Section 508 Refresh: New Rules for Media Accessibility

Camera image

The U.S. Access Board, the government agency responsible for providing accommodations for people with disabilities under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, has issued a call for public comments concerning Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This call is in regards to new rules which are currently being developed for how ICT is handled. The Access Board controls require that ICT on government web sites and government media productions be accessible to the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and low vision individuals.

On February 27, 2015 the Access Board issued proposed changes to Section 508, known as the “2015 Refresh.”  The Refresh proposes to have U.S. Government agencies conform to international standards of accessibility. These standards were suggested by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.0, which in turn were proposed by the World Wide Web Consortium on web accessibility (W3C).  That’s more governmental acronyms that the average video producer can handle!

Our Plan for the Refresh

Word Wizards, Inc. will follow and report on these developments to the film and video community, since many of our clients are video producers for the government or are government contractors.  The current requirements focus on PDF remediation, Closed Captioning (CC) for the deaf, and Audio Description (AD) for the blind.  We will examine when these accessibility methods are required under the proposed rule. Also, we will acknowledge when they could be substituted by alternative methods, which provide accessibility in a way that is either just as good, if not better than standard CC and AD.

We will be submitting our own comments to the Access Board soon.  So, we’d like to hear from you about 508 requirements. Tell us about how the current CC and AD requirements impact your production strategy. Please submit your comments to

More Info

Graphic of a person in a wheelchair with the text: Accessibility for All

We invite our friends in the production community to follow us as we cover these changes to 508 compliant media production requirements.  As the Baby Boomer Generation ages, the number of persons with auditory and visual disabilities are constantly increasing. Companies on the forefront of accessibility technologies are poised to capitalize on this trend, and will benefit from following these critical rule making processes.

Here are some links which tell you more about what is going on with the 508 refresh:

About the 508 Refresh

Proposed Rule