Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Section 508 Accessibility & Compliance

closeup of fingers on computer keyboard with caption "Section 508"

Section 508 Requirements

On January 18, 2017, the United States Access Board published the final rule Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines in the Federal Register.

The final rule includes revisions and updates to the section 508-based standards and section 255-based guidelines and is effective March 20, 2017. Compliance with the section 508 based standards is required by January 18, 2018.

Recently, GSA’s Government-wide Section 508 Team, the U.S. Access Board and the CIOC/CAOC Accessibility Community of Practice (ACoP), published the latest updates to the Revised 508 Standards Toolkit https://section508.gov/refresh-toolkit . The Toolkit will help  agencies transition to the Revised 508 Standards that were published on January 18, 2017.


Best Practices

Involving Section 508 standards from the start of an IT project and testing during the development process will ensure that most potential Section 508 problems are already remediated by the time the project is ready for deployment.

Creating accessible electronic documents, including Word, PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint, saves time and dramatically reduces the need for Section 508 remediation.


Section 508 resources

The information listed below is intended solely as a small sampling of resources and tools available for users who create web content. There are also many other resources available by searching the internet, using applicable keywords.

Accessible Electronic Documents

For anyone new to Section 508 requirements, creating accessible electronic documents can be a daunting task. The General Services Administration's Section508.gov, Create Accessible Electronic Documents lists accessibility guidance, checklists, and testing information for Microsoft Word, Portable Document Format (PDF), scanned PDFs, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint formats.

General

There are numerous excellent resources available for those that are new to Section 508 accessibility. We have listed a few of them below:

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Section 508 Checklists

We utilize the USDA Section 508 checklists in determining Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Section 508 compliance and accessibility.  Checklists from other sources can also be searched on the internet. Here are links to a few of them:

Tools

Although many compliancy and accessibility tests have to be performed hands-on, accessibility tools can also help determine if accessibility guidelines are met.


Accessibility and Compliance

  • Accessibility - This term is used to describe the usability of EIT for persons with disabilities
  • Section 508 Compliance - Section 508 is a law that must be followed by federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain or use EIT.

EAS Section 508 Team

Our Enterprise Applications Services (EAS) Section 508 Team works closely with the USDA Section 508 Program Office to ensure quality and continuity in our testing efforts. We use the USDA Product Testing Template as a guide to determine and validate whether or not Section 508 requirements and accessibility are met. Additionally, we are experienced in testing and remediation of electronic documents in a variety of formats, including MS WORD, PDF and PowerPoint.


Contact Information

For additional information about Section 508 compliance and accessibility or questions concerning our Section 508 compliance testing services, please contact Andrew.Campbell@usda.gov.