The suggestions received thus far are generally pretty good, but in they are nibbling at the edges rather than attacking the core of the problem. What distinguishes the very few agencies or components that have been relatively successful in implementing Section 508? It is top level executive understanding and support. Most top level executives do not understand the scale and scope of Section 508 and the need for them ...more »
If EVERY agency followed the SAME set of 508 guidelines, it would help to streamline and consolidate 508 implementation. Currently, agencies treat and evaluate 508 differently.
Ask any contractor who works with multiple agencies and they will tell you the same thing....the agencies all intepret 508 it differently.
It's hard to design, write, code, etc. for people you don't know. One of the value of usability testing with people with a variety of disabilities is that it puts a human face on the goals of Section 508. I do NOT mean using people with disabilities as "accessibility QA testers." This is about observing - and understanding - why each requirement in Section 508 (or WCAG 2.0) exists: what human communication need it meets. ...more »
In my experience interacting with developers - few have a knowledge of Section 508 and even less knowledge of the WCAG. With the WCAG 2.0 being such an intergral part of the Section 508 refresh, it is imperative that all web deveopers have solid knowledge of the WCAG 2.0 and program ground up for Section 508. A study reports that the cost of revision is estimated to be one to six times greater during development than ...more »
How on Earth can we be having an online dialogue about improving implementation of Section 508 using a platform that, itself, is not compliant with Section 508? Those of us who use screen readers cannot even vote on the ideas! Giving us an inaccessible platform on which to cast our votes for aspects of an issue that is so vitally important to our ability to access information and participate in the federal workforce ...more »
A 508 test plan should be part of the acceptance criteria by Procurement and should be included as part of the deliverables for contractor services for software/web development. This will force vendors performing contractor services to incorporate Section 508 in the requirements and will make them code ground up for 508 from the beginning. This is not only cost effective and efficient but will ensure the vendor tests ...more »
While attending a class on computer and network security, I stated that in addition to securing the computers and networks we needed to also ensure the networks were in compliance with Section 508 directives. With a grimace on his face, the instructor stated compliance with Section 508 was not a security issue, therefore, it was not an inspection item -- however, he added, Section 508 guidelines could be used when possible. ...more »
As I understand it (and please correct me), including 508 in the paperwork for a given ICT procurement is not an absolute requirement, but more of an option on the part of whoever is doing the purchasing. It should go the other way -- 508 is part of the paperwork unless the purchaser can plausibly state a reason for exemption. Continuing on, every other 508 step should be documented as well, such as requesting a VPAT, ...more »
Currently each agency is making determinations as to whether a product is 508 compliant. A central location for sharing product testing for accessibility, by product name and version, would save each agency from having to replicate testing over and over again. We could start with major applications such as Windows and Lotus Notes. Most agencies are spending significant dollars to make some major procurements, such ...more »
Related to a few ideas already posted, the government needs to create a standardized testing methodology that federal and contracted staff can use for compliance testing. Such a methodology needs to include both automated testing tools and functional, usability testing. Once the government standardizes on a testing approach, the market will react and can provide clearer results as to what is compliant and what is not. ...more »
... because responsibility for accessibility, at some level, applies to all people working in federal government. There are lots of other trainings that are mandatory -- EEO or Civil Rights, Information Security, etc. -- across the various agencies and this might be approached in a similar way.
Government should support the development of Accessibility Professional Certification programs along with the education needed to support the certification process. This will build a larger pool of skilled accessibility experts and will drive the integration of accessibility training into other general IT development training programs and post-secondary educational programs.
A lot of us focus on documents and web sites, but we should also talk about software and other products. Why can't there be a list of software tools or hardware devices? Nothing gets on the list unless it actually meets the full 508. There can be all the boundary setting and disclaimers about what an agency does with the product, but it seems like an incredible waste of effort for every agency to have to check basic ...more »
HHS mandates tough compliance requirements in every contract that will result in products that will end up on the web (and we assume that all written documents will be posted). We augment these by posting both our standards and the applications/tools we use to test against those standards. This leaves contractors no wiggle room; deliverables must be fully compliant.
Optimize 508 administrative services across the Federal Government by 1) Benchmark interagency Best Practices and Lessons Learned to support refinement of existing 508 processes and policy and development of a new Department-wide 508 Strategic Plan 2) Determine feasibility of a Shared Services Cost-Savings Model where one agency provides Braille and other services for a fee such as the existing Federal Occupation Health ...more »
Affected individuals have difficulty lodging complaints against Section 508 because the enforcement model is based on procurement remedies. The result is that most unresolved E&IT complaints devolve into Section 501/503 (anti-discrimination), or more predominantly, Section 504 (reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals) issues. The Strategic plan should emphasize the importance of Section 508 compliance in aiding ...more »
The problem with the language of the rules and regulations is that they are open for interpretation and each company implementing a new application or site can interpret differently. I think an official site that contains a running archive of compliant vs. non compliant examples of actual implementations for each rule/regulation (and why they have that status) would be helpful. That way, you could check your implementation/idea ...more »
Do people in HR or in areas that might handle Section 508 get trained in how to handle Section 508
complaints? It seems that the whole issue of how to make a Section 508 complaint for those of us that might want to is very confusing because
all the agencies are supposed to come up with their own plans for how to handle them.
Comment from Accessibility Committee virtual Listening Session, Sept 8, 2011
People with disabilities; rely on accessible technology to do their jobs. When Federal agencies follow through on their commitment to recruit, retain, and advance individuals with disabilities while embracing strategies that ensure accessible technology people with disabilities are assured equal access to government programs and equal employment opportunity. Simply put, equal access to technology is essential to equal ...more »
After reviewing many of the topics as well as the memos on 508, I noticed that many agencies' civil rights organizations are not involved in this process or at least do not appear to be. Section 508 requires a complaint process that generally mirrors an agency's 504 process unless it involves a Federal employee where it could be a Section 501 complaint. In both cases, an agency's civil rights organization is responsible ...more »
Projects should use native users of screen readers, magnifiers, voice command software to test their applications. The functional performance criteria (1194.31)is a very important Section 508 provision in the current standards -and the questions asked under FPC are simply whether some one who is blind can use the system, some one who has low vision can use the system, someone who is deaf , and some one with mobility ...more »
Add Functional Performance Criteria (FPC) for people with cognitive disabilities. Currently, there are no standards or provisions in Section 508 related to individuals with cognitive disabilities. Additionally, consider functional performance criteria for persons with multiple disabilities such as a person who is deaf or blind who has cerebral palsy or a speech impairment with possible limited manual dexterity.
In order for Section 508 to become integrated into the culture of the Federal Government, Section 508 has to be a part of all employees performance plan. Especially Senior Management. By having Section 508 as part of their performance plan, Section 508 will get the attention it needs from upper management and everyone will be concerned or aware of 508 and how it would impact their job area.
A lot of the change necessary is not going to happen until more people file EEO complaints, law suits and any other kind of complaint applicable. Even though the EEO process hardly works, it's one of the few avenues of redress. I know that people are afraid of retaliation, which does happen. But, Federal agencies don't like EEO complaints and they don't like bad publicity. Take it to your elected officials. But, whatever ...more »
By one count there are 22 federal entities that have some accessibility oversight role. In 508-land, the big ones are the Access Board, GSA, DoJ, CIO Council, and FAR and the Chief Acquisition Officer Council. But the FCC, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Labor, National Council on Disability, NIST, Department of Transportation and many others have parallel roles in their own domains. Why not astound the public and make a ...more »