These testing resources can help you evaluate electronic content for conformance to the original and revised Section 508 standards. They were created through interagency collaborative efforts sponsored under the Accessibility Community of Practice (ACoP), a committee under the Federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council and the Federal Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) Council. These resources are endorsed by the ACoP for use across the US Government for validating conformance to the Revised 508 Standards.
Web & Software
Web designers, developers, and content managers play a key role in ensuring websites and digital tools are accessible, and conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
Interagency Trusted Tester Baseline
The Interagency Trusted Tester Baseline provides standardized test scripts that can be used to create an accessibility test process. The current baseline addresses full conformance to the Original 508 Standards for web and software, and provides support for the Revised 508 Standards where overlaps occur.
- Harmonized Processes for Section 508 Testing: Baseline Tests for Software & Web Accessibility (PDF, March 2017)
An interagency working group is developing test scripts and tools to test for full conformance with the Revised 508 Standards, and they could use your help! If you’d like to participate, please contact Allen Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trusted Tester Process
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trusted Tester Process is a testing approach for validating accessibility compliance and conformity. This process uses the Interagency Trusted Tester Baseline to provide a repeatable test process for determining software and website conformance to the Original 508 standards. The test process covers some, but not all, WCAG Level A and AA Success Criteria.
- Trusted Tester Section 508 Compliance Test Process for Applications (version 4.0, PDF, April 2017)
- Download Test Process Reporting Template (version 4.0, MS Excel)
- Trusted Tester Process Update Guide (version 4.0, PDF)
- DHS Section 508 Compliance Testing Tools
Work is currently underway to expand test coverage for WCAG Success Criteria.
Trusted Tester Certification Program
The DHS Interagency Trusted Tester Program (ITTP) offers training and a formal certification process for accessibility testing using the DHS Trusted Tester Process. Agencies that adopt the trusted tester baseline and test process only accept trusted test results from individuals who have been certified.
- Trusted Tester Fact Sheet and Training Information - Certification Program Fact Sheet and training info for application testing (AT) users
- How People with Disabilities Use the Web: Overview - Explains how people with disabilities, including age-related impairments, use the Web (W3C)
- Web Accessibility Perspectives: Explore the Impact and Benefits for Everyone - Short videos showing the impact of accessible design in a variety of situations (W3C)
- Accessibility Resources for Developers and Authors - Tools and training for developers and content authors
- 18F Accessibility Guide - An evolving collection of web accessibility resources
- WCAG 2.0 Conformance - What does it means to “conform” to a Standard?
- Web Content Accessibility and Mobile Web: Making a Website Accessible Both for People with Disabilities and for Mobile Devices - Explains the overlap between accessibility and mobile web design and development (W3C)
- Automated Testing Tools - Tools and assistive technologies for manual website accessibility testing
- Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program - Free compatibility testing service for devices, operating systems, and mobile browsers
- WAI-Tools Project - Tools created by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which develops strategies, guidelines, and resources to improve Web accessibility (W3C)
These resources, developed by the Accessible Electronic Documents Community of Practice (AED COP), validate legacy electronic documents against the original 508 standards (to determine if the Legacy Content Exception applies), and validate conformance to the majority of the WCAG Success Criteria for measuring conformance to the Revised 508 Standards. The AED COP is working to expand test coverage for WCAG Success Criteria.
Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF)
- PDF Baseline Test Process (MS Word, September 2017)
- PDF Detailed Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- PDF Printable Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- How to Test and Remediate PDFs for Accessibility – closed captioned (YouTube Playlist, October 2017)
- MS Word 2013 Baseline Test Process (MS Word, September 2017)
- MS Word 2013 Basic Authoring and Testing Guide (MS Word, September 2017)
- MS Word 2013 Detailed Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- MS Word 2013 Printable Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- MS Word 2010 Basic Authoring and Testing Guide (MS Word, January 2015)
- MS Word 2010 Basic Authoring and Testing Checklist (MS Word January 2015)
- MS Word 2010 Baseline Tests for Accessible Electronic Documents (MS Word, January 2015)
- Accessible Microsoft Word - closed captioned (YouTube playlist, November 2016)
- Accessible Microsoft Word - open captioned (YouTube playlist, November 2016)
- MS Excel 2010 Basic Authoring Guide (MS Excel, December 2015)
- MS Excel 2010 Basic Testing Checklist (MS Excel, January 2015)
- MS Excel 2010 Baseline Tests for Accessible Electronic Documents (MS Excel, December 2015)
- How to Make Your PowerPoint 2010 Presentations 508-Compliant (PDF, December 2014) - instructions and guidance from CMS
- Section 508 Quick Reference Guide – MS PowerPoint 2010 (PDF, November 2013) - quick 'how to' tips from CMS
- PowerPoint Document 508 Checklist (March 2013) - a set of yes/no questions from HHS
Resources from Agencies
Accessibility testing resources developed by Federal agencies.
- Making Files Accessible - Videos, checklists, and step-by-step resources to help you make your files accessible from the start (HHS)
- Accessibility Tools & Resources - Checklists, tutorials and more (NIH)
- Making Documents Section 508 Compliant - Checklists, tip sheets and how-to guides (CMS)
- Agency Shared Guidance - A collection of testing resources shared by agencies
This section explains the difference between the types of testing guidance documents developed by the AED COP and linked above.
- Baseline: A set of 22 systematic repeatable test criteria that cover Revised 508 Standards and align with applicable WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria. Individual tests contain sufficient information and instruction to make a consistent and unambiguous measurement independent of other tests. Each test case provides the following information:
- Numbered Requirement: How the component(s) should function in order to meet the related standards.
- Rationale: An explanation of the elements/components the requirement is addressing (technical aspect in layman’s terms), effects on accessibility, and consequences of incorrect implementation on accessibility (AT functionality), and the benefits of correct implementation.
- Related Standards: Applicable 508 standards and alignment with relevant WCAG 2.0 success criteria. Note: A 508 standard or WCAG criteria may be addressed by multiple tests.
- Authoring: Explains how to use the native application’s built-in tools to author accessible content that is in accordance with the Revised 508 standards. These documents do not contain best practices. Your agency should add additional guidance as needed, to meet your unique environment needs.
- Detailed Checklist: Provides instruction on how to test and author documents for accessibility. All checkpoints correspond with the test cases found in the Baseline artifacts.
- Printable Checklist: These documents function as reporting templates to capture test results related to Baseline test cases. Each document element that must be tested is accompanied with a list of questions. A tester has the ability to respond Yes, N/A or No to each question, and add comments to the test report. Add any additional test criteria that meets your agency’s unique environment needs.
The AED COP is currently developing updated checklists and testing instructions for the following authoring tools:
- Microsoft Office 365 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
- Microsoft Office 2013 (PowerPoint, Excel)
Note, the AED COP Committee includes representatives from the Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Federal Reserve Board, Internal Revenue Service, National Aeronautical Space Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, National Institute of Health, Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Access Board.
Please contact email@example.com with feedback or questions.
Page Reviewed/Updated: March 2018