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Written by: Timothy Stephen Springer
9 years ago

As part of my first post I mentioned that we would discuss the scope of electronic documents in a future post.  Here it is!

As noted, electronic documents will be explicitly addressed in the Section 508 Refresh. Electronic documents are arguably covered under the current standards, but are not commonly put into practice.  With the current draft of the Section 508 Refresh, coverage of electronic content is limited to nine specific categories of information communicated by agencies to employees or to members of the general public during the conduct of official agency business, as determined by the agency mission. These categories include:

  • Content that is public facing;
  • Content that is broadly disseminated within the agency;
  • Letters adjudicating any cause within the jurisdiction of the agency; internal and external program and policy announcements;
  • Notices of benefits, forms, questionnaires and surveys;
  • Emergency notifications;
  • Formal acknowledgements;
  • Any educational and training materials.

There are two exceptions to covered content: archival copies stored or retained solely for archival purposes to preserve an exact image of a hard copy, and draft versions of documents.

In practice this will mean that many components of agencies and other organizations that 508 applies to will need to make significant efforts to ensure all content producers can create accessible content.

The standards for this content are currently tracking as the WCAG 2.0 A and AA conformance requirements.