Section 508 Compliance

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"Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency."

"In addition, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that this technology allows:

  • Federal employees with disabilities to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency, and
  • Individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities."

Section 508 § 1194.22 Web-Based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications

(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.

(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

(e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.

(h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.

(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a website comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

(m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with § 1194.21(a) through (l).

(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed online, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.

(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.

Notes to § 1194.22

1. The Board interprets paragraphs (a) through (k) of 1194.22 as consistent with the following Priority 1 Checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0) (May 5, 1999) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium:

1194.22 vs. WCAG 1.0
§ 1194.22 Paragraph WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint
(a) 1.1
(b) 1.4
(c) 2.1
(d) 6.1
(e) 1.2
(f) 9.1
(g) 5.1
(h) 5.2
(i) 12.1
(j) 7.1
(k) 11.4

2. Paragraphs (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of 1194.22 are different from WCAG 1.0. Web pages that conform to WCAG 1.0, Level A (i.e., all Priority 1 Checkpoints) must also meet paragraphs (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of 1194.22 to comply with Section 508. WCAG 1.0 is available at www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505