36 CFR Appendix A to Part 1194 - Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Application and Scoping Requirements

Appendix A to Part 1194 - Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Application and Scoping Requirements
Table of Contents
508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration
E101 General
E102 Referenced Standards
E103 Definitions
508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements
E201 Application
E202 General Exceptions
E203 Access to Functionality
E204 Functional Performance Criteria
E205 Electric Content
E206 Hardware
E207 Software
E208 Support Documentation and Services
508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration
E101 General

E101.1 Purpose.These Revised 508 Standards, which consist of 508 Chapters 1 and 2 (Appendix A), along with Chapters 3 through 7 (Appendix C), contain scoping and technical requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) to ensure accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities. Compliance with these standards is mandatory for Federal agencies subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d).

E101.2 Equivalent Facilitation. The use of an alternative design or technology that results in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities than would be provided by conformance to one or more of the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Revised 508 Standards is permitted. The functional performance criteria in Chapter 3 shall be used to determine whether substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability is provided to individuals with disabilities.

E101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances. Dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where dimensions are stated as a range with specific minimum or maximum end points.

E101.4 Units of Measurement. Measurements are stated in metric and U.S. customary units. The values stated in each system (metric and U.S. customary units) may not be exact equivalents, and each system shall be used independently of the other.

E102 Referenced Standards

E102.1 Application. The specific editions of the standards listed in Chapter 7 are incorporated by reference into 508 Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements) and Chapters 3 through 6 to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where conflicts occur between the Revised 508 Standards and the referenced standards, these Revised 508 Standards apply.

E103 Definitions

E103.1 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards. Terms defined in referenced standards and not defined in E103.4 shall have the meaning as defined in the referenced standards.

E103.2 Undefined Terms. Any term not defined in E103.4 or in referenced standards shall be given its ordinarily accepted meaning in the sense that the context implies.

E103.3 Interchangeability. Words, terms, and phrases used in the singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the singular.

E103.4 Defined Terms. For the purpose of the Revised 508 Standards, the terms defined in E103.4 have the indicated meaning.

Agency. Any agency or department of the United States as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502, and the United States Postal Service.

Alteration. A change to existing ICT that affects interoperability, the user interface, or access to information or data.

Application. Software designed to perform, or to help the user to perform, a specific task or tasks.

Assistive Technology (AT). Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Audio Description. Narration added to the soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone. Audio description is a means to inform individuals who are blind or who have low vision about visual content essential for comprehension. Audio description of video provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. Audio description supplements the regular audio track of a program. Audio description is usually added during existing pauses in dialogue. Audio description is also called “video description” and “descriptive narration”.

Authoring Tool. Any software, or collection of software components, that can be used by authors, alone or collaboratively, to create or modify content for use by others, including other authors.

Closed Functionality. Characteristics that limit functionality or prevent a user from attaching or installing assistive technology. Examples of ICT with closed functionality are self-service machines, information kiosks, set-top boxes, fax machines, calculators, and computers that are locked down so that users may not adjust settings due to a policy such as Desktop Core Configuration.

Content. Electronic information and data, as well as the encoding that defines its structure, presentation, and interactions.

Document. Logically distinct assembly of content (such as a file, set of files, or streamed media) that: Functions as a single entity rather than a collection; is not part of software; and does not include its own software to retrieve and present content for users. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, letters, email messages, spreadsheets, presentations, podcasts, images, and movies.

Existing ICT. ICT that has been procured, maintained or used on or before January 18, 2018.

Hardware. A tangible device, equipment, or physical component of ICT, such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, and keyboards.

Information Technology. Shall have the same meaning as the term “information technology” set forth in 40 U.S.C. 11101(6).

Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and information, as well as any associated content. Examples of ICT include, but are not limited to: Computers and peripheral equipment; information kiosks and transaction machines; telecommunications equipment; customer premises equipment; multifunction office machines; software; applications; Web sites; videos; and, electronic documents.

Keyboard. A set of systematically arranged alphanumeric keys or a control that generates alphanumeric input by which a machine or device is operated. A keyboard includes tactilely discernible keys used in conjunction with the alphanumeric keys if their function maps to keys on the keyboard interfaces.

Label. Text, or a component with a text alternative, that is presented to a user to identify content. A label is presented to all users, whereas a name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology. In many cases, the name and the label are the same.

Menu. A set of selectable options.

Name. Text by which software can identify a component to the user. A name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology, whereas a label is presented to all users. In many cases, the label and the name are the same. Name is unrelated to the name attribute in HTML.

Non-Web Document. A document that is not: A Web page, embedded in a Web page, or used in the rendering or functioning of Web pages.

Non-Web Software. Software that is not: A Web page, not embedded in a Web page, and not used in the rendering or functioning of Web pages.

Operable Part. Hardware-based user controls for activating, deactivating, or adjusting ICT.

Platform Accessibility Services. Services provided by a platform enabling interoperability with assistive technology. Examples are Application Programming Interfaces (API) and the Document Object Model (DOM).

Platform Software. Software that interacts with hardware or provides services for other software. Platform software may run or host other software, and may isolate them from underlying software or hardware layers. A single software component may have both platform and non-platform aspects. Examples of platforms are: Desktop operating systems; embedded operating systems, including mobile systems; Web browsers; plug-ins to Web browsers that render a particular media or format; and sets of components that allow other applications to execute, such as applications which support macros or scripting.

Programmatically Determinable. Ability to be determined by software from author-supplied data that is provided in a way that different user agents, including assistive technologies, can extract and present the information to users in different modalities.

Public Facing. Content made available by an agency to members of the general public. Examples include, but are not limited to, an agency Web site, blog post, or social media pages.

Real-Time Text (RTT). Communications using the transmission of text by which characters are transmitted by a terminal as they are typed. Real-time text is used for conversational purposes. Real-time text also may be used in voicemail, interactive voice response systems, and other similar application.

Revised 508 Standards. The standards for ICT developed, procured, maintained, or used by agencies subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as set forth in 508 Chapters 1 and 2 (36 CFR part 1194, Appendix A), and Chapters 3 through 7 (36 CFR part 1194, Appendix C).

Software. Programs, procedures, rules, and related data and documentation that direct the use and operation of ICT and instruct it to perform a given task or function. Software includes, but is not limited to, applications, non-Web software, and platform software.

Software Tools. Software for which the primary function is the development of other software. Software tools usually come in the form of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and are a suite of related products and utilities. Examples of IDEs include Microsoft® Visual Studio®, Apple® Xcode®, and Eclipse Foundation Eclipse®.

Telecommunications. The signal transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

Terminal. Device or software with which the end user directly interacts and that provides the user interface. For some systems, the software that provides the user interface may reside on more than one device such as a telephone and a server.

Text. A sequence of characters that can be programmatically determined and that expresses something in human language.

TTY. Equipment that enables interactive text based communications through the transmission of frequency-shift-keying audio tones across the public switched telephone network. TTYs include devices for real-time text communications and voice and text intermixed communications. Examples of intermixed communications are voice carry over and hearing carry over. One example of a TTY is a computer with TTY emulating software and modem.

Variable Message Signs (VMS). Non-interactive electronic signs with scrolling, streaming, or paging-down capability. An example of a VMS is an electronic message board at a transit station that displays the gate and time information associated with the next train arrival.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). A technology that provides real-time voice communications. VoIP requires a broadband connection from the user's location and customer premises equipment compatible with Internet protocol.

Web page. A non-embedded resource obtained from a single Universal Resource Identifier (URI) using HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) plus any other resources that are provided for the rendering, retrieval, and presentation of content.

508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements
E201 Application

E201.1 Scope. ICT that is procured, developed, maintained, or used by agencies shall conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

E202 General Exceptions

E202.1 General. ICT shall be exempt from compliance with the Revised 508 Standards to the extent specified by E202.

E202.2 Legacy ICT. Any component or portion of existing ICT that complies with an earlier standard issued pursuant to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (as republished in Appendix D), and that has not been altered on or after January 18, 2018, shall not be required to be modified to conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

E202.3 National Security Systems. The Revised 508 Standards do not apply to ICT operated by agencies as part of a national security system, as defined by 40 U.S.C. 11103(a).

E202.4 Federal Contracts. ICT acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract shall not be required to conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

E202.5 ICT Functions Located in Maintenance or Monitoring Spaces. Where status indicators and operable parts for ICT functions are located in spaces that are frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment, such status indicators and operable parts shall not be required to conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

E202.6 Undue Burden or Fundamental Alteration. Where an agency determines in accordance with E202.6 that conformance to requirements in the Revised 508 Standards would impose an undue burden or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, conformance shall be required only to the extent that it does not impose an undue burden, or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

E202.6.1 Basis for a Determination of Undue Burden. In determining whether conformance to requirements in the Revised 508 Standards would impose an undue burden on the agency, the agency shall consider the extent to which conformance would impose significant difficulty or expense considering the agency resources available to the program or component for which the ICT is to be procured, developed, maintained, or used.

E202.6.2 Required Documentation. The responsible agency official shall document in writing the basis for determining that conformance to requirements in the Revised 508 Standards constitute an undue burden on the agency, or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT. The documentation shall include an explanation of why and to what extent compliance with applicable requirements would create an undue burden or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

E202.6.3 Alternative Means. Where conformance to one or more requirements in the Revised 508 Standards imposes an undue burden or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, the agency shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of information and data by an alternative means that meets identified needs.

E202.7 Best Meets. Where ICT conforming to one or more requirements in the Revised 508 Standards is not commercially available, the agency shall procure the ICT that best meets the Revised 508 Standards consistent with the agency's business needs.

E202.7.1 Required Documentation. The responsible agency official shall document in writing: (a) The non-availability of conforming ICT, including a description of market research performed and which provisions cannot be met, and (b) the basis for determining that the ICT to be procured best meets the requirements in the Revised 508 Standards consistent with the agency's business needs.

E202.7.2 Alternative Means. Where ICT that fully conforms to the Revised 508 Standards is not commercially available, the agency shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of information and data by an alternative means that meets identified needs.

E203 Access to Functionality

E203.1 General. Agencies shall ensure that all functionality of ICT is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, either directly or by supporting the use of assistive technology, and shall comply with E203. In providing access to all functionality of ICT, agencies shall ensure the following:

A. That Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and

B. That members of the public with disabilities who are seeking information or data from a Federal agency have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.

E203.2 User Needs. When agencies procure, develop, maintain or use ICT they shall identify the needs of users with disabilities to determine:

A. How users with disabilities will perform the functions supported by the ICT; and

B. How the ICT will be developed, installed, configured, and maintained to support users with disabilities.

E204 Functional Performance Criteria

E204.1 General. Where the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 do not address one or more functions of ICT, the functions not addressed shall conform to the Functional Performance Criteria specified in Chapter 3.

E205 Electronic Content

E205.1 General. Electronic content shall comply with E205.

E205.2 Public Facing. Electronic content that is public facing shall conform to the accessibility requirements specified in E205.4.

E205.3 Agency Official Communication. Electronic content that is not public facing shall conform to the accessibility requirements specified in E205.4 when such content constitutes official business and is communicated by an agency through one or more of the following:

A. An emergency notification;

B. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding;

C. An internal or external program or policy announcement;

D. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action;

E. A formal acknowledgement of receipt;

F. A survey questionnaire;

G. A template or form;

H. Educational or training materials; or

I. Intranet content designed as a Web page.

EXCEPTION: Records maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to Federal recordkeeping statutes shall not be required to conform to the Revised 508 Standards unless public facing.

E205.4 Accessibility Standard. Electronic content shall conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).

EXCEPTION: Non-Web documents shall not be required to conform to the following four WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation, and 3.2.4 Consistent Identification.

E205.4.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web Documents. For non-Web documents, wherever the term “Web page” or “page” appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements, the term “document” shall be substituted for the terms “Web page” and “page”. In addition, in Success Criterion in 1.4.2, the phrase “in a document” shall be substituted for the phrase “on a Web page”.

E206 Hardware

E206.1 General. Where components of ICT are hardware and transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall conform to the requirements in Chapter 4.

E207 Software

E207.1 General. Where components of ICT are software and transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall conform to E207 and the requirements in Chapter 5.

EXCEPTION: Software that is assistive technology and that supports the accessibility services of the platform shall not be required to conform to the requirements in Chapter 5.

E207.2 WCAG Conformance. User interface components, as well as the content of platforms and applications, shall conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).

EXCEPTIONS: 1. Software that is assistive technology and that supports the accessibility services of the platform shall not be required to conform to E207.2.

2. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to the following four Success Criteria in WCAG 2.0: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks; 2.4.5 Multiple Ways; 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation; and 3.2.4 Consistent Identification.

3. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to Conformance Requirement 3 Complete Processes in WCAG 2.0.

E207.2.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web Software. For non-Web software, wherever the term “Web page” or “page” appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements, the term “software” shall be substituted for the terms “Web page” and “page”. In addition, in Success Criterion in 1.4.2, the phrase “in software” shall be substituted for the phrase “on a Web page.”

E207.3 Complete Processes for Non-Web Software. Where non-Web software requires multiple steps to accomplish an activity, all software related to the activity to be accomplished shall conform to WCAG 2.0 as specified in E207.2.

E208 Support Documentation and Services

E208.1 General. Where an agency provides support documentation or services for ICT, such documentation and services shall conform to the requirements in Chapter 6.

[82 FR 5832, Jan. 18, 2017, as amended at 83 FR 2915, Jan. 22, 2018]