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Laws on Accessibility


Introduction to US Laws

WebAim website has a fairly easy to read introduction to the US laws pertaining to disabilities.  The focus of the document is on the laws as they apply to web accessibility but it contains useful information for other areas as well.

Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act

Section 508 contains the technical specifications and performance-based requirements for various technologies.  There are six sections:

  • Software Applications and Operating Systems
  • Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications
  • Telecommunications Products
  • Video and Multimedia Products
  • Self Contained, Closed Products
  • Desktop and Portable Computers

Update of the Standards:

  • Notice on the Release of Draft      PDF version     
  • Draft Updated Standards and Guidelines  (available for public comment until June 21, 2010)      PDF version
  • Public Comments on the Draft (, includes transcripts from hearings and other supporting materials)
  • Press Release
  • Public Hearing on the Draft Rule  (May 12)
  • Background Material
    • Advisory Committee (TEITAC) Report
    • Committee Members
    • Index to materials from advisory committee meetings

Current Standards

  • Section 508 Standards      PDF version      Text-to-Speech       Brailler Format
    • Spanish:   HTML       Text-to-Speech      Brailler Format
    • Japanese:   HTML      Text-to-Speech       Brailler Format
  • Preamble  (published discussion of the standards)

About the Current Standards

  • An Overview
  • Guide to the Standards
  • Accessible Telecommunications Product Design Tutorial
  • Developing Accessible Software Tutorial
  • E-Learning: Conforming to Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

  • The Law
  • Federal Acquisition Regulation  (rule incorporating the standards into the Federal government’s procurement regulations)
  • Frequently Asked Questions  (
  • Section 508 Facts – Brochure       PDF version

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act

WebAim states that Section 504 is the context of the law while section 508 provides the direction.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This act was written before the emergence of the web and tends to deal more with physical accessibility.



Government Code Section 11135

This code was the adoption of the the federal Section 508 above, and requires the CSU to comply with Section 508 as well as the US Access Board accessibility standards.  The link is for a pdf file.