Campaign: Product Accessibility

Updating the Section 508 standards - 1194.2

Section 508 as it relates to technology (1194.21, 1194.22) should be evaluated and updated on a regular basis. Technology changes rapidly, and the standards are sorely outdated. This means meeting these standards as a software vendor while still enhancing and advancing the product is difficult and costly. It can also result in poor overall user experience by government employees because it may limit the advancements that can be made.

 

For example, there are some excellent screen readers that have kept up with technology changes, and the software is fully accessible by people with disabilities who use these screen readers. They have adapted to things like advanced CSS and javascript - yet the standards still state the software must run without CSS. This made sense 10 or 15 years ago, but is no longer applicable today. Much of CSS drives product function, not just color and font size. Time and resources are spent with agencies and vendors debating back and forth over this outdated standard that cannot be met while still delivering excellent software. This is just one example.

 

Technology is constantly changing, and the standards cannot remain unchanged over time. Please consider establishing a committee to evaluate and update these standards every few years. This will also raise the bar and set higher expectations for assistive technology to keep up with software advancements. In the end, everyone wins.

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Idea No. 27