GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Section 508 Blog

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ICT vs EIT? - Nov 25 , 2013

The existing standard uses the term, Electronic and Information Technology (EIT). This site uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to be consistent with world-wide terminology except in cases where there are citations from the FAR and other reference documents which use ICT.

Yes. Section 508 applies when Federal agencies "develop, procure, maintain, or use information and communication technology." Even if the agency is simply procuring a new version of an existing product, Section 508 applies. Section 508 requirements must be considered in the Brand Name justification and in the "or Equal" decision. It is a best practice to include Section 508 requirements in solicitation documentation for Brand Name or Equal, otherwise how are vendors able to propose products or services that equals the brand name?

Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors. The standards for determining employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those used in title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Section 508 certification doesn't exist. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT) are the best way for vendors to provide accessibility information to the government.

Recently we received a comment that asked if software being developed had to be Section 508 conformant because no one in the organization had a disability. The answer is, "Yes, you still have to consider Section 508!" Here are a few reasons why:

Besides identifying the applicable Section 508 provisions, there are additional ways to get a congratulations letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOpps solicitation considers Section 508. You should include Section 508 in your acceptance criteria and evaluation factors. Evaluations should be based in part on the proposal responsiveness to the identified Section 508 requirements and considerations for accessibility.

Want to know how to get a congratulations letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOpps solicitation considers Section 508? At a minimum, determine the applicable Section 508 provisions and include them in your solicitation. This includes identifying the specific technical provisions from 1194 Subpart B Technical Provisions. Subpart C Functional Performance Criteria always apply. Subpart D Information, Documentation, and Support almost always apply when you are buying EIT.

Here are some practices that GSA will point out as places to improve should you receive a letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOps solicitation considers Section 508.

Did you know that your Agency may have a Section 508 Coordinator who can assist you with Section 508 issues and questions? Federal Government Section 508 Coordinators have been appointed by their department/agency as the central point of contact for information concerning Section 508 issues and solutions. They are responsible for supporting the implementation of Section 508 throughout the organization.

Market Research why do it? - Jan 23 , 2013

For Federal buyers, the short answer is because it is required by the FAR. Recently we received a comment that suggested using social media to help with market research. While this is a unique way to find out about current state of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products and services it does not meet the requirements of the FAR for Market Research. Remember that as a Federal buyer, you are responsible for the compliance of ICT product and services regarding Section 508 conformance which includes evaluation and testing.