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36 CFR Part 1194 - Proposed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines NPRM

See also: Final Rule published to the Federal Register 1/18/17 that jointly updates requirements for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act.

APPENDIX A TO PART 1194 – SECTION 508 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT: APPLICATION AND SCOPING REQUIREMENTS

E101.1 Purpose.

These 508 Standards, which consist of 508 Chapters 1 and 2 (Appendix A), along with Chapters 3 through 6 (Appendix C), contain scoping and technical requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) that is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Compliance with these standards is mandatory for federal agencies subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d).

E101.2 Equivalent Facilitation.

The use of an alternative design or technology that results in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities than would be provided by conformance to one or more of the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 of the 508 Standards is permitted. The functional performance criteria in Chapter 3 shall be used to determine whether substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability is provided to individuals with disabilities.

E101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances.

Dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where dimensions are stated as a range.

E101.4 Units of Measurement.

Measurements are stated in metric and U.S. customary units. The values stated in each system (metric and U.S. customary units) may not be exact equivalents, and each system shall be used independently of the other.

E102.1 Incorporation by Reference.

The specific editions of the standards and guidelines listed in E102 are incorporated by reference in the 508 Standards and are part of the requirements to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where conflicts occur between the 508 Standards and the referenced standards, these standards apply. The Director of the Office of the Federal Register has approved the standards for incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR Part 51. Copies of the referenced standards may be inspected at the Access Board’s office, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004.

E102.2 American National Standards Institute/ Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (ANSI/HFES).

Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, P.O. Box 1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369 (http://www.hfes.org/Publications/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=76).

ANSI/HFES 200.2 Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces — Part 2: Accessibility, (2008), IBR proposed for Section 502.4.

Advisory E102.2 American National Standards Institute/Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (ANSI/HFES). ANSI/HFES 200.2 provides design specifications for human-system software interfaces to ensure that software is accessible to people with a wide range of physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities, including those with temporary disabilities and older adults. This publication is also available as ISO 9241-171 Ergonomics of Human System Interaction, Part 171: Guidance on software accessibility.
E102.3 American National Standards Institute/ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ANSI/IEEE).

Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, P.O. Box 3014, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264 (http://www.ieee.org/).

ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011 American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices and Hearing Aids, Committee C63 – Electromagnetic Compatibility, May 27, 2011, IBR proposed for Section 410.4.1.

Advisory E102.3 American National Standards Institute/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ANSI/IEEE). ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011 provides a uniform method of measurement for compatibility between hearing aids and wireless communications devices.
E102.4 Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC).

Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the Advanced Television Systems Committee, 1776 K Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006-2304 (http://www.atsc.org/).

A/53 Digital Television Standard, Part 5: AC-3 Audio System Characteristics, (2010), IBR proposed for Section 412.1.1.

Advisory E102.4 Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). The A/53 Digital Television Standard provides the system characteristics for advanced television systems. The document and its normative parts provide detailed specification of the parameters of the system. Part 5 provides the audio system characteristics and normative specifications. It includes the Visually Impaired (VI) associated service, which is a complete program mix containing music, effects, dialogue and a narrative description of the picture content. ATSC also publishes a companion technical assistance guide to the use of its television standard.
E102.5 Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the Internet Engineering Task Force (http://www.ietf.org/).

Request for Comments (RFC) 4103, Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) Payload for Text Conversation (2005), G. Hellstrom, Omnitor AB, and P. Jones, Cisco Systems, IBR proposed for Section 410.6.3.2.

Advisory E102.5 Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This standard describes how to carry real time text conversation session contents in Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) packets. Real time text conversation is used alone or in connection with other conversational modalities to form multimedia conversation services. Examples of other conversational modalities are video and voice. Real time text in multimedia conversation sessions is sent character-by-character as soon as it is available, or with a small delay for buffering.
E102.6 International Standards Organization (ISO).

Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from International Organization for Standardization, ISO Central Secretariat, 1, ch. de la Voie-Creuse, CP 56 - CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland (http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=54564).

ISO 14289-1 Document management applications — Electronic document file format enhancement for accessibility — Part 1: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/UA-1), Technical Committee ISO/TC 171, Document Management Applications, Subcommittee SC 2, Application Issues, (2014), IBR proposed for Sections E205.1 and 602.3.1.

Advisory E102.6 International Standards Organization (ISO). Formally known as ISO 14289-1:2014, PDF/UA-1 (Portable Document Format, Universal Accessibility), this is the International Standard for accessible PDF. PDF/UA provides a technical, interoperable standard for the authoring, remediation and validation of PDF content to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities who use assistive technology such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and joysticks to navigate and read electronic content.
E102.7 International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from the International Telecommunication Union, Telecommunications Standardization Sector, Place des Nations CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T).

Advisory E102.7 International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T). G.722 is an ITU-T standard describing how to encode and compress wideband audio and decode it for playback. The G.722 coder-decoder program provides 7 kHz wideband audio at data rates from 48, 56, and 64 kbits/s. It is useful for voice over IP applications, where it provides high quality audio for video conferencing and PC-to-PC calls placed via VoIP services. E.161 defines the assignment of the basic 26 Latin letters (A to Z) to the 12-key telephone keypad.
E102.7.1 ITU-T Recommendation G.722.

General Aspects of Digital Transmission Systems, Terminal Components, 7 kHz Audio-Coding within 64 Kbits/s, (September 2012), IBR proposed for Section 410.5.

E102.7.2 ITU-T Recommendation E.161.

Arrangement of digits, letters and symbols on telephones and other devices that can be used for gaining access to a telephone network, ITU – T Study Group 2, (February 2001), IBR proposed for Section 407.3.2.

E102.8 Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

Copies of the referenced standards, published by the Telecommunications Industry Association, may be obtained from IHS, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112 (http://global.ihs.com/).

Advisory E102.8 Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). TIA 825-A is the standard for TTY signals on the public switched telephone network interface (PSTN). TIA 1083 defines measurement procedures and performance requirements for the handset generated audio band magnetic noise of wire line telephones, including digital cordless telephones.
E102.8.1 TIA 825-A.

A Frequency Shift Keyed Modem for Use on the Public Switched Telephone Network, (2003), IBR proposed for Section 410.6.3.1.

E102.8.2 TIA 1083.

Telephone Terminal Equipment Handset Magnetic Measurement Procedures and Performance Requirements, (March 2007), IBR proposed for Section 410.4.2.

E102.9 Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C).

Copies of the referenced guidelines may be obtained from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 32 Vassar Street, Room 32-G515, Cambridge, MA 02139 (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20).

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, W3C Recommendation, December 2008, IBR proposed for Sections E205.1, E207.2, 405.1 Exception, 501.1 Exception 1, 504.2, 504.3, 504.4, and 602.3.1.

Advisory E102.9 Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 offers a series of recommendations to make web content more accessible to all users, including persons with disabilities.
E103.1 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards.

Terms defined in referenced standards and not defined in E103.4 shall have the meaning as defined in the referenced standards.

E103.2 Undefined Terms.

Any term not defined in E103.4 or in referenced standards shall be given its ordinarily accepted meaning in the sense that the context implies.

E103.3 Interchangeability.

Words, terms, and phrases used in the singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the singular.

E103.4 Defined Terms.

For the purpose of the 508 Standards, the terms defined in E103.4 have the indicated meaning.

508 Standards.

The standards for ICT developed, procured, maintained, or used by agencies subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as set forth in 508 Chapters 1 and 2 (36 CFR Part 1194, Appendix A ), and Chapters 3 through 6 (36 CFR Part 1194, Appendix C).

Agency.

Any agency or department of the United States as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502, and the United States Postal Service.

Application.

Software designed to perform, or to help the user to perform, a specific task or tasks.

Assistive Technology (AT).

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Audio Description.

Narration added to the soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone. Audio description is a means to inform individuals who are blind or who have low vision about visual content essential for comprehension. Audio description of video provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. Audio description supplements the regular audio track of a program. Audio description is usually added during existing pauses in dialogue. Audio description is also called “video description” and “descriptive narration”.

Authoring Tool.

Any software, or collection of software components, that can be used by authors, alone or collaboratively, to create or modify content for use by others, including other authors.

Closed Functionality.

Characteristics that limit functionality or prevent a user from attaching or installing assistive technology. Examples of ICT with closed functionality are self-service machines, information kiosks, set-top boxes, fax machines, calculators, and computers that are locked down so that users may not adjust settings due to a policy such as Desktop Core Configuration.

Content.

Electronic information and data, as well as the encoding that defines its structure, presentation, and interactions.

Hardware.

A tangible device, equipment, or physical component of ICT, such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, and keyboards.

Information technology.

Shall have the same meaning as the term “information technology” set forth in 40 U.S.C. 11101(6).

Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Information technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and information, as well as any associated content. Examples of ICT include, but are not limited to: computers and peripheral equipment; information kiosks and transaction machines; telecommunications equipment; customer premises equipment; multifunction office machines; software; applications; websites; videos; and, electronic documents.

Keyboard.

A set of systematically arranged alphanumeric keys or a control that generates alphanumeric input by which a machine or device is operated. A keyboard includes tactilely discernible keys used in conjunction with the alphanumeric keys if their function maps to keys on the keyboard interfaces.

Label.

Text, or a component with a text alternative, that is presented to a user to identify content. A label is presented to all users, whereas a name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology. In many cases, the name and the label are the same.

Menu.

A set of selectable options.

Name.

Text by which software can identify a component to the user. A name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology, whereas a label is presented to all users. In many cases, the label and the name are the same. Name is unrelated to the name attribute in HTML.

Operable Part.

A component of ICT used to activate, deactivate, or adjust the ICT.

Platform Accessibility Services.

Services provided by a platform enabling interoperability with assistive technology. Examples are Application Programming Interfaces (API) and the Document Object Model (DOM).

Platform Software.

Software that interacts with hardware, or provides services for other software. Platform software may run or host other software, and may isolate them from underlying software or hardware layers. A single software component may have both platform and non-platform aspects. Examples of platforms are: desktop operating systems; embedded operating systems, including mobile systems; Web browsers; plug-ins to Web browsers that render a particular media or format; and sets of components that allow other applications to execute, such as applications which support macros or scripting.

Programmatically Determinable.

Ability to be determined by software from author-supplied data that is provided in a way that different user agents, including assistive technologies, can extract and present the information to users in different modalities.

Public Facing.

Content made available by an agency to members of the general public. Examples include, but are not limited to, an agency website, blog post, or social media pages.

Real-Time Text (RTT).

Communications using the transmission of text by which characters are transmitted by a terminal as they are typed. Real-time text is used for conversational purposes. Real-time text also may be used in voicemail, interactive voice response systems, and other similar applications.

Software.

Programs, procedures, rules and related data and documentation that direct the use and operation of ICT and instruct it to perform a given task or function.

Telecommunications.

The signal transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

Terminal.

Device or software with which the end user directly interacts and that provides the user interface. For some systems, the software that provides the user interface may reside on more than one device such as a telephone and a server.

Text.

A sequence of characters that can be programmatically determined and that expresses something in human language.

TTY.

Equipment that enables interactive text based communications through the transmission of frequency-shift-keying audio tones across the public switched telephone network. TTYs include devices for real-time text communications and voice and text intermixed communications. Examples of intermixed communications are voice carry over and hearing carry over. One example of a TTY is a computer with TTY emulating software and modem.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

A technology that provides real-time voice communications. VoIP requires a broadband connection from the user’s location and customer premises equipment compatible with Internet protocol.

E201.1 Scope.

ICT that is procured, developed, maintained, or used by agencies shall conform to the 508 Standards.

Advisory E201.1 Scope. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d) applies to federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service. The term “agency” is defined in Section E103 to include the United States Postal Service and other federal agencies and departments as specified in 44 U.S.C. 3502. That section of the U.S.C. defines “agency” to mean any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency, but does not include (a) the General Accounting Office; (b) Federal Election Commission; (c) the governments of the District of Columbia and of the territories and possessions of the United States, and their various subdivisions; or (d) Government-owned contractor-operated facilities, including laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities.
E202.1 General.

ICT shall be exempt from compliance with the 508 Standards to the extent specified by E202.

E202.2 National Security Systems.

The 508 standards do not apply to ICT operated by agencies as part of a national security system, as defined by 40 U.S.C. 11103(a).

Advisory E202.2 National Security Systems. The term National Security System means any telecommunication, or information system operated by the United States government, the function, operation, or use of which involves: intelligence activities; cryptologic activities related to national security; command and control of military forces; equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons system; or systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions. Systems that are critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions do not include systems that are used for routine administrative and business applications. Examples of routine administrative and business applications are payroll, finance, logistics, and personnel management applications. Routine administrative and business applications are covered by this document.
E202.3 Federal Contracts.

ICT acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract shall not be required to conform to the 508 Standards.

Advisory E202.3 Federal Contracts. ICT that is incidental to a contract includes materials which are, themselves, not deliverables under the contract. For example, if a contractor is permitted to use money from a contract to acquire a laptop which is used to help create the deliverable for the project, the laptop, itself, is considered incidental to the contract since it is not part of the deliverable.
E202.4 ICT Functions Located in Maintenance or Monitoring Spaces.

Where status indicators and operable parts for ICT functions are located in spaces that are frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment, such status indicators and operable parts shall not be required to conform to the 508 Standards.

Advisory E202.4 Functions Located in Maintenance or Monitoring Spaces. When indicators and operable parts for ICT functions are located in maintenance or monitoring spaces but they are operated remotely, the remote controls or interfaces would also not be permitted this exception unless they are also are located in a maintenance or monitoring space.
E202.5 Undue Burden or Fundamental Alteration.

Where an agency determines in accordance with E202.5 that conformance to requirements in the 508 Standards would impose an undue burden or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, conformance shall be required only to the extent that it does not impose an undue burden or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

E202.5.1 Basis for a Determination of Undue Burden.

In determining whether conformance to requirements in the 508 Standards would impose an undue burden on the agency, the agency shall consider the extent to which conformance would impose significant difficulty or expense considering the agency resources available to the program or component for which the ICT is to be procured, developed, maintained, or used.

E202.5.2 Required Documentation.

The responsible agency official shall document in writing the basis for determining that conformance to requirements in the 508 Standards constitute an undue burden on the agency, or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT. The documentation shall include an explanation of why and to what extent compliance with applicable requirements would create an undue burden or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

E202.5.3 Alternative Means.

 Where conformance to one or more requirements in the 508 Standards imposes an undue burden or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, the agency shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of information and data by an alternative means that meets identified needs.

Advisory E202.5 Undue Burden or Fundamental Alteration. A determination by an agency that conformance to a particular provision would result in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT does not exempt the ICT in its entirety. The agency is required to ensure conformance of ICT to those provisions that do not result in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.
E202.6 Best Meets.

Where ICT conforming to one or more requirements in the 508 Standards is not commercially available, the agency shall procure the product that best meets the 508 Standards consistent with the agency’s business needs.

Advisory E202.6 Best Meets. This exception only applies when a product meeting the provisions of this document is not commercially available. This document does not require agencies to procure ICT that is not needed by the agencies to perform their mission.
E202.6.1 Required Documentation.

The responsible agency official shall document in writing: (a) the nonavailability of conforming ICT, including a description of market research performed and which provisions cannot be met, and (b) the basis for determining that the ICT to be procured best meets the requirements in the 508 Standards consistent with the agency’s business needs.

Advisory E202.6.1 Required Documentation. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) sets forth the documentation requirements for a determination of commercial non-availability by federal agencies subject to 508 requirements.
E202.6.2 Alternative Means.

Where ICT that fully conforms to the 508 Standards is not commercially available, the agency shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of information and data by an alternative means that meets identified needs.

Advisory E202.6.2 Alternative Means. Nothing in this document obviates or limits the requirements of other sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. An agency still may still have a duty under Sections 501 and 504 to provide access to information and data to individuals with disabilities. Some individuals may require accommodations even when using ICT that fully conforms to the provisions of this document.
E203.1 General.

Agencies shall ensure that all functionality of ICT is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, either directly or by supporting the use of assistive technology, and shall comply with E203. In providing access to all functionality of ICT, agencies shall ensure the following:

a. That federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and

b. That members of the public with disabilities who are seeking information or data from a federal agency have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.

E203.2 Agency Business Needs.

When agencies procure, develop, maintain or use ICT they shall identify the business needs of users with disabilities affecting vision, hearing, color perception, speech, dexterity, strength, or reach to determine:

a. How users with disabilities will perform the functions supported by the ICT; and

b. How the ICT will be installed, configured, and maintained to support users with disabilities.

Advisory E203.2 Agency Business Needs. An assistive technology needs assessment is an example of how an agency might analyze how a user performs the functions supported by the ICT. Set-up of assistive technology is an example of installation and configuration to support use by people with disabilities. User training is an example of a resource that helps maintain the ability of users with disabilities to use ICT.
E204.1 General.

Where the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 do not address one or more features of ICT, the features not addressed shall conform to the Functional Performance Criteria specified in Chapter 3.

E205.1 General.

Content shall comply with E205.

E205.2 Public Facing.

Content that is public facing shall conform to the accessibility requirements specified in E205.4.

E205.3 Agency Official Communication.

Content that is not public facing shall conform to the accessibility requirements specified in E205.4 when such content constitutes official business, and is communicated by an agency through one or more of the following:

1. An emergency notification;
2. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding;
3. An internal or external program or policy announcement;
4. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action;
5. A formal acknowledgement or receipt;
6. A questionnaire or survey;
7. A template or form; or 
8. Educational or training materials.

EXCEPTION: Records maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to federal recordkeeping statutes shall not be required to conform to the 508 Standards unless public facing.

Advisory E205.3 Agency Official Communication - Exception. Materials submitted to NARA as public records are not required to conform to the provisions of this document even if they are of a type listed in E205.3. However, all agencies are encouraged to do what they can to preserve aspects of documents that contribute to their accessibility, such as structure and formatting.
E205.4 Accessibility Standards.

Content shall conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements specified for Web pages in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1) or, where applicable, ISO 14289-1 (PDF/UA-1) (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1).

E206.1 General.

Where components of ICT are hardware and transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall conform to applicable requirements in Chapter 4.

E207.1 General.

Where components of ICT are software and transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall conform to E207 and applicable requirements in Chapter 5.

E207.2 WCAG Conformance.

User interface components, as well as the content of platforms and applications, shall conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements specified for Web pages in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1).

Advisory E207.2 WCAG Conformance. WCAG is written to be technology neutral. While oriented towards web pages which are defined as being delivered using HTTP, the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements can be applied to non-web documents, user interface components, and the content of platforms and applications. Guidance can be found at: http://www.w3.org/TR/wcag2ict.
E208.1 General.

Where an agency provides support documentation or services for ICT, such documentation and services shall conform to the requirements in Chapter 6.

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