​​​​Section 508 Compliance

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Frequently asked questions

What is Section 508 compliance?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to create, buy, and use information and communication technology (ICT) that's accessible. ICT includes software and websites, electronic documents (such as PDFs), multimedia content, phones, call centers, and more. Specifically, Section 508 evaluates web accessibility according to the success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. That means to be compliant with Section 508, federal agencies, and those doing business with federal agencies, must make sure their ICT conforms with WCAG 2.0 AA.

Does Section 508 apply to state agencies?

While Section 508 is a federal law, there may be implications for employees and agencies at the state level. Consult the Section 508 website to learn more about implications for state agencies and whether your state has enacted its own ICT accessibility laws.

Does Section 508 apply to the private sector?

Private sector organizations contracting with federal agencies are also required to comply with Section 508, ensuring any ICT they provide a federal agency is accessible.

What is Section 508 compliance testing?

Section 508 compliance testing is the process of checking information and communication technology (ICT) to ensure it meets accessibility requirements. ICT includes all pages of your website, software, applications, intranet sites and tools, and electronic documents. Section 508 defines web accessibility as conforming to the success criteria outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. Therefore, to comply with Section 508, ICT should conform with WCAG.

What is the difference between ADA and Section 508?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is a U.S. federal law that mandates that federal agencies create and use information and communications technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities, including those using assistive technology. Section 508 applies to federal agencies and departments, ensuring all people with disabilities can use federal agency resources. It also applies to any vendors selling ICT to a federal agency.

The ADA is an anti-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in physical spaces. While the specific language of the ADA does not mention digital accessibility compliance, recent U.S. court rulings and legal precedent make it clear the ADA applies to the digital world as well as the physical one.

While ADA compliance and Section 508 accessibility standards have some overlap, they’re best used in tandem as guidelines for digital accessibility. Together, the ADA and Section 508 help ensure that no business or agency, whether in the public or private sector, excludes individuals with disabilities from access to online content. Learn more about the difference between the ADA and Section 508.