Skip to Main Content

Web Accessibility and 508 Compliance

In accordance with the U.S. Access Board's updated accessibility requirements covered by Section 508, which went into effect Jan. 18, 2018, the rule revises and refreshes its standards for information and communication technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 

The Board’s Section 508 Standards, which were first issued in 2000, apply to information and communication technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies

Examples include computers, telecommunications equipment, multifunction office machines such as copiers that also function as printers, software, websites, information kiosks and transaction machines, and electronic documents.

Other goals of this refresh include:

  • enhancing accessibility to information for everyone, people with and without disabilities;

  • making the requirements easier to understand and follow;

  • updating the requirements so that they stay abreast of the ever-changing nature of the technologies covered; and

  • harmonizing the requirements with other standards in the U.S. and worldwide.

The University of California Berkeley has a robust Web Accessibility website that provides information for web content owners, developers and users.

Web accessibility and 508 compliance are important because they:

  • provide equal access and opportunity for everyone;
  • help everyone participate in society;
  • are required by laws and policies, thus prevent unnecessary lawsuits; and
  • benefit people without disabilities. 

The updated 508 Standards apply to a federal agency’s full range of public-facing content, including 

  • websites,
  • documents and media,
  • blog posts, and
  • social media sites. 

The final rule also specifically lists the types of non-public-facing content that must comply. This includes electronic content used by a federal agency for official business to communicate

  • emergency notifications
  • initial or final decisions adjudicating administrative claims or proceedings
  • internal or external program or policy announcements
  • notices of benefits
  • program eligibility
  • employment opportunities or personnel actions
  • formal acknowledgements or receipts
  • questionnaires or surveys
  • templates or forms
  • educational or training materials
  • web-based intranets.