Archive for the "Section 508" Topic

FCC Accessible Communications Regulations – Legal Update Webinar Q & A

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In Tuesday’s webinar, Maria Browne from Davis Wright Tremaine outlined the requirements of the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), the Communications Act, and their impact on accessibility. This post contains Maria’s responses to audience questions posed during and after the presentation. Webinar Q & A Q: Does the Netflix lawsuit apply only to Netflix-created content or to all content Netflix hosts/shows? //MB: Plaintiffs alleged that Netflix violated Title III of the ADA by failing to provide equal access to its on-demand video streaming website, “Watch Instantly.”  Plaintiffs alleged that Netflix provided closed captioning for only a small percentage of the titles available on its website, and… Read More

Key Features of the Section 508 Refresh

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As announced earlier this month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the US Access Board’s final rules updating the standards for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as guidelines for Section 255 of the Communications Act. The updates make long-awaited changes to the federal digital accessibility requirements. The Section 508 refresh is expected to be published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017, with an effective date of one year after the publication date. A safe harbor will exist for information and communication technology (ICT) that meets the current Section 508 standards.  After the effective… Read More

Section 508 Refresh Takes Another Step Forward

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has cleared the US Access Board’s final rule updating Section 508 standards and telecom guidelines. While the Rule has not been published yet, details are forthcoming. In our September blog post, US Access Board Approves Final Section 508 Rule – Sends to OMB For Last Review, we reported that the US Access Board voted to approve and forward the final rule text and preamble of the ICT Standards and Guidelines (aka the Section 508 Refresh) to the OMB for final review prior to publishing in the Federal Register. The vote gave OMB staff authority to make non-substantive changes…. Read More

What Will a Trump Presidency Mean for Digital Accessibility?

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In the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, many are wondering how the new administration will affect the digital accessibility space. In the short term, we see it as unlikely that a Trump presidency will have a major impact on the status quo. The Americans with Disabilities Act Donald Trump has never specifically addressed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so it is difficult to predict what his stance would be. In the past, scaling back rights for people with disabilities has proven to be politically unpopular. Given that neither advancing nor curtailing the ADA is among Trump’s… Read More

Update to Section 508 Refresh Timeline

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The regulatory calendar for the Section 508 Refresh has been updated as of October 24, 2016. The rules will probably go into effect prior to the end of the current Federal year—just in time for year-end procurements!     Here is the updated calendar*: Milestone Period Date NPRM draft to OIRA for economic impact assessment DONE 3/31/2014 OIRA completes NPRM review DONE 6/29/14 OIRA review notes incorporated into draft NPRM DONE 2/17/2015 NPRM published in Federal Register DONE 2/27/2015 NPRM comment period DONE 5/28/2015 Board approves draft rule text DONE 9/14/2016 Rule submitted to OIRA for review DONE 10/24/2016 OIRA… Read More

Section 508 Refresh Webinar – Q&A

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This post includes my responses to all of the questions posed in last week’s webinar: Section 508 Refresh – Understanding the New Requirements.  For more information on this topic, you can access the webinar slides, transcript, and recorded presentation at, or check out my Section 508 Refresh Series on the blog. With the Refresh, are there any expected changes to the bi-annual OMB reporting? The Department of Justice is mandated to survey and create a biennial report to congress and to the President of the United States on the implementation of Section 508.  There is a long history of this not occurring consistently. … Read More

US Access Board Approves Final Section 508 Rule – Sends to OMB For Last Review

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Today at the US Access Board’s meeting in Washington DC, the Board voted to approve and forward the final rule text and preamble of the ICT Standards and Guidelines (aka the Section 508 Refresh) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review prior to publishing in the Federal Register. The vote gives OMB staff authority to make non-substantive changes. In addition, the final regulatory assessment will be forwarded to all Board members once it has been received.  Health and Human Services was the only Board member to abstain from voting, all others voted yes to the rulemaking…. Read More

Section 508 Refresh – Next Steps for Federal Agencies & Their Vendors

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While the wheels of the legislative branch turn slowly, it is recommended that federal agencies and their vendors start getting to know WCAG 2.0 and developing their remediation plans so they are already well on their way to compliance by the day the Refresh is official. Where do you start? Where you start depends on where your organization stands currently when it comes to digital accessibility: New to Accessibility The best place to start is with an audit, which will give your leadership team a high-level overview of your level of compliance with WCAG 2.0 A and AA and your development… Read More

Section 508 Refresh – RTT Functionality, Interoperability Requirements, & Miscellaneous Additions

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RTT Functionality The Section 508 Refresh would require that whenever two-way voice communication is provided, real-time text (RTT) functionality be provided to allow for comparable access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Real-time text is transmitted on a character-by-character basis as the characters are typed, rather than as a single block of text once transmission is complete. Instant messaging and SMS (often called text messages) are examples of text-based communication that sends the message after it is completed rather than character by character. RTT is especially important for emergency situations when a partial message would be valuable…. Read More

Section 508 Refresh – WCAG 2.0, Functional Performance & Tech Requirements

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The Section 508 Refresh recognizes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as the success criteria applicable to websites, electronic documents, and software. This brings the 508 Standards up to date with the technologies available today, ensuring that individuals with disabilities are able to use them. WCAG 2.0 is technology-neutral, so it is easily applied to all sorts of technology. Using WCAG 2.0 will also bring the US government and its vendors into harmony with the international accessibility community. This will help create a uniform experience for users with disabilities around the world and allow vendors to conform to WCAG… Read More

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