AT - IT
This page is created to explore the AT Question(s)
#1 Does a product need to work with Actual AT or is an API good enough
- the purpose of 508 is to ensure that E&IT are usable by employees with disabilities (and the public were E&IT is public)
- E&IT that has an API but no AT that works with it cannot be used by employees with disabilities (or public)
- If E&IT that has API but no AT is purchased - some employees will not be able to use the E&IT
- If E&IT has NO API but has AT - then it can be used by employees
- The key is that E&IT (that is not directly accessible) work with AT
- APIs are powerful tools for facilitating this but are not necessary - nor sufficient.
- NOTE: Compatibility with AT via an API is better than without for a number of reasons including stability over time.
#2 But is it the Agencies or the Companies responsibility to make sure AT works with product
- 508 only puts requirements on agencies
- the 508 standards (technical and functional) are standards for agencies - not companies
- the standards are to implement the intent of section 508 of the law - which is that products be accessible and useable by people with disabilities (not potentially accessible in the future if something happens that isnt true today)
- see #1 above
- 508 technical standards should require that products are directly accessible or that they work with AT that exists and is available to the employees with disabilities.
- NOTE: this is a requirement on the agencies - what they must technically meet. (also functionally meet).
#3 What if a product did work with AT but things change
- This is similar to the question - what if a product used to work with the OS (or the printers) the agency uses but it doesn't anymore.
- agencies are faced with this all the time. It should be handled the same way.
- Companies represent their product to the best of their knowledge to the agencies purchasing them. If their product fails to work at some point the agency (alone or with the company) would make best efforts to repair the situation. This may take action from both sides. Agencies would use judgment on these on a case by case basis as they do for everything else.
#4 What if a product works except for some feature
- This may be combined with #3 above.
- This is similar to #3 in that it falls in the same category. What if all of the functions of a program but one (or two) will work with the new OS or printer or .... If those functions are important to functioning of the product - the government usually would try to get it fixed or chose a product where all of the functions did work. if they could find none- they might do with the best there is.
- the same principle should be applied for employees with disabilities.
- Again, companies do their best to ensure that all functions work so that agencies can know if purchasing the product will allow their employees with disabilities to use the product to do their jobs. Where particular functions are missing, their importance can be evaluated as well as whether there are other products that would do the same thing and be accessible. The agency then does the best they can do.
#5 So what does this require of companies
- it doesnt require anything of companies (for 508)
- but if companies want to help agencies meet their requirements - they will make products that are accessible - either directly or via AT that they employees have or can get (or public has or can get for public E&IT).
- for 255 it requires that things be directly accessible if readily achievable (little effort or expense) and if not then they work with specialized customer premises equipment (AT) if that is readily achievable.
#6 And what should the Technical Requirements require
- as per above - the technical requirements (and all of 508) are for agencies.
- And according to #1 above the agencies are required to ensure that their employees can actually use the E&IT
- For 508 - real access so employees can do real work means direct access or access via AT that employees have or can get. (or public) - so that is what technical requirements should require (via API or not).
- For 255 - if it is not directly accessible, then it requires it to work with real CPE (if readily achievable).