GSA revamps Section 508 Web site

GSA revamps Section 508 Web site

The General Services Administration has relaunched a Web site that serves as a resource for Section 508 of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act Amendments. An informational site has been up for two years, but section508.gov, launched this week, reaches out to a wider audience.

'The last one assumed you spoke governmentese,' said Terry Weaver, director of the Center for IT Accommodation in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. 'We're trying to get away from that.'

Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to disabled users. 'A lot of purchasing happens in the field,' Weaver said, and there will be an impact on vendors' designs. Federal requirements eventually will change the way the private sector buys and uses information technology, Weaver said.

A Buy Accessible database template, hosted by the IT Industry Council, will accept vendors' voluntary self-assessments of how well their products comply with Section 508 requirements. Some vendors have made such assessments for several years, Weaver said, and the new site will access such information from a single link. But the feature is so new that although the Web site was turned on yesterday, the database has not yet been populated. Weaver said her office hopes to have enough data to make it usable next week.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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