One Size Does Not Fit All for Section 508

Within the domain of Section 508 there are many misconceptions. One notable misconception is the thought that if the language works for one solicitation it will work for all. We see many cases where Section 508 language is cut from one solicitation and pasted to another. This approach is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and we all know from many hour of play as a child that is a difficult task. It almost never works unless you are ordering the exact same item.

Here is an example: Solicitation A is for Web Development and Solicitation B is for a Laptop Computers. Solicitations A and B both state:

“All services and products provided in response to this requirement shall comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) and the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board Electronics and Information Technical (EIT) Accessibility Standard (36 CFR part 1194). Regardless of format, all Web content or communications materials produced for publication on or delivery via Web sites – including text, audio or video – must conform to provisions found in 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications.”

The first sentence is a general statement. The second sentence is only applicable to the solicitation for Web Development and has absolutely nothing to do with Laptop Computers.

The thing to remember is that each solicitation is unique and should be treated as such. Each agency needs to identify the Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) within their solicitation, identify the applicable Section 508 standards, and include that information in the solicitation. GSA’s free BuyAccessible tools can help you identify the applicable Section 508 standards and prepare solicitation language.

This post is part of a series on Accessibility Forum 2.0 blog on Common Misconceptions.

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply