The Revised Section 508 Standards went into effect January 18, 2018, a year after the U.S. Access Board published the Final Rule of the updated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines. U.S. federal agencies are required to comply with the Revised 508 Standards (as of January 18, the anniversary of the publication in the U.S. Federal Register).
The changes cover ICT developed, procured, maintained or used by the Federal government, including computer hardware and software, websites, multimedia such as video, phone systems, and copiers. The FCC is expected to go through a similar rulemaking process to require the Revised 508 Standards for ICT to meet Section 255 of the Communications Act.
What does this now mean for organizations that sell ICT to federal agencies?
Agencies have changed what bids they will accept based on the refreshed standards. The new VPAT 2.0 format includes the Revised Section 508 standards, WCAG 2.0 and the European EN 301 549 standard used for procurement.
Check out the tools and resources provided by IBM for support in meeting the revised standards. For more details, see At last, The Refresh of Section 508 by Debra Ruh and Rosemary Musachio on the Ruh Global Communications website.
"...federal government entities who create new ICT have eleven months or so to comply with Section 508 Refresh..."
"...By directly referring to WCAG 2.0, Section 508 Refresh will cover web accessibility much more extensively than the original Section 508..."
"...Besides having clear, more specific requirements to make ICT accessible, Section 508 Refresh also clarifies how ICT should be compatible with assistive technology (AT), which helps persons with disabilities access content..."
"...Ironically, AT itself is exempt from conformance. But yes, Section 508 Refresh does specifies features of AT..."
"...clarifying that it’s the ICT, not the AT, that must comply with the Section 508 Refresh is definitely a benefit..."