Section 508, an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, mandates that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.
On January 18, 2017 the Access Board, an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities, issued a final rule or “508 Refresh” that updates accessibility requirements for information and communication technology in the federal sector.
What is the Section 508 Refresh?
The Section 508 refresh jointly updates and reorganizes the Section 508 standards in response to market trends and innovations, such as the convergence of technologies. The refresh also harmonizes these requirements with other guidelines and standards both in the U.S. and abroad, including standards issued by the European Commission and with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a globally recognized voluntary consensus standard for web content and information and communication technology. Specifically, the rule references WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria and applies them not only to websites, but also to electronic documents and software.