Is the Section 508 refresh on its way?

According to this post, the head of the US Access Board has

confirmed the Board is working to publish the final rule updating Section 508 standards by October of this year. The team expects to ask the Board for a vote on the draft text during the July meeting. Once approved by the Board, the final rule will go to the Office of Budget Management (OMB) where the Board expects the review will take 90 days.

This is, you’ll recall, the update of the US federal web accessibility standard which has been dragging through committee processes for ten years. Without this desperately needed update, web developers working for the US federal government are still legally required to retrofit their work to a pre-WCAG desktop standard from 1998. Even the EU – traditionally the paragon of slow and cumbersome lawmaking – has issued a bigger, better, and more comprehensive public sector accessibility rule in a fraction of the time that their US counterpart has been fudging excuses.

Now, at this point, the US Access Board have spent ten years making more empty promises than a desperate ex. You are not likely to find anyone in the accessibility community who will take them for their word that “this year” means “this actual year.” That credibility gap is the Access Board’s fault alone.

About the author
Heather Burns is a digital law specialist in Glasgow, Scotland. She researches, writes, publishes, consults, and speaks extensively on internet laws and policies which affect the crafts of web design and development. She has been designing and developing web sites since 1997 and has been a professional web site designer since 2007. She holds a postgraduate certification in internet law and policy from the University of Strathclyde. Learn about hiring Heather to write, speak, or consult.