What is the Status of the Section 508 Standards and Guidelines Refresh?
Updated January 11th, 2013
The first Section 508 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) was released in 2010. As of October 2012, the second draft is still under review and the current version of Section 508 still applies.
In 2006 the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) was established by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) to refresh the standards and guidelines of Section 508.
In March, 2011 the Board released for public comment a first draft of the updated standards and guidelines. The draft featured a new structure and format that integrated the 508 standards and 255 guidelines into a single document referred to as the "Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines."
The first draft recognized that information technology is available on other devices in addition to desktops and laptops, so there was no specific provision for desktops and laptops, but rather for a variety of "platforms". Requirements were reorganized according to functionality instead of product type since many devices now feature an array of capabilities and applications. The released draft included proposed revisions to various performance criteria and technical specifications that are designed to improve accessibility, add clarity to facilitate compliance, address market trends, and promote harmonization with other guidelines and standards.
The second draft was released in December 2011. The second release focuses more on features of products rather than on types of products when addressing accessibility. It also clarifies the relationship between functional performance and technical provisions. The Board removed specific requirements relating to web and non-web electronic content, documents and user applications and referenced WCAG 2.0 instead. WCAG 2.0 is now referenced in the rule rather than being paraphrased or physically incorporated. Other changes were more cosmetic, to provide for better readability and usability.
Responses to this draft were due by March 7, 2012 and two public hearings were conducted in March 2012.