Section 508 Checklist

Note: A Printer-friendly version of this checklist (in Adobe PDF format) has been prepared for better printing. (Acrobat Reader is required).

Part 1: for HTML

The following standards are excerpted from Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1194.22. Everything in the left hand column is a direct quote from Section 508. The other two columns are only meant to serve as helpful guidelines to comply with Section 508. These guidelines are suggestions only, and are not part of the official Section 508 document. For the full text of Section 508, please see http://www.access-board.gov/news/508-final.htm.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL

(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

[See Note 1]

Every image, Java applet, Flash file, video file, audio file, plug-in, etc. has an alt description. A non-text element has no alt description.
Complex graphics (graphs, charts, etc.) are accompanied by detailed text descriptions. Complex graphics have no alternative text, or the alternative does not fully convey the meaning of the graphic.
The alt descriptions succinctly describe the purpose of the objects, without being too verbose (for simple objects) or too vague (for complex objects). Alt descriptions are verbose, vague, misleading, inaccurate or redundant to the context (e.g. the alt text is the same as the text immediately preceding or following it in the document).
Alt descriptions for images used as links are descriptive of the link destination. Alt descriptions for images used as links are not descriptive of the link destination.
Decorative graphics with no other function have empty alt descriptions (alt= ""), but they never have missing alt descriptions. Purely decorative graphics have alt descriptions that say "spacer, "decorative graphic," or other titles that only increase the time that it takes to listen to a page when using a screen reader.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Multimedia files have synchronized captions. Multimedia files do not have captions, or captions which are not synchronized.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. If color is used to convey important information, an alternative indicator is used, such as an asterisk (*) or other symbol. The use of a color monitor is required.
Contrast is good. Contrast is poor.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet. Style sheets may be used for color, indentation and other presentation effects, but the document is still understandable (even if less visually appealing) when the style sheet is turned off. The document is confusing or information is missing when the style sheet is turned off.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map. Separate text links are provided outside of the server-side image map to access the same content that the image map hot spots access. The only way to access the links of a server-side image map is through the image map hot spots, which usually means that a mouse is required and that the links are unavailable to assistive technologies.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. Standard HTML client-side image maps are used, and appropriate alt tags are provided for the image as well as the hot spots. Server-side image maps are used when a client-side image map would suffice.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables. Data tables have the column and row headers appropriately identified (using the <th> tag) Data tables have no header rows or columns.
Tables used strictly for layout purposes do NOT have header rows or columns. Tables used for layout use the header attribute when there is no true header.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers. Table cells are associated with the appropriate headers (e.g. with the id, headers, scope and/or axis HTML attributes). Columns and rows are not associated with column and row headers, or they are associated incorrectly.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation. Each frame is given a title that helps the user understand the frame's purpose. Frames have no titles, or titles that are not descriptive of the frame's purpose.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. No elements on the page flicker at a rate of 2 to 55 cycles per second, thus reducing the risk of optically-induced seizures. One or more elements on the page flicker at a rate of 2 to 55 cycles per second, increasing the risk of optically-induced seizures.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

[See Note 2]

A text-only version is created only when there is no other way to make the content accessible, or when it offers significant advantages over the "main" version for certain disability types.

A text-only version is provided only as an excuse not to make the "main" version fully accessible.
The text-only version is up-to-date with the "main" version. The text-only version is not up-to-date with the "main" version.
The text-only version provides the functionality equivalent to that of the "main" version. The text-only version is an unequal, lesser version of the "main" version.
An alternative is provided for components (e.g. plug-ins, scripts) that are not directly accessible. No alternative is provided for components that are not directly accessible.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL

(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

[See Note 3]

Information within the scripts is text-based, or a text alternative is provided within the script itself, in accordance with (a) in these standards.
Scripts include graphics-as-text with no true text alternative.
All scripts (e.g. Javascript pop-up menus) are either directly accessible to assistive technologies (keyboard accessibility is a good measure of this), or an alternative method of accessing equivalent functionality is provided (e.g. a standard HTML link). Scripts only work with a mouse, and there is no keyboard-accessible alternative either within or outside of the script.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL

(m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with 1194.21(a) through (l).

[See Note 4]
[See Note 5]
[See Note 6]

A link is provided to a disability-accessible page where the plug-in can be downloaded. No link is provided to a page where the plug-in can be downloaded and/or the download page is not disability-accessible.
All Java applets, scripts and plug-ins (including Acrobat PDF files and PowerPoint files, etc.) and the content within them are accessible to assistive technologies, or else an alternative means of accessing equivalent content is provided. Plugins, scripts and other elements are used indiscriminately, without alternatives for those who cannot access them.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. All form controls have text labels adjacent to them. Form controls have no labels, or the labels are not adjacent to the controls.
Form elements have labels associated with them in the markup (i.e. the id and for, HTML elements). There is no linking of the form element and its label in the HTML.
Dynamic HTML scripting of the form does not interfere with assistive technologies. Dynamic HTML scripting makes parts of the form unavailable to assistive technologies.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. A link is provided to skip over lists of navigational menus or other lengthy lists of links. There is no way to skip over lists of links.

SEC. 508 STANDARD PASS FAIL
(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. The user has control over the timing of content changes. The user is required to react quickly, within limited time restraints.

Note 1: Until the longdesc tag is better supported, it is impractical to use.

Note 2: "Text-only" and "accessible" are NOT synonymous. Text-only sites may help people with certain types of visual disabilities, but are not always helpful to those with cognitive, motor or hearing disabilities.

Note 3: At this time, many elements of Dynamic HTML (client-side scripted HTML, which is usually accomplished with Javascript) cannot be made directly accessible to assistive technologies and keyboards, especially when the onMouseover command is used. If an onMouseover (or similar) element does not contain any important information (e.g. the script causes a button to "glow"), then there is no consequence for accessibility. If this scripted event reveals important information, then a keyboard-accessible alternative is required.

Note 4: When embedded into web pages, few plug-ins are currently directly accessible. Some of them e.g. RealPlayer) are more accessible as standalone products. It may be better to invoke the whole program rather than embed movies into pages at this point, although this may change in the future.

Note 5: Acrobat Reader 5.0 allows screen readers to access PDF documents. However, not all users have this version installed, and not all PDF documents are text-based (some are scanned in as graphics), which renders them useless to many assistive technologies. It is recommended that an accessible HTML version be made available as an alternative to PDF.

Note 6: PowerPoint files are currently not directly accessible unless the user has a full version of the PowerPoint program on the client computer (and not just the PowerPoint viewer). It is recommended that an accessible HTML version be provided as well.


 

Part 2: for Scripts, Plug-ins, Java, etc.

The following standards are excerpted from Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1194.21. For the full text of Section 508, please see http://www.access-board.gov/news/508-final.htm.

SEC. 508 STANDARD
(a) When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions shall be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually.
(b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer.
(c) A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus shall be provided that moves among interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus shall be programmatically exposed so that assistive technology can track focus and focus changes.
(d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to assistive technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text.
(e) When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images shall be consistent throughout an application's performance.
(f) Textual information shall be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that shall be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes.
(g) Applications shall not override user selected contrast and color selections and other individual display attributes.
(h) When animation is displayed, the information shall be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user.
(i) Color coding shall not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.
(j) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided.
(k) Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
(l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

Updated March 29, 2001

 

 

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