The New Section 508: Modeling Usability, Interoperability, and Harmonization

The text alternative to a PowerPoint presentation delivered by Mike Paciello, co-chair, Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC), at the October 22, 2008, meeting of Boston-IA.

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Slide 1:

  • Introduction to TEITAC
    • rationale
    • members
  • Results
  • Implementation

Slide 2:

  • §508 of the Rehabilitation Act
    • applies to federal agencies: all electronic and information technology (E&IT)
    • employees and members of the public
  • §255 of the 1996 Communications Act
    • applies to entire telecom market: equipment manufacturers and service providers in telecom and interconnected VoIP
    • TEITAC did not address service provider issues

Slide 3:
Why Update?

  • Frequent requests for clarification and technical assistance on 508
    • what products are covered?
    • just procurement, or use also?
  • Global market = international harmonization; many other standards activities underway
  • Technology convergence
    • products migrating across the 6 categories used in Section 508
    • widespread adoption of wireless and VoIP

Slide 4:
TEITAC Membership

  • Federal agencies
  • ICT and AT industries and their trade associations
  • Standards organizations
  • Consumer advocates
  • Researchers and developers
  • National and international (EU, Japan, Canada, Australia) policy experts and consultants
  • Broad public participation
  • 8 Subcommittees
    • General Interface, Web/Software, Telecommunications, Audio-Video, Self-Contained, Hardware, Subpart A, Documentation

Slide 5:
41 TEITAC Members

  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • American Council of the Blind
  • American Foundation for the Blind
  • Apple, Inc.
  • Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs
  • Assistive Technology Industry Association
  • AT&T
  • Avaya, Inc.
  • Canon USA, Inc.
  • Communication Service for the Deaf
  • CTIA - The Wireless Association
  • Dell, Inc.
  • Easter Seals
  • European Commission
  • Hearing Loss Association of America
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Australia)
  • IBM
  • Inclusive Technologies
  • Industry Canada
  • Information Technology Association of America
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • Japanese Standards Association
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • National Association of State Chief Information Officers
  • National Center on Disability and Access to Education
  • National Federation of the Blind
  • National Network of Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers
  • Panasonic Corporation of North America
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • SRA International, Inc.
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.
  • Telecommunications Industry Association
  • The Paciello Group (TPG), LLC
  • Trace Research and Development Center
  • Usability Professionals' Association
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Social Security Administration
  • WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
  • World Wide Web Consortium – Web Accessibility Initiative

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Slide 6:
TEITAC Results (1 of 4)

  • More provisions, but more testable and largely harmonized with other standards
  • Technical Provisions and Functional Performance Criteria (FPCs)
  • Structure and strength of recommendation
    • recommended provisions
    • provisions without consensus
    • "best practices"
    • notes, for Access Board or implementers
  • Includes cognitive disabilities

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Slide 7:
TEITAC Results (2 of 4)

  • "Product characteristics" rather than "product categories"
    • "Real-time Voice Conversation Functionality", not "Telephone systems"
  • Beyond procurement: specific implementation and use provisions
    • agencies must provide access to relay services, including video
    • agencies must configure accessibility features
    • agency-created content ("official agency communications") is covered

Slide 8:
TEITAC Results (3 of 4)

  • Specific to 255/Telecom
    • access to relay services
    • software in telecom products
    • volume control & amplification
    • real-time text
    • interactive voice response (IVR) provisions

Slide 9:
TEITAC Results (4 of 4)

  • Software, Web, other content, and interface behavior now largely converged into "User Interface and Electronic Content"
  • Web is now an application platform
    • actual user requirements virtually the same as desktop software
  • Content
    • current standard only addresses Web content
    • everyone creates content

Slide 10:
What Now?

  • Access Board will take Report and develop a proposed rule, NPRM
    • economic impact
  • Comment period
  • Final Rule
  • Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
    • balance accessibility with other drivers
  • FCC action?
  • Timeframe?

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Slide 11:

  • Information tools and "Communities of Practice"
    • "provision inflation" and complexity
    • consistent procurement practices
    • testing results (or at least protocols, metrics)
    • workarounds and user interface settings
    • VPAT, BuyAccessible, Trace Filter
  • Research & development
    • better metrics and tests for hearing and vision
    • emerging technologies
    • cognitive disabilities
    • assistance with AT-ICT interoperability

Slide 12:
Other Jurisdictions

  • EU: Mandate 376
    • accessibility standards inventory (includes Section 508)
    • development of European Standards (harmonization)
    • conformity assessment models and protocols
  • States
    • many require accessibility, based on some or all of 508
    • some cover education, local government, state funding recipients
    • States lack GSA-type TA, 508 coordinators
    • complexity is burdensome, results in narrowing the scope or relaxing the provision

Slide 13 (last slide):

  • TEITAC Report addresses (but does not resolve) all of the issues
    • unresolved: AT-ICT interoperability, when to apply FPCs
  • Rulemaking will be … lively
    • minority reports
  • Implementation issues involve many federal, state, international actors

Slide 14: Handout

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