The day started off with welcoming remarks from Dominic Sale, Deputy Associate Administrator for GSA's Office of Information, Integrity & Access and a keynote address by Access Board Executive Director David Capozzi.
"Although section 508 only applies to the federal government, its impact has been felt in state governments, the private sector, and around the world," Capozzi noted. "Last year, the U.S. government spent about $80 billion on ICT; when you can harness that purchasing power to drive accessibility, progress is bound to happen."
Capozzi recounted the history of Section 508 and called attention to its global effects. "The European Union now has a new set of ICT accessibility standards – modeled after our updated section 508 standards; Australia is using public procurement to drive accessible technology; and, Canada is developing a new law that will address public procurement of ICT as well," he stated. "The world is paying attention to what we do here."
The forum featured a series of workshops organized into tracks on ICT development, agency policy, and the revised 508 Standards. Representatives from the Access Board and other agencies conducted the sessions which addressed different aspects of Section 508 and the standards, including major changes in the updated standards, how the standards apply to federal acquisitions, IT development contracts and the IT lifecycle, revisions to federal agency Section 508 policies, testing methods and other topics. The event also provided an opportunity to publicize new tools and resources, including a "Toolkit" on the revised 508 standards developed by an interagency transition team and the Information Technology Industry Council's recent release of an updated Voluntary Product Accessibility Template which businesses can use to document product conformance with the revised standards.
For further information on the Section 508 Standards, visit the U.S. Access Board's website and GSA's section508.gov website.
source: United States Access Board