Save the date for the 2010 Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase (IDEAS) conference on December 13 and 14!
The IDEAS conference will be the result of a partnership between GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy and the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Program (ODEP). IDEAS 2010 will provide insight, policy updates and best practices on efforts implementing Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. All stakeholders – consumers, agency staff, industry partners, academia – are invited to attend this premier free event.
When: Monday and Tuesday, December 13th and 14th, 2010. 8:30 – 4:30 each day
Where: GWU’s Marvin Center
Sponsored by: The George Washington University, Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (GW-CRCRE)
Visit the IDEAS website for more save the date information. Information on agenda and registration should be available there soon.
The Access Board will hold public events in Chicago on September 29 and 30 as part of its yearly out-of-town meeting.
Public Forum on Information Technology in the Federal Sector (Sept. 30, 1:30 to 4:30)
As part of a new administration initiative, members of the Chief Information Officers Council will join the Board in conducting the first in a series of listening sessions on ways to promote access to information technology (IT) in the Federal sector under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Questions to be explored through this session include:
- What can the federal government do to use technology in new and better ways and to influence technology accessibility?
- What can technology do to improve access and opportunities for people with disabilities and enhance their interaction with the federal government?
- Are there emerging technologies being used by the federal government that people feel left out of?
Members of the public are invited to attend the session to offer their ideas for improving IT accessibility or to share access concerns. Feedback from this session and future ones will be shared with responsible agencies to implement improvements.
The public hearing and forum will be held at the Courtyard Marriott Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. For more information, contact Kathy Johnson at email@example.com, (202) 272-0041, or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).
Section 508 certification doesn’t exist. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT) are the best way for vendors to provide accessibility information to the government.
Some people are claiming that they can provide vendors with a third party certification that their products are Section 508 compliant. Well that simply isn’t possible! No one, including the agency buying the product or service, can certify compliance or conformance, because there are no accepted tests. In the end the federal agency purchasing a product or service is responsible for determining if the deliverables meet their requirements.
Vendors can give the government information about the accessibility features of their products and services in the form of a (VPAT). The government looks at VPATs during their market research, and may even require vendors to provide VPATs or a Government Product/Service Accessibility Template (GPAT) for a proposal or with deliverables.
That being said, there are a lot of experienced companies who can help vendors prepare VPATs or GPATs. Many companies also offer expert services to federal agencies to assist in determining how well products and/or services conform to the Standard. You can find many of these companies through BuyAccessible.gov – just search for companies with Section 508 expertise!
Servers are electronic and information technology (EIT), and federal agencies need to comply with Section 508 when purchasing these products. Servers come loaded with software and operating systems, and these are subject to Section 508 requirements because they directly interact with users and not just service personnel for maintenance or repair.
Fortunately, we have a Quick Link that will provide you with the language you need for your solicitation. Still wondering how the provisions of Section 508 apply to servers? Let’s look into that.
Continue reading “Are you buying a server for your Agency?”
Within the realm of Section 508 there are many misconceptions. We would like to shed light on some of these in an on-going group of postings to our blog; this post is the first. The dialogue will cover areas such as: Applicability, Exceptions, Contractors, and Responsibilities related to Section 508. We would like to get your thoughts and ideas on this topic, and perhaps we can post some of the issues you may have encountered.
One common misconception is that once an agency addressed Section 508 in their procurement phase their work is complete. Actually, much work remains. It is the correct practice to address Section 508 in your solicitation, but your due diligence does not end there. After the award decision is made, which should have included Section 508 as part of that decision, then each agency needs to ensure the delivered product meets the accessibility standards. Remember your acceptance criteria should have included Section 508 as well. Agencies frequently forget that Section 508 requirements extend after the procurement phase and into use and maintenance.
This is just one of the issues faced every day to ensure successful implementation of Section 508. With your help, we hope to clear up some of these misconceptions in future posts.
Recently, our blog was cited as a good example of accessible CAPTCHA in action!
Here is the site where they talked about us. (Note that this is not a government site.)
Here is where we first described our CAPTCHA.
Fax machines are electronic and information technology (EIT), and federal agencies need to comply with Section 508 when purchasing these products. However, it is often a challenge to determine which provisions from the standard apply as EIT often crosses several product boundaries. Fortunately, we have a Quick Link that will provide you with the language you need for your solicitation. Still wondering how the provisions of Section 508 apply to fax machines? Let’s look into that.
Continue reading “Are you buying a Fax Machine for your Agency?”