The 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act requires all Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. The state of Texas also requires institutions of higher education to comply with Section 508 regarding publicly accessed websites.
Section 508 states:
“When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology, each Federal department or agency . . . shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that the electronic and information technology allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology –
- individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and
- individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal department or agency to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.
When development, procurement, maintenance, or use of electronic and information technology that meets the standards published by the Access Board . . . would impose an undue burden, the Federal department or agency shall provide individuals with disabilities covered by paragraph with the information and data involved by an alternative means of access that allows the individual to use the information and data.”
Information technology (IT) is defined as “any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.” This includes computers, software, networks, peripherals, and other types of electronic office equipment. The Access Board is a Federal agency devoted to accessibility for individuals with disabilities, and is a leading source of information on accessible design.