The Access Board hopes to update laws that address electronic and information technology to ensure greater access for individuals with disabilities. The Equal Access to Software Information Network recently held a webinar on the Access Board’s advance notice of proposed rule-making.
Understanding changes in the law that may be coming down the pike is important to ensure that your institution is poised to comply with new accessibility standards.
The Access Board hopes to update the standards for electronic and information technology set by Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. While Section 508 applies to Web pages and online communications, Section 255 applies to information technology products and services sold in the United States.
The proposed changes aim to help existing laws catch up to recent advances in technology and its usage, and harmonize existing guidelines in different laws for the accessibility of electronic and information technology, noted Susan Marzrui of the World Institute on Disability during the EASI webinar.
The proposed guidelines hope to make it easier for Web content designers and product engineers to comply with accessibility standards by embedding advisory notes and examples directly into the more complex provisions.
They would also make it easier for students with disabilities to access information on the Web, provided that institutions adhere to Section 508 standards. And they would make it easier for them to access information presented through devices like the Kindle™ and the iPad™, since companies would have to include features that support accessibility, including the ability to change certain settings and work with assistive technologies.
The Access Board is also proposing to revise the ADA’s Accessibility Guidelines to address access to self-service machines, such as information kiosks and machines used to order food in cafeterias and self-serve restaurants.
For more information, go to www.access-board .gov/sec508/refresh/notice.htm. You may also access the EASI archived webinar at http://easi.cc/ archive/508panel/resources.htm.
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