The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are an international voluntary standard for web accessibility that is more comprehensive and up-to-date than the original Section 508 standards.  The Section 508 revision was finalized in January 2017 and will require WCAG 2.0 at priority level AA conformance.  This revision removes the biggest and most common barriers for disabled users.

The new Section 508 standards apply to the following specific areas:

  1. Public-facing content that includes electronic information and data.
  2. Non-public facing content that falls within the following nine categories of official communications:
    1. emergency notifications
    2. initial or final decisions adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding
    3. internal or external program or policy announcements
    4. notices of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action
    5. formal acknowledgements of receipt
    6. survey questionnaires
    7. templates and forms
    8. educational and training materials
    9. intranet content designed as a Web page

The deadline for compliance with Section 508 has been set for January 2018.

Documentation on how the new Section 508 standards were developed can be found at: www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/final-rule.