personnel, who are not warranted contracting officers, use the purchase card to purchase commercial-off-the-shelf items. Use of the purchase card makes it generally impractical to comply with the EIT accessibility standards unless commercial-off-the-shelf products are labeled for standards conformance. Manufacturers continue to develop products that conform to the EIT accessibility standards, and this trend is expected to continue, and the exception was removed as noted above. The current micro-purchase threshold (defined in the FAR 2.101) is $3000. GSA has recommended that agencies modify cardholder training to remind purchase cardholders of EIT accessibility requirements.
Another term for display screen. The term monitor, however, usually refers to the entire box, whereas display screen can mean just the screen. In addition, the term monitor often implies graphics capabilities. There are many ways to classify monitors. The most basic is in terms of color capabilities, which separates monitors into three classes:
- Monochrome: Monochrome monitors actually display two colors, one for the background and one for the foreground. The colors can be black and white, green and black, or amber and black.
- Gray-scale: A gray-scale monitor is a special type of monochrome monitor capable of displaying different shades of gray.
- Color:Color monitors can display anywhere from 16 to over 1 million different colors. Color monitors are sometimes called RGB monitors because they accept three separate signals -- red, green, and blue.
After this classification, the most important aspect of a monitor is its screen size. Like televisions, screen sizes are measured in diagonal inches, the distance from one corner to the opposite corner diagonally. A typical size for small VGA monitors is 14 inches. Monitors that are 16 or more inches diagonally are often called full-page monitors. In addition to their size, monitors can be either portrait (height greater than width) or landscape (width greater than height). Larger landscape monitors can display two full pages, side by side. The screen size is sometimes misleading because there is always an area around the edge of the screen that can't be used. Therefore, monitor manufacturers must now also state the viewable area -- that is, the area of screen that is actually used. The resolution of a monitor indicates how densely packed the pixels are. In general, the more pixels (often expressed in dots per inch), the sharper the image. Most modern monitors can display 1024 by 768 pixels, the SVGA standard. Some high-end models can display 1280 by 1024, or even 1600 by 1200. Another common way of classifying monitors is in terms of the type of signal they accept: analog or digital. Nearly all modern monitors accept analog signals, which is required by the VGA, SVGA, 8514/A, and other high-resolution color standards. A few monitors are fixed frequency, which means that they accept input at only one frequency. Most monitors, however, are multi scanning, which means that they automatically adjust themselves to the frequency of the signals being sent to it. This means that they can display images at different resolutions, depending on the data being sent to them by the video adapters. Other factors that determine a monitor's quality include the following:
- bandwidth : The range of signal frequencies the monitor can handle. This determines how much data it can process and therefore how fast it can refresh at higher resolutions.
- refresh rate: How many times per second the screen is refreshed (redrawn). To avoid flickering, the refresh rate should be at least 72 Hz.
- interlaced or non interlaced: Interlacing is a technique that enables a monitor to have more resolution, but it reduces the monitor's reaction speed.
- dot pitch : The amount of space between each pixel. The smaller the dot pitch, the sharper the image.
Multi-Agency Contracts (MAC)
Means a task-order or delivery-order contract established by one agency for use by Government agencies to obtain supplies and services, consistent with the Economy Act (see 17.500(b)). Multi-agency contracts include contracts for information technology established pursuant to Section 5124(a)(2) of the Clinger-Cohen Act, 40 U.S.C. 1424(a)(2).
Mechanically Operated Control
An operable control activated by a mechanical motion that is detectable.
A production that presents information in more than one sensory channel.
Multiple Award Schedules (MAS)
The Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program is commonly referred to as the GSA Schedule. MAS contracts are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts available to all federal agencies worldwide.
National Security System
Section 508 does not apply to national security systems, as that term is defined in Section 5142 of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (40 U.S.C. 1452).
National Security System Exception
Definition of National Security System Section 508 exception from Access Board standard: "(a) This part does not apply to any electronic and information technology operated by agencies, the function, operation, or use of which involves intelligence activities, cryptologic activities related to national security, command and control of military forces, equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons system, or systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions. Systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions do not include a system that is to be used for routine administrative and business applications (including payroll, finance, logistics, and personnel management applications)."
A unit of force, 22 N = 5 lbs.
Any element that is not presented in electronically readable text and that conveys meaning that is required for comprehension of content or to facilitate navigation. (e.g., an image, image of text, graphic, audio clip, or other element).
Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP)
OFPP's primary responsibilities include:
- Prescribing government-wide procurement policies that must be followed by Executive agencies;
- Providing leadership and assuring agency action in the development and maintenance of the single system of simplified procurement regulations, know as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR);
- Coordinating the development of government-wide procurement systems standards to be implemented by Executive agencies;
- Providing leadership and coordination in the formulation of Executive branch positions on procurement-related legislation;
- Overseeing the collection, development, and dissemination of procurement data through the Federal Procurement Data System;
- Overseeing the Federal Acquisition Institute which is charged with supporting and continuing development of competent, professional workforce;
- Developing innovative procurement methods and procedures to be tested by selected executive agencies; and
- Advising the President and the Congress on matters relating to procurement.
OMB Circular No. A-11 Section 300, Exhibit 300
Exhibit 300, the “Capital Asset Plan and Business Case”, is a form to be filled out that requires detailed information about the justification, performance goals and measures, management, alternatives, risk, acquisition strategy, and project plan. It also requires additional business case criteria for Information Technology related to the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA).
A component of a product that requires physical contact for normal operation. Operable controls include, but are not limited to, mechanically operated controls, input and output trays, card slots, keyboards, or keypads.
The software that controls the allocation and usage of hardware resources and peripheral devices. The operating system is responsible for allocating system resources, including memory, processor time, disk space, and peripheral devices such as printers, modems, and the monitor. The operating system is the foundation system software on which application programs depend. All application programs use the OS to gain access to these system resources as they are needed. The OS is the first program loaded into the computer as it boots, and it remains in memory at all times thereafter. DOS, OS/2, Windows 9x& 2000, Unix and Linux are all examples of operating systems.
Past Performance Database
A central past-performance records database for use government wide. Started by DOD, NASA, and NIH, working with OFPP and GSA, use of the system is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged.
Also known as a peripheral, a computer device, such as a CD-ROM drive or printer that is not part of the essential computer, i.e., the memory and microprocessor. Peripheral devices can be external -- such as a mouse, keyboard, printer, monitor, external Zip drive or scanner -- or internal, such as a CD-ROM drive, CD-R drive or internal modem. A peripheral device is any of a variety of hardware equipment that enables the computer to perform additional functions. A peripheral device is said to be online when it is in direct communication with a computer's central processing unit.
Use of two digits, usually thumb and forefinger, to apply pressure to opposite sides of an object.
A plug-in is a program that runs as part of the user agent and that is not part of content. Users generally choose to include or exclude plug-ins from their user agent. Note these add-on programs or "plug-ins" can be downloaded and installed on the user's computer that makes it possible for their web browsers to display or play the content of the files with proprietary formats when these file(s) is (are) included as a part of the web page.
Preferred product/vendor list
These agency-specific "preferred lists" are used to help identify EIT products and/or services that are considered to satisfy the accessibility requirements of the Section 508 Standard. They have been established within several different agencies, including NSA. An example is the USPS Infrastructure Tool Kit (ITK) - the standard suite of approved software products to be used across all U.S. Postal Service facilities for the use in all development, support and maintenance activities.
Production (multimedia, video)
The end product of the process of producing a video or multimedia presentation. This is distinct from the in-process data (video or multimedia ‘raw footage’) acquired in preparation or development of a final production.
Policy makers (including Section 508 Coordinators), legal roles, and metrics measurement (e.g. DoJ survey).
Definition about Program Requirements. Section 508 applicability must be assessed together with program requirements. The physical and functional characteristics of the EIT and its intended use to meet program requirements determine which specific technical provisions of the Section 508 standards apply.
Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998
Part of the Workforce Reinvestment Act. Among other objectives, expanded and strengthened Section 508 by creating binding, enforceable standards for technology accessibility and incorporating these standards into the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. This law applies to programs conducted by federal agencies, those receiving federal funds (such as colleges participating in federal student loan programs) federal employment, and employment practices of businesses with federal contracts.
Pertinent, germane, applicable. Having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.
Repetitive Navigation Links
A set of routine navigation links that appear on the top or the side on a web page.
Sometimes called Program Officer or Requesting Official. Charged with determining: program needs, Section 508 relevance and exceptions, and specific Section 508 technical and performance requirements. Responsible for conducting market research on accessibility of available EIT. Must also provide RFP language for solicitation, assist in choosing the best proposal during source selection, and conduct inspection and acceptance during EIT delivery.
See GSA Schedule.
A programming language that is used to manipulate, customize, and automate the facilities of an existing system. Note this provision only refers to the use of scripting languages for creating and displaying dynamic web content.
Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Requires manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and software to ensure that such equipment is accessible for persons with disabilities.
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act
Mandates non-discrimination by the federal government in its hiring practices and requires affirmative action in hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs that receive federal funds.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
Requires electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to persons with disabilities. Link to Section 508 - the law.
Section 508 Applicability
Definition of Section 508 Applicability: Section 508 Applicability is the second step in Needs Assessment, the first phase in a general process for Section 508 compliance. What is 508 Applicability all about? Section 508 and the Access Board standards apply to Federal agencies in acquiring, developing, maintaining, or using EIT. This legislation is incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR requires those purchasing EIT to identify the Section 508 standards that apply to the procurement. This responsibility cannot be passed on to vendors. The functional performance criteria and the requirements for information, documentation, and support apply to all EIT acquisitions, but not all technical provisions apply to all EIT. The technical provisions are organized according to six product groups. Some have been confused thinking that an EIT product can only fall into one group. They have spent considerable time trying to determine, for example, whether a personal digital assistant is a self contained, closed product or a desktop and portable computer. EIT development has evolved many multi-functional products, and increasingly more functionality is available via networks that can affect accessibility. Many EIT products contain software applications. For example, a PDA contains software and therefore is most like a computer. Many computer products have video and multimedia built in. The functions needed to accomplish the work to be performed ultimately determine which specific technical provisions apply as accessibility requirements on an EIT acquisition. For example, where a telephone on a desk will do, the provisions for telecommunications products would apply. If a cell phone is needed, additional provisions from software applications and operating systems, and Web-based intranet and Internet information and applications may also apply. Identifying the specific Section 508 requirements that apply for particular EIT focuses subsequent market research and forms a basis for explicit requirements on EIT providers later during Solicitation.
Section 508 Compliance
Definition of Section 508 compliance. From Section508.gov, FAQs: Does Section 508, as implemented by the Access Board's standards and the FAR, impose the same obligations on agencies and contractors? No. Although the FAR uses the term "compliance" with respect to both agencies and contractors, the nature of their respective responsibilities differs. Agencies are responsible for complying with Section 508 as a whole, including identification of applicable Access Board technical provisions and making non-availability and exception determinations. Contractors interested in selling EIT to the federal government are responsible for designing and manufacturing products which meet the applicable Access Board's technical provisions.
Section 508 Conformance
Adherence by an EIT product or service to the specific requirements placed on it by the Access Board standard.
Section 508 Coordinator
Federal Section 508 Coordinators are responsible for organizing and supporting the implementation of Section 508 within their respective departments and agencies and are appointed by their department/agency as the central point of contact for information concerning accessibility issues and solutions.
Section 508 Relevance
- Intended need: Does Section 508 Apply to the current/anticipated EIT purchase. This step helps determine the agency's EIT program requirements and existing technical environment.
- General Exceptions: Can I be exempt from Section 508?
According to the Law (29 U.S.C. 794d) each Federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service, must consider Section 508 for all EIT procurements. No agency is "exempt" from Section 508. However, under certain conditions, there might be exceptions from applying Section 508 standards to EIT procurements. In this Step, the Wizard helps determine if any general exceptions apply and may assist in proper documentation of the exception as required by most agencies.
Section 508 Relevance is about determining whether Section 508 applies or not. For an EIT purchase to be Section 508 relevant, the product, system or subsystem must:
- meet the definition of electronic and information technology
- directly interface with a user or users
- not meet the criteria of a general exception
It is not always clear at the outset if a purchase includes EIT subject to Section 508. There are two important factors that help to distinguish products subject to Section 508 from those that are not. One is from the definition of EIT, namely that the product must include intelligence used to create, convert or duplicate data or information. This eliminates products such as cables, power cords, Ethernet cards and hubs, switch boxes, video splitters, etc. that are often used with computers, video and multimedia, information kiosks, and telecommunications products. The second factor is that the EIT must interact with a user (or users), whether or not that user has a disability. Most electronic devices use intelligence, typically embedded information technology (hardware, software or Web-based applications). For example, many cell phones are also hand-held computers and web browsers. What determines whether Section 508 might apply to embedded information technology is whether the intended user must interact with this technology to input (create), change (convert, manage, duplicate, move) or use the output (display) data or information.
Secondary Audio Program (SAP)
An auxiliary sound channel that can be transmitted in addition to a television station's main audio channel.
Self-Contained, Closed Products
Definition from Access Board standard: Products that generally have embedded software and are commonly designed in such a fashion that a user cannot easily attach or install assistive technology. These products include, but are not limited to, information kiosks and information transaction machines, copiers, printers, calculators, fax machines, and other similar types of products. These Section 508 technical requirements apply to products that generally have embedded software and are commonly designed in such a fashion that a user cannot easily attach or install assistive technology or will not be permitted to. These products include, but are not limited to, information kiosks and information transaction machines, copiers, printers, calculators, fax machines, and other similar types of products. By definition, a self-contained, closed product is a device unto itself. It is expected to provide all required accessibility as a standalone unit without the support of external assistive technology. Therefore, if a product claims to fall into this category, no interoperability capabilities are mandated for it. However, there are some specific requirements that have implications for assistive technology. Interoperability that goes on internally, between the components of a self-contained closed product, is outside the scope of Section 508. In the commentary on subpart B of Section 1194, it is stated in the introductory paragraph that printers (as well as several other devices) are self-contained, closed products. As an un-integrated device, this is true. But if the printer is to be integrated with an external computer and driver software, the software interfaces to the printer and its drivers would be considered subject to the provisions of 1194.21, Software applications and operating systems.
Small/Minority Businesses (8a) Contract
Each federal agency sets aside a percentage of contract funds for small and disadvantaged businesses. Specific contracts can be set asides for small and disadvantaged business or they can “prefer” such businesses.
SmartBuy is a government-wide enterprise licensing initiative to reduce the government's cost for acquiring commodity software. SmartBuy is initially targeting the large companies that sell large quantities of software to the government.
In simple terms, a software program is a set of instructions for a computer. Software is a generic term for organized collections of computer data and instructions, often broken into two major categories:
- system software that provides the basic non-task-specific functions of the computer, and
- application software which is used by users to accomplish specific tasks.
Software Applications and Operating Systems
These Section 508 technical requirements apply to purchased operating systems and application software programs. These requirements also apply to EIT 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. Operating systems by their nature are intended both to provide services to applications and to keep one application from interfering with others. If applications need to share data, there is often a defined set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow the interaction. Current operating systems and operating system environments offer a variety of conventional accessible application programming interfaces (APIs) and open sources to support application programs and assistive technology. These include:
- GNOME Accessibility Framework (https://wiki.gnome.org/Accessibility) A free, open source, graphical desktop for UNIX and GNU/Linux systems.
- Java™ Accessibility (http://www.sun.com/access/index.html, https://www-03.ibm.com/able/guidelines/java/snsjavag.html#toc). A free, cross platform, toolkit-independent API designed to give assistive technologies direct access to the information in user interface objects. Java-based applications run on a wide variety of host operating systems, many of which already have assistive technologies available for them (for example, Macintosh, OS/2, Windows). For these existing assistive technologies to provide access to programs written in the Java language, they need a bridge between their native environment and the accessibility support built into the Java platform.
- Linux Accessibility (http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/accessibility). The Open Accessibility (A11y) Group functions today within the Linux Foundation to establish free and open standards that enable comprehensive universal access to various computing platforms, applications, and services. Open A11y makes it easier for developers, ISVs, and distributions to support assistive technologies (AT). Assistive technologies enable individuals to make full use of computer-based technology despite variability in physical or sensory abilities due to illness, aging or disability.
- Macintosh Accessibility (http://www.apple.com/accessibility/)
- Microsoft Active Accessibility (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms971310.aspx). MSAA is included in the Windows operating system. It was designed to provide a standard interface for assistive technology as well as a standard interface for applications built on the Windows operating system.
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Document Object Model (http://www.w3.org/2002/07/26-dom-article.html). An API that can be implemented on various operating systems and in many programming languages that provides programmatic access to hypertext markup language (HTML) and extensible markup language (XML)-based content.
Many currently available software applications and assistive technology programs, however, were written prior to the development of APIs. Assistive technology programmers created ingenious, but unique applications, and complementary features and functions that allow users with disabilities to use mainstream software applications successfully. This does not mean that applications and assistive technology cannot and do not work together. It does mean that when they do work together it may be a matter of contrived or accidental compatibility. Until operating systems and software applications, including assistive technology are able to communicate 100% via open source or accessible APIs, interoperability problems will remain.
Means any request to submit offers or quotations to the government. Solicitations under sealed bid procedures are called "invitations for bids." Solicitations under negotiated procedures are called "requests for proposals." Solicitations under simplified acquisition procedures may require submission of either a quotation or an offer.
SSA Section 508 accessibility lab
The Social Security Administration (Accessible Solutions Branch) maintains a laboratory that conducts conformance testing procedures and offers advice on evaluating and buying conforming products.
SSA Section 508 procurement wizard
The Social Security Administration has developed an automated tool that assists program Requiring Officials in the process of documenting a Section 508 determination for procurement, including exceptions to the Section 508 requirements. It also provides access to an archive of prior Section 508 determinations and a listing of all previously approved Section 508 exceptions.
Source Selection is a phase of the general process for federal EIT acquisition where proposals submitted in response to a solicitation are evaluated relative to each other and the documented evaluation criteria to select the winning proposal. Specific evaluation criteria derived from identified Section 508 requirements should be documented in the solicitation as a best practice for Section 508 compliance.
A collection of formatting instructions stored in a file that determines how the layout of the documents to which it is attached are presented (e.g. displayed on screens, printed, or pronounced).
System software is a collection of programs that manages all the concurrent tasks being performed by a computer, including the execution of application software programs. System software is responsible for controlling, integrating, and managing the individual hardware components of a computer system so that other software and the users of the system see it as a functional unit without having to be concerned with the low-level details such as transferring data from memory to disk, or rendering text onto a display. Generally, system software consists of an operating system and some fundamental utilities such as disk formatters, file managers, display managers, text editors, user authentication (login) and management tools, and networking and device control software.
Can be located and distinguished from adjacent objects by touch.
Subject matter experts on accessibility and EIT technology.
Technical Standards -- Subpart B
Definition of Subpart B -- Technical Standards of the Access Board standard for Section 508.
These Section 508 technical requirements apply to purchased telecommunications devices, including wired, analog and digital wireless, and Internet based products. In addition, these requirements also apply to such devices as PBX (in-house electronic exchanger) and telephone answering machines. Several of these requirements have been defined to mandate the successful delivery and availability of Teletypewriter (TTY) services. Domestic TTYs are Baudot-based communications devices used by people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired to communicate over networks designed to carry voice. In other words, if a device can transmit and receive voice over a telecommunications network, then it should be able to support the hookup and successful interoperation of TTY assistive technology. In the U.S., text telecommunications originally developed from teletypewriter systems donated by the Bell System. These devices, which communicated with a five-bit (Baudot) code, were originally designed to be used on dedicated networks. They were adapted for use on the telephone network through the use of a frequency shift keyed modem. TTYs are “instant-on” devices in that, unlike most data modems, do not require any “handshaking”. Tones are placed on the communications path in response to depressed keys on the keyboard. Although they are primarily used as two-way text communications devices, they are also used in an alternating text/voice fashion often through the Telecommunications Relay Service. These requirements address the interaction between telecommunications products and hearing technologies, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. Hearing technologies, used by people who are hard-of-hearing in conjunction with the telephone, pose unique interoperability challenges. The term ‘coupling’ refers to the connection between telecommunications products such as telephones and hearing technologies like hearing aids. Acoustic coupling is where the hearing aid picks up sounds directly from the telephone. Inductive coupling is where the sound of the telephone is turned off, and the hearing aid responds to magnetic signals in the telephone. Acoustic coupling is often ineffective as it is susceptible to noise, poor coupling of the phone earpiece, and acoustic feedback. Today, most landline telephones are, by law, Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) in that they allow inductive coupling with hearing aids rather than rely on an acoustic coupling method. However, with the advent of digital wireless telecommunications, new challenges have arisen for the hearing aid user in the form of interference from the multiplexer in the digital handset. This problem has not yet been completely resolved.
Words added as (electronically readable) text to represent the purpose of a non-text element.
Any information presented using words and characters.
Note that an image of text is considered textual information.
Total value of your acquisition
The aggregate value or total cost of all items contained in the acquisition.
A TTY (Teletypewriter) is a data terminal used for two-way text conversation over a telephone line that sends and receive tones converted to text using ANSI/TIA/EIA 825 and Baudot.
A circuit board that enables a computer to receive television broadcasts.
Significant difficulty or expense. A possible exception to the Section 508 requirements.
From the Final FAR Rule For Implementing Section 508 of the Rehab Act Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities: The Access Board discussed undue burden in its final rule preamble (at 65 FR 80506 of the Federal Register). Substantial case law exists on this term, which comes from disability law. The Access Board chose not to disturb the existing understanding of the term by trying to define it. The FAR Council agrees with this approach. Agencies are required by statute to document the basis for an undue burden. Requiring officials should be aware that when there is an undue burden, the statute requires an alternative means of access to be provided to individuals with disabilities.
The concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest possible range of functional capabilities. This includes products and services that are directly usable (without requiring assistive technologies) and those that are made compatible with assistive technologies.
U. S. Dept. of Education Assistive Technology Program
The Assistive Technology Program provides services including the review of information systems to determine accessibility to the disabled.
U. S. Access Board
See Access Board.
Abbreviated UI, the junction between a user and a computer program. An interface is a set of commands or menus through which a user communicates with a program. A command-driven interface is one in which you enter commands. A menu-driven interface is one in which you select command choices from various menus displayed on the screen. The user interface is one of the most important parts of any program because it determines how easily you can make the program do what you want. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that use windows, icons, and pop-up menus have become standard on personal computers.
User Interface Element
Any component of an application user interface intended to allow the user to access information or perform an action.
Utility software is a set of system software programs that perform routine day-to-day tasks, such as listing or compressing data, copying files, etc.
Video and Multimedia Products
These Section 508 requirements stipulate that accessible alternative representations must be included, decoded, and presented correctly in video and multimedia presentations. These requirements apply to A/V equipment, including both legacy analog type systems as well as newer digital systems. These requirements also apply to personal computers (desktop, notebook, portable, including displays) that contain a television tuner/receiver. Traditional video and multimedia products have been associated with analog tape and network broadcast formats. Solutions surrounding accessibility issues for these formats are well known, documented, and can be found on the WGBH Media Access Group Web Site (http://access.wgbh.org). Audible content is translated into text and converted into closed captioning that is encoded on scan line 21 of the video frame of National Television System Committee (NTSC) broadcast signals. Audio description of important video content is provided through the secondary audio programming (SAP) channel within a standard analog video broadcast signal. With the advent of faster and more powerful computers, current video and multimedia products have evolved with digital technology. This technology allows the video products to be more portable, and it allows more delivery mechanisms. Digital technology can play video and multimedia content locally on a personal computer (PC), but it can also be implemented across an intranet or the Internet. Some solutions for digital multimedia accessibility are well known and documented; others are still evolving. Information is available from the WGBH media access web site, as well as from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)(http://www.w3c.org). For video and multimedia, technology already exists which can help federal agencies meet these accessibility requirements. Agencies can use the tools listed below to make their own multimedia presentations accessible, or can hire a service. Additional information is available from the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (http://www.ITTATC.org/).
- To add captions and audio descriptions to digital multimedia, authors may use various available free tools. Such tools add these accessibility enhancements to media playable in the QuickTime, Real Player, and Windows Media Player formats.
- Players also exist for playing back accessible multimedia. A couple of players support captions and audio descriptions through SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language; http://www.w3.org/audiovideo). Another type of player supports embedding captions and audio descriptions as discrete tracks in the media file itself. Yet another type of player supports closed captions through a proprietary format, but does not openly support audio descriptions (however, they can be provided post production). All three types of media players work to some extent with assistive technology such as screen readers and alternate keyboards. For example, users can control most playback, display, and option functions using menu choices or keyboard shortcuts. In most cases, users can toggle captions and descriptions on and off via a preferences setting or a menu. However, problems still exist for people with disabilities. Some players do not give users full keyboard or menu access to player controls, making it difficult to completely rewind a multimedia presentation or to move in small increments. Some main menus and dialog boxes are not labeled in such a manner that assistive technology, such as screen readers, can properly convey information about objects or functions.
- Analog video may be captioned by any number of captioning agencies. On completing a job for hire, a captioning agency can supply federal agencies with the necessary closed- or open-captioned master videotape that can be used for duplication or broadcast. Those agencies wishing to write and encode closed or open analog captions themselves may purchase the necessary software and hardware from a number of vendors. Care must be taken when making copies of a master videotape so that captioning information is not inadvertently stripped out (and forgotten) in the process. The captioning information must usually be re-entered (encoded) into each copy. Analog video may also be described, but only a professional can do this. No dedicated software currently exists on the commercial market for consumers or federal agencies to record closed analog audio descriptions, but standard scripting and analog recording and sound-mixing technologies can handle the job.
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template
A template for documenting a product or services conformance with accessibility standards. For more information see http://www.itic.org/public-policy/accessibility (a non-government site).
Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications
These Section 508 technical requirements apply to purchased or contracted websites, including the information content as well as any associated applications and plug-ins. These requirements also apply to web-based interfaces to other EIT products or systems, such as web-based interfaces to digital copiers or telecommunications devices (wired, analog and digital wireless, and Internet). Web based information is content provided via Web pages. A Web based application is any application embedded in a Web page that is necessary to fully deliver the content of the page to the user. 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. Most Web interoperability issues deal with the design of Web pages and how effectively they work with assistive technology (such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, Braille readers, and alternate input devices). Assistive technology cannot be employed effectively to convey equivalent information to a user with disabilities if these provisions are not met. Assistive technology products interact with Web-based applications in a variety of ways, depending in great part on the operating system and the language in which the Web-based application is written. For example,
- In the Microsoft Windows environment, some Web-based applications support Microsoft Active Accessibility (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms971310.aspx) assistive technology products.
Web-based applications written in Java are compatible with the Java Access Bridge (http://java.sun.com/products/accessbridge/) for Windows. Assistive technology also using the Java Access Bridge can link to Windows applications.
- If the Web-based application is, in fact, a set of markup content that is coded following accessible markup language (http://www.w3.org/TR/xag.html), assistive technology products will be able to deliver the information to their users.
- Some Web-based applications were designed specifically to interact with a single assistive technology product. These applications will require that the specific assistive technology product be present to be accessible.
- Some Web-based applications provide text-only versions of their products. These are most commonly used in the Linux environment, where the assistive technology products take information from text-based streams and organize the data in a manner that intends to fill the needs of their users.
- If no other methods are available to assistive technology products, they must fall back to rendering the information directly from the screen.
A group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.
Web site accessibility development and authoring tools
There are various HTML authoring tools that provide support designed to help insure that web content produced using the tool meets accessibility requirements. This may relate to an evaluation role in the sense that the use of these development tools during an EIT system development/integration project may provide some assurance during source selection and/or delivery.
Web site accessibility validation and remediation tools
There are various automated tools from a variety of vendors that check web sites for the requirements of specific technical provisions of the Section 508 Standard. Many of these "web site checkers" also provide remediation support for web site accessibility issues that are identified.