Guidelines for measuring conformance with 508 standards

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The web compliance metrics are used to gauge the extent to which government websites are meeting the technical standards.

Why is this important?

The web compliance metrics cover a tangible aspect of Section 508 implementation that can be evaluated using numerical measures. The web compliance metric provide an opportunity for those Agencies who claim they are at the “Resourced” or “Measured” level of maturity for Testing and Validation to report the results of their Section 508 testing activities. Over time, the web compliance metrics should demonstrate the effectiveness of the policies, processes and procedures the Department / Agency has put in place to support Section 508 compliance.

Detailed Calculation Guidelines

The metrics should be reported either against a full baseline (i.e. all web content), or using a sampling method that represents high-risk or key web content areas.  The specific approach to defining the scope for the websites selected should be outlined in the narrative.

The conformance percentage measure can be calculated either: 

  • as a percentage of applicable 508 standards supported vs. not supported for all web pages tested.  

In this case, the total percentage recorded in the report would be: 

  • Calculate the total # of applicable Section 508 standards supported vs. the total # unsupported for each web page / web site tested.
  • Total Percentage = the average for all web pages / websites tested.

Example:  85% of the applicable Section 508 standards are supported in our existing Internet websites.


  • as a percentage of the web pages that fully support the applicable 508 standards vs. the web pages that do not fully support the standards for all technology tested within the category (i.e. pass/fail).   

In this case, the total recorded in the report would be:

  • Calculate whether each web page or web site tested “passes” or “fails” Section 508 compliance.  “Pass” means the product/deliverable meets supports all the applicable Section 508 standards.
  • Total Percentage = total # of passes vs. the total number of fails for all products/deliverables tested in the category.

Example:  85% of applications tested fully passed Section 508 testing.

Whichever method is used for each metric, it should be used consistently across each period and described in the narrative.

Additional Narrative Guidelines

In addition to defining how you calculated the conformance metric, please describe your overall approach to performing web page testing. Your narrative should provide a high level overview of the test process used for validating Section 508 compliance in websites.

  • Do you use automated testing tool(s) to validate websites for 508 conformance? If yes, which tools are you using?
  • Do you use manual testing to validate websites for 508 conformance?
  • If you conduct manual testing, how is it performed?
    • Do you use the Trusted Tester methodology? If so, to what extent do you use it to test web pages?
    • How do you determine what pages you will review manually?
    • Are you using assistive technology (e.g. JAWS, NVDA, ZoomText etc.) in your testing? If so, how do you determine when to use assistive technology, and what assistive technology do you use.