Updated Accessibility Requirements

An Update to the Update:

1/23/17 – The new 508 rules are out! You can read the announcement from the Access Board (on a website powered by Drupal!), or read my summary of the rules changes.

Original Post:

As people that maintain content on the web, we’re all responsible for making sure our content adheres to the Section 508 standards. However, as discussed in an earlier post, these rules are a little dated. Fortunately, the government is currently in the process of updating the rules, and a final rule could come any day – although the government has not been successful updating these standards in the past.

The new rules are likely to closely mirror the WCAG 2.0 standards, which are an international, consensus driven standard for accessibility for a wide range of technology formats, including web pages, Word documents, PDFs, and many others. WCAG 2.0 includes three different levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA. It’s expected that the new 508 ruling will require compliance to the AA level.

During the next few posts, we’ll explore some of the ways the new standards differ from what we currently require of our Drupal pages. If you’d like a head start, you can view a complete comparison table on the Access Board website, which we’ll use as the basis to explore what’s different between 508 and WCAG 2.0.

One final note: although I’ll be writing these posts with a lens toward how it applies to our web pages, 508 rules apply to all the materials we create or purchase, including classroom materials. If you’re an instructor, you may want to get in touch the ATC for help ensuring your class materials comply with accessibility requirements.

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