Information and Communication Technology (ICT) must be accessible to people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. Access to ICT is addressed by Board standards and guidelines issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. These ICT Accessibility Standards include requirements that ensure compatibility with Assistive Technology (AT) used by people with disabilities.
On January 18, 2017, the Access Board published a final rule that jointly updates requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act charges the Access Board with developing and promulgating this rule.
The statute also charges the Access Board with providing Technical Assistance on Section 508, including its implications beyond the Federal government. The Access Board provides TA through email, webinars, and trainings.&nbps; The Access Board works in close collaboration with General Services Administration (GSA) and its program which provides additional resources and materials at Section508.gov.
The Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology procured by the federal government, including computer hardware and software, websites, multimedia such as video, phone systems, and copiers. These standards are part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and require access for both members of the public and federal employees to such technologies when developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The Access Board provides technical guidance and training on the Section 508 Standards.
The Original 508 Standards (December 21, 2000) can be found at 36 CFR Appendix D to Part 1194. They are applicable to conforming information and communication technology that has not been altered after January 18, 2018.
Section 255 Guidelines
The Section 255 Guidelines address access to telecommunications products and services and apply to manufacturers of telecommunication equipment. The Board issued accessibility guidelines under Section 255 to cover wired and wireless telecommunication devices, other products that have a telecommunication service capability, and equipment that carriers use to provide services.
The original Telecommunication Act Section 255 Accessibility Guidelines (February 3, 1998) can be found in older editions of the Code of Federal Regulations as 36 CFR 1193.