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Section 508

Section 508 requires United States federal agencies to make their mobile apps accessible for everyone. This means that federal employees with disabilities are able to do their work with accessible apps. Section 508 also means that a person with a disability applying for a job with the federal government or a person who is using an agency’s app, has access to the same accessible information and resources available to anyone.

What does this mean for you as a developer?

What you have to do to comply is laid down in chapter E207.2 of Section 508. to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0. An overview of all Succes Criteria that apply is listed immediately below. Followed by an explanation of the structure of Section 508.

Succes Criteria that an app must meet at least

Apps do not need to conform to 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation and 3.2.4 Consistent Identification. However, we recommend that you still try to meet these criteria.

Depending on the functionalities of your app, you might need to meet additional requirements from other chapters.

Section 508 structure

The Section 508 standard consists of 7 chapters.

  • Chapter 1 provides general information, referenced standards and definitions.

  • Chapter 2 contains scoping requirements, information about providing access to all functionality, information about functional performance criteria and requirements for electronic content, hardware, software and support documentation and services.

  • Chapter 3 contains functional performance criteria for users without vision, with limited vision, without perception of colour, without hearing, with limited hearing, without speech, with limited manipulation, with limited reach and strength and with limited language or cognitive and learning abilities.

  • Chapter 4 contains requirements for hardware.

  • Chapter 5 contains requirements for software.

  • Chapter 6 contains requirements for support documentation and services.

  • Chapter 7 contains referenced standards.

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