Section 508 Refresh News

Section 508 Refresh

Last week, the executive director of the U.S. Access Board made an announcement that the web accessibility community in the United States has been waiting for years to hear.

David M. Capozzi announced the Office of Management and Budget cleared the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for Section 508 standards; it will be sent to the Federal Register for publication.

The public will have a 90-day period to comment.

The NPRM and supporting documents will be available on the Access Board website Wednesday, February 18, 2015; it’s expected to be published in the Federal Register shortly after that.

Public Hearings

Two public hearings will be held:

March 5, 2015 from 9:30am. to 11:30am (Pacific Time)
Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
One Market Place
Mission Beach A & B (3rd floor)
San Diego, CA 92101
Note: This hearing will be held in conjunction with the 2015 California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Conference, but persons wishing only to testify need not register for the conference.

March 11, 2015 from 9:30am to 11:30am (Eastern Time)
U.S. Access Board Conference Room
1331 F Street, NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004

Witnesses can testify in person at the hearing in San Diego. Witnesses can testify in person or by telephone at the hearing in Washington, DC. Copies of the rule will not be available at the hearings.

Call-in information and a communication access real-time translation (CART) web streaming link for the Washington, DC hearing will be posted before the hearing at ICT Refresh (information wasn’t available today when I checked).

For information on pre-registering to testify, please contact Kathy Johnson at (202) 272–0041, (202) 272–0082 (TTY), or by email.

If you have questions about the rule once it is made public, please contact Tim Creagan at (202) 272-0016, (202) 272-0074 (TTY), or email.

The US Board will offer a free webinar about the proposed rule on Tuesday, March 31 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm (Eastern Time). You can sign up for the webinar at Great Lakes ADA Center. When I checked today, the webinar information wasn’t available.

Exciting News for the Accessibility Community

The accessibility community was thrilled to hear the news, which spread quickly on social media channels and web accessibility forums.

I reached out to my friend Mike Elledge about the Section 508 announcement. Mike is a Usability Specialist/Accessibility Subject Matter Expert at Ford Motor Company, and spoke at our Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Detroit event last year.

It’s an exciting development and one that people in the accessibility community have been looking forward to.

Once it becomes law, assuming that the proposed criteria for evaluating online accessibility remains in place after public comment, it should reinforce the adoption of WCAG 2.0 Level AA as the standard for online accessibility and accelerate its application to non-Federal (i.e., eCommerce) sites as well. It’s a very welcome step toward making the web accessible to everyone.

If you want to learn more about Section 508, visit Questions & Answers about Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments.

Update: As of October 1, 2015, the Section 508 Refresh has not been published.

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About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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