We are sitting on top of a mountain of government data. One way to get the most out of this underutilized asset is through interactive data visualizations. Another way is through the use of static information graphics (info graphics).
As far as I know, there is no federal standard for the implementation of these tools as they relate to Section 508. And that is holding back innovation.
Is it enough to just link to a 508 compliant Excel spreadsheet of the underlying data?
You can provide an alt text description of a complex info graphic by listing individual visual components but is that really a text equivalent to the sum of its parts?
Working with sites like Data.gov, the Census Bureau, and others we can set standards now at the federal level to foster innovation.
We can take a tiny piece of information, a statistic, or a data table from the appendix of a report and turn it into something much more compelling.
Once 508 standards are in place, we can make better use of these tools to engage and educate the public about government initiatives, programs, and research.
These are the things that can capture the public's imagination, catch fire online, and go viral on social media - not a 26 page PDF report with a nice cover sheet.