US Access Board Proposes Updated ICT Accessibility Requirements

The US access Board has released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also would jointly update guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act.

The updated proposal is “…responsive to fundamental changes, innovations, and trends in the industry, such as the widespread convergence of technologies…” according to the summary, and should help all in the industry interpret Section 508 with fresh guidance.

The proposed rule includes significant changes that would:

  •  incorporate the WCAG 2.0 and apply associated success criteria to websites as well as to offline electronic documents and software;
  • require real-time text functionality (text that is transmitted character by character as it is being typed) for products providing real-time, two-way voice communication;
  • specify the types of non-public facing electronic content covered;
  • and
    further detail the required compatibility of covered technologies, including operating systems, software development toolkits, and software applications with assistive technology.

Specific to PDF, the proposed rules address “accessible PDF files (ISO 14289-1, Document management applications — Electronic document file format enhancement for accessibility — Part 1: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/UA-1))

More information is here, and an overview of the refresh can be read here.