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Re: What is happening with the update of section 508?


From: Giovanni Duarte
Date: Nov 28, 2011 10:54AM

Hi Jared and all,
Is the link below the latest draft?


-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Jared Smith
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:45 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] What is happening with the update of section 508?

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM, Bevi Chagnon wrote:
> Jared,
> Are talking about only websites and not documents (PDFs, Word,
> PowerPoint, spreadsheets, email, etc.)?
> ...
> So if you only want websites to be accessible, then WCAG 2.0 is the
> route to take.
> But if you want websites and everything else accessible, then we'll
> need the broader coverage of Section 508 to make that happen.

Correct. The issue is that the current set of Section 508 guidelines (not
the refresh draft) are 11 years old and are out-of-date and don't adequately
address accessibility of modern technologies. The draft guidelines do
generally harmonize with WCAG 2.0 for web content, but, as you note, the 508
guidelines also have requirements for non-web technologies.

> If your clients are having such a difficult time creating accessible
> ICT or it the end result isn't truly accessible, then they're not
> getting the proper training.

No, my point is that when clients focus only on the 11 year old Section 508
guidelines, the resulting accessibility is usually very, very poor. Our
clients have generally chosen to focus on true accessibility and the much
better and comprehensive WCAG guidelines rather than merely 508. Many have
chosen to ignore Section 508 compliance altogether so they can place their
efforts in areas that actually matter when it comes to end-user
accessibility (rather than silly, antiquated requirements like placing links
to Flash player or Acrobat Reader on every page, or ensuring the page is
readable with styles disabled).

> [Jared wrote: The Access Board's Tim Creagan said that we should not
> expect the actual update to occur before Fall 2013.]
> Yes, it is very sad that our government has taken such a long time to
> get to this point. For these regs to go into affect in 2 years is

This process has been underway since early 2006. The committee I was on
delivered a draft set of guidelines to the Access Board in early 2008. A 7
or 8 year timeline for updating technical accessibility requirements is more
than appalling.

> Many government agencies are already adopting the 508 refresh
>standards (many are my clients), as well as corporate contractors, so
>in spite of the long effective date, we will start making progress in
>the next few months.

Yep! This is my point. If you want to be ahead of the curve and are
interested in true accessibility, you need to be looking at WCAG 2.0 and the
draft Section 508 guidelines at a minimum. It seems this ship has sailed for
about everyone except the federal government.