The U.S. Access Board proposes updated ICT Accessibility Requirements. The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also would jointly update guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act. “The Board’s proposal is responsive to widespread changes and innovations in the IT and communication industries,” states Sachin Dev Pavithran, Vice Chair of the Access Board. “It is important that the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines stay abreast of the ever-evolving technologies they cover so that accessibility for people with disabilities is properly addressed.” The proposed rule updates various requirements to address fundamental shifts and trends in the market, such as the convergence of technologies and the increasingly multi-functional capabilities of products like smart phones. Another key goal of this update is to promote consistency with other requirements in the U.S. and abroad in order to improve accessibility and to facilitate compliance.
A leading reference, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), is incorporated into the rule and applied to web-based content as well as to offline documents and software. The Board is proposing other revisions that will harmonize the rule with voluntary consensus standards, including those issued by other countries and international bodies such as the European Commission due to the global nature of the ICT market. The proposed rule specifies the technologies covered and contains performance-based criteria as well as technical requirements for hardware, software, and support documentation and services. Access is addressed for all types of disabilities, including those pertaining to vision, hearing, color perception, speech, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. The proposed rule is based on recommendations from the Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) which comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, government agencies, and other countries. It also incorporates public feedback the Board received through the release of two advance drafts of the rule.
“The significant input the Board has received from stakeholders and interested parties throughout this process is reflected in the proposed rule,” notes Pavithran. “Such collective feedback is critical to getting things right in the final rule, and it is no different with the current proposal, which includes a host of questions the Board is posing to the public to gather additional information on various topics.” Public comments on the rule, as well as on a preliminary assessment of its estimated costs and benefits, are due in 90 days. The Board also will hold public hearings on the rule in San Diego on March 5 and in Washington, DC on March 11. In addition, the Board will conduct a public webinar to review the proposal on March 31. Further information on this rulemaking, including a summary of the rule, is available on the Board’s website or by contacting Timothy Creagan at (202) 272-0016 (v), (202) 272-0074 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
System-Wide Contracting News
The FOIA/Open Records RFP that was posted two Fridays back can be viewed at: http://esbd.cpa.state.tx.us/bid_show.cfm?bidid=115822
QA/Software Review Assistance – what are the types of software that you need QA/Software Review assistance? Java? .Net? Etc.
Texas A&M IT is beginning a search for a new enterprise project and portfolio management tool to implement within Texas A&M IT and offer as a shared service. If you are interested in participating in this process, please contact PMO@tamu.edu.
Siteimprove checks web pages, every five days, for spelling, grammar, broken links, and accessibility. The cost is 54 cents per web page per year. Any Members interested in adding this service need to contact me directly.
The System-wide agreement with Cisco WebEx allows Members to purchase licenses for their entire faculty/administrators at the low cost of $1.44/month/license.
Syncplicity licensing is available for all Members.
The HR/Payroll Software Selection Project Team will be continuing site visits and reference checks this week. Site visit reports were made available to Project Team members last week.
Utilities & Energy Services is working with Agrilife to serve as the pilot of Cisco EnergyWise.
- Austin (February 27)