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Understand Content Scope and Technical Requirements

In the Revised 508 Standards, Section E205 - Electronic Content specifies which electronic content, including web, software, multimedia and electronic documents, must conform to the technical requirements.

Identify Covered Electronic Content

Use the electronic content categories in Section E205 to identify the types of electronic content produced by your agency that are covered under the Revised 508 Standards.

Prioritize electronic content to review for accessibility based on the size of the target audience, frequency of user access, and criticality to the agency and content users. Focus on the most-accessed content first. For internal content, pay attention to any content that is mandatory for users to view or use.

Public Facing Content

All public facing electronic content must be accessible.

The Revised 508 Standards define “public facing” as “content made available by an agency to members of the general public.” Usually, such content is published on an agency website, blog, form, or via social media. However, public facing content might also be made available in non-web formats, such as information displayed on screens or interactive kiosks in waiting areas.

Agency Official Communication

Electronic content that is not public facing but is official business and is communicated through one or more of the nine categories below is an “agency official communication” and must be accessible.

The content might be broadly disseminated or sent to individual agency employees or members of the public. The method of delivery does not matter; such content may be disseminated via an internal agency website or intranet, or by other delivery modes, including, but not limited to: emails, text messages, phone alerts, storage media, and downloadable documents.

Categories of agency official communication (with examples) are listed below. The examples are not all-inclusive, but are meant to help you understand these categories. Contact the US Access Board if you need help interpreting or applying these categories.

  1. An emergency notification. Examples: Evacuation notices, active shooter alerts, text messages conveying emergency instructions (e.g., “remain in place”), hazardous weather alerts, and operational notices regarding unscheduled closures.
  2. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding. Examples: An electronic notice or alert of an approved, denied, or pending claim sent to a business or other organization, or to an individual.
  3. An internal or external program or policy announcement. Examples: An electronic notification of a new agency policy, or a change to an existing program requirement.
  4. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action. Examples: An electronic notice sent to a member of the public or employee describing government benefits to which they are entitled; information on whether an individual is eligible for benefits from, or to participate in, a government program; information on the status of an application for enrollment in a program; a notification of an official personnel action indicating a promotion, adverse action, or other personnel decision affecting a government employee; or a job announcement.
  5. A formal acknowledgement of receipt. Examples: An email acknowledging receipt of payment; a notice posted to a program participant’s web page containing his or her personal account information and acknowledging that he or she successfully submitted certain records.
  6. A survey or questionnaire. Examples: A set of written questions (open-ended or multiple choice) developed for the purpose of a survey or data analysis, such as a questionnaire assessing employee training needs; an employee satisfaction survey; or a questionnaire used to gather information to gauge satisfaction with a government program. This category does not include questions submitted during litigation or legal proceedings.
  7. A template or form. Examples: An electronic document template used to create official agency documents or presentations; a web page template created to establish a common look and feel for a website; or an official agency form that must be completed by employees or members of the public.
  8. Educational or training materials. Examples: Interactive online training courses; self-paced training courses; educational webinars; other educational presentation formats; and support materials for such activities, including electronic worksheets, training manuals, and tests.
  9. Intranet content designed as a web page. Examples: An intranet page listing files for downloading; shared calendars; an internal employee locator; or other HTML web pages distributed internally via an agency intranet. This category does not include files distributed via the agency intranet that are not in one or more of the eight categories above.

    NOTE: An exception provides that NARA is not responsible for remediating records sent to them by other agencies.

Refer to Section E205 for the specific technical provisions that apply to electronic content that falls under one of the above categories.

Related Resources

This guidance was developed by the U.S. Federal Government Revised 508 Standards Transition Workgroup. Members include the U.S. Federal CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice, the U.S. Access Board, and the General Services Administration.


Reviewed/Updated: May 2018