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what is digital accessibilityWhether you are a government agency or selling to a government agency, you should know if your products are covered by Section 508. Even if your technology wasn’t covered before, the Section 508 Refresh (“the Refresh”) made some changes, which went into effect on January 18, 2018.

First, get ready to learn a new acronym. The Refresh makes a change in the terminology from Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) to Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The term ICT encompasses EIT as well as other communication technology such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), telecommunication products, and customer premises equipment (CPE) used for telecommunications.

This updated term also takes into account modern communication methods and fits better with the harmonized Section 508 and Section 255 standards. This terminology change does not practically alter the applicability of the standards and guidelines to what was previously covered.

What is EIT?

EIT is any information technology and equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used to create, convert, or duplicate data or information. Specifically, it includes:

  • Telecommunication products (e.g., telephones; information kiosks, and transaction machines);
  • Websites;
  • Multimedia (e.g., content on videotapes, CDs, and DVDs);
  • Office equipment (e.g., copiers and fax machines); and
  • Services.

The published Section 508 EIT accessibility standards (FR 65 No. 246) include technical criteria, functional performance criteria, and criteria for information, documentation and support.

The technology specific criteria cover:

  • Software applications and operating systems;
  • Web-based information or applications;
  • Telecommunications products;
  • Video or multimedia products;
  • Self-contained, closed products; and
  • Desktop or notebook computers.

The functional performance criteria cover operation, including:

  • Input and control functions,
  • Operation of mechanical mechanisms, and
  • Access to visual and audible information.

The information, documentation, and support criteria require:

  • Access to user guides;
  • Installation guides for end-user installable devices; and
  • Customer support and technical support communications.

Want to Learn More?

For more information on the Refresh, check out our Section 508 Refresh whitepaper.

And access the resources from our free, on-demand webinar: Section 508 Refresh: Understanding the New Requirements