Section 508 guidelines likely in January 2001

"Guidelines for Section 508 Expected by January"

Government Computer News (10/23/00) Vol. 19, No. 31, P. 8; Orr, Tony Lee
The federal Access Board is due to issue guidelines in January 2001 to help 
agencies comply with the Section 508 directive. This directive requires 
that disabled users be able to access IT. Board accessibility specialist 
Doug Wakefield says that agencies will have six months after the guidelines 
are issued before the directive goes into effect. However, Wakefield says 
agencies do not have to wait until the final guidance is issued to begin 
making sure that their Web sites and other systems are accessible. 
Wakefield says that agencies must basically make sure that their IT is 
available to those without vision and those without hearing. However, the 
board wants to define how much accessibility is suitable. Wakefield says, 
"Accessibility may be in the eye of the beholder," and notes that the 
question may boil down to whether a disabled person can access and use a 

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is working on 
establishing metrics that would remove any uncertainty. Sharon Lakowski, 
manager of the institute's visualization and usability group, says that 
design and performance must be considered when studying accessibility. 
Factors such as a Web page's design and a disabled users' ability to 
complete tasks to his or her satisfaction could be a basis for judging 
accessibility, Lakowski says. She suggests performance-based user testing 
to work toward a common industry format.

Has anyone from WAI been in touch with Sharon Lakowski?

Regards/Harvey Bingham

Received on Sunday, 12 November 2000 19:14:06 UTC