ICT Accessibility 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines are a set of guidelines and requirements established to ensure that the information and communication technology of federal agencies is accessible to individuals with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. These standards are designed to promote inclusivity and equal access to digital information and communication tools, making it possible for all individuals, regardless of their disabilities, to fully participate in the digital world.
Definition and purpose
The purpose of the ICT Accessibility 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines is to ensure that both federal employees and members of the public have access to and use of the information and data of federal agencies that is comparable to individuals without disabilities, as mandated by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended in 1998) and Section 255 of the Communications Act. By ensuring the accessibility and usability of ICT by individuals with disabilities, these standards enhance opportunities for employment by the federal government and participation in government programs and services.
The governing body responsible for overseeing and enforcing the ICT Accessibility 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines is the United States Access Board. The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards.
The latest update to the ICT Accessibility 508 Standards was a correction to the final rule published in January 22, 2018.
Compliance with these standards is mandatory for federal agencies subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These standards may also apply to manufacturers and suppliers to the federal government as well as ICT-related companies.
Controls and requirements
The ICT Accessibility 508 Standards contain scoping and technical requirements for ICT to ensure accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities. This includes websites, software, hardware, and electronic documents.
These requirements cover various aspects of accessibility, including but not limited to:
- Web content accessibility (WCAG) compliance for websites and web applications
- Compatibility with assistive technologies
- Text alternatives for non-text content
- Keyboard accessibility
Please refer to the official documentation for detailed information on these requirements.
Audit type, frequency, and duration
Agencies subject to Section 508 are required to report on the implementation of Section 508 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA). These assessments are required annually.