Accessibility is a problem, which the Federal government has not fully dealt with in terms of making technology accessible to employees and more importantly making technology accessible to the American public. Technology is both a problem and an answer. Accessibility is not just a good thing to do, it's the right thing to do. With more and more countries adopting policies similiar to Section 508, making a product... more »
Create systematic approach to compliance and implementation of Section 508. Spotlight areas that require additional focus, strengthen partnerships with private industry, reduce the cost of implementation per Agency by encouraging use of best practices.
For best practice, even for equipment that is grandfathered in, a certain length of time it is reasonable to review the accessibility of that equipment and to look for alternatives that are more accessible.
Comment from Accessibility Committee virtual Listening Session, Sep 8, 2011
Agencies must purchase E&IT, the market is not doing a great job of supplying compliant products and solutions, and so often agencies must purchase inaccessible products. The job does not end there though. An agency is still charged with implementing that E&IT in the most accessible manner give its ‘other than procurement’ obligations (develop, use, maintain). It is also still under Section 504 obligations. Agencies... more »
There's no way that regulations can keep up with the pace of technological evolution. How about identifying those Technical Provisions whose impact has most eroded, and accelerating their updates via some more agile process than the typical rulemaking? The process should be open, and could result not in new regulatory language but in authoritative guidance. For example, it could state the the current provision, especially... 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 »
Section 508 is unique among federal accessibility requirements in that it gets into a lot of technical detail. The upcoming version will do even more of that, being based on WCAG 2.0 and its interpretations for non-web. Industry correctly argues that having different standards and requirements is confusing and ultimately self-defeating. Wherever possible, federal accessibility regulations (ADA, ACAA, CVAA, 501, 503,... more »
Section 508 requires agencies to select the product that best meets the Section 508 standards, but the FAR does not buttress the concept. A strategic plan that pledges to include “best meets” in the FAR would be welcomed. Recently case law stated that the FAR supersedes the “best meets” concept in Section 508 (an over simplification of a complicated decision but at its heart true).
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.
Establish methodology for contrast, magnification, volume, clarity and limits of background noise and establish functional criteria for persons with vision or hearing loss and provide interoperability standards between information and communication technology and assistive technology for people with vision or hearing loss.
... 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.
Rather than building web sites for better accessibility and usability, new software is needed to better handle existing web sites (with or without 508 code). The new software should be able to read the screen as it is presented to the user (without 508 code) and transform it into the needs of the users based on preference (colors, fonts, ...), disabilities, and needs. In this context, "reading the screen" does not mean... more »
Currently, it seems like each region within GSA is responsible for procuring their own closed captioning services for videos. We are seeing an ever increasing trend towards creating videos in-house. Many people who create this online content may not know how to go about having their videos captioned. It would make sense to have 1 contract nationwide where anyone who creates video content for their agency can easily obtain... more »
Infrastructure Infrastructure exemplary practice: 1. Establish infrastructure that supports accessible ICT policies and practices: Four key areas-outsourcing, procurement, training and deployment Outsourcing: Provide outsourcing guidelines to suppliers and business partners, including copies of ICT accessibility guidelines; Ensure that contracts stipulate suppliers will, where relevant, apply ICT accessibility standards... more »
Some of the biggest challenges are obviously time, money, resources, personnel. Set policies that account for these challenges. Grandfathering: allow old documents to be OCR scanned and "grandfathered" in without full compliance. There are reams of info that may never be available to the public if people are afraid to put them out there for lack of resources and fear of not being 508 compliant. Disclaimers: create sets... more »
I will try to address what should be the first priority of 508 and that would be providing equal access to information. Anyone in the business of remediation knows that training a staff of Hundreds of thousands employees to make their content accessible to current 508 standards is a pipe dream. There are too many file types and not enough knowledgeable teachers. I would estimate just in Federal websites alone there... more »