We are required to abide by Federal Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, codified at 29 U.S.C. § 794d, which requires all electronic documents to be accessible for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. The most commonly used electronic document formats are Adobe PDFs, but Section 508 compliance includes other electronically distributed formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
This act and its amendments prohibit discrimination based on disability in federal agencies' programs, in programs receiving federal financial assistance (such as the University), federal employment, and federal contractors. Compliance with the regulations is required for state and local governments and schools under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
To meet Section 508 requirements, electronic documents often require "remediation", or modifications of the document structure, appearance, or addition of non-visual data. The remediation process benefits "non-disabled" users as well, as the improved sub-structure of remediated documents includes additional information, increasing the value of the content. Searchability, navigation, and readability are better for all users.
The following guidelines for accessibility will make your electronic documents more available to a broader audience, including those with blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, and combinations. The guidelines also ensure that electronic document accessibility keeps pace with advancements in technology.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Accessibility Compliance Checklists
Federal Government Training
Learn how to create accessible content and test it for conformance to Section 508.