Section 508 Background and Standards
Section 508 was originally added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1986, which established guidelines for technology accessibility. In 1998, Section 508 was amended to require that any electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained or used by federal departments and agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use E&IT (Electronic & Information Technology) to ensure that federal employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to and use of information and data, comparable to that of employees and members of the public without disabilities unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.
The new standards provide technical criteria specific to various types of technology and performance-based requirements, which focus on the functional capabilities of covered technologies. Specific criteria cover software applications and operating systems; web-based information or applications; telecommunications; video or multi-media products; self contained: closed products such as information kiosks and transaction machines, and desktop and portable items. Also covered is TTY compatibility and communication access. For more information visit the Access-Board.
On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act.