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It's Official - New Sec. 508 is out


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Feb 18, 2015 1:28PM

OK, not fully out just yet, but the proposed rule to update the standards
was announced just an hour ago.

To view the details online, visit

Here's what the US Access Board sent out today.
--Bevi Chagnon

Begin Quote:

U.S. Access Board Proposes Updated ICT Accessibility Requirements
The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment a proposed rule
updating accessibility requirements for information and communication
technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act. The rule also would jointly update guidelines for
telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications
"The Board's proposal is responsive to widespread changes and innovations in
the IT and communication industries," states Sachin Dev Pavithran, Vice
Chair of the Access Board. "It is important that the 508 Standards and 255
Guidelines stay abreast of the ever-evolving technologies they cover so that
accessibility for people with disabilities is properly addressed."
The proposed rule updates various requirements to address fundamental shifts
and trends in the market, such as the convergence of technologies and the
increasingly multi-functional capabilities of products like smart phones.
Another key goal of this update is to promote consistency with other
requirements in the U.S. and abroad in order to improve accessibility and to
facilitate compliance. A leading reference, the Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines (WCAG), is incorporated into the rule and applied to web-based
content as well as to offline documents and software. The Board is proposing
other revisions that will harmonize the rule with voluntary consensus
standards, including those issued by other countries and international
bodies such as the European Commission due to the global nature of the ICT
The proposed rule specifies the technologies covered and contains
performance-based criteria as well as technical requirements for hardware,
software, and support documentation and services. Access is addressed for
all types of disabilities, including those pertaining to vision, hearing,
color perception, speech, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. The
proposed rule is based on recommendations from the Board's
Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory
Committee (TEITAC) which comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders
representing industry, disability groups, government agencies, and other
countries. It also incorporates public feedback the Board received through
the release of two advance drafts of the rule.
"The significant input the Board has received from stakeholders and
interested parties throughout this process is reflected in the proposed
rule," notes Pavithran. "Such collective feedback is critical to getting
things right in the final rule, and it is no different with the current
proposal, which includes a host of questions the Board is posing to the
public to gather additional information on various topics."
Public comments on the rule, as well as on a preliminary assessment of its
estimated costs and benefits, are due in 90 days. The Board also will hold
public hearings on the rule in San Diego on March 5 and in Washington, DC on
March 11. In addition, the Board will conduct a public webinar to review the
proposal on March 31.
Further information on this rulemaking, including a summary of the rule, is
available on the Board's website or by contacting Timothy Creagan at (202)
272-0016 (v), (202) 272-0074 (TTY), or <EMAIL REMOVED> .