In 2017, the United States Access Board published a final rule updating information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 255 of the Communication Act. Some relevant articles from the US Government include:
- Overview of the Final Rule
- Section 508 Standards Questions and Answers by the US Government
- Section 508 Final Rule (2017) Text of the Standards and Guidelines by the US Government
The refresh puts US Government requirements in alignment with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which are the globally-recognized voluntary standards for web content and information and communication technology.
Essentially, when a federal governmental organization wants to purchase software, they are required to ensure that the software meets accessibility standards as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for Level A and Level AA guidelines. They identify which products meet their criteria using a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
It is in the government’s best interest to buy software that can be used by anyone regardless of disability.