In the United States, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) requires the federal government to procure technology products are accessible to people with disabilities. Under Section 508, federal entities must procure the most accessible technology product that does not impose an undue burden on the government. Many state and local governments, as well as private companies, are also adopting Section 508 standards when purchasing technology.
The US Access Board published a rule on requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508. These requirements include incorporating the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 by reference and applying Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements to websites, as well as to non-web electronic documents and software. Globally, some countries including Canada, Israel, and Australia are starting to implement WCAG 2.0 as an accessibility standard.
Esri is committed to building accessible software. Accessibility is not a fixed requirement and this is a continuous and ongoing effort. With each release of ArcGIS, we improve in the area of accessibility. We recognize the need for accessibility across the entire ArcGIS platform – from Mobile to Desktop to Server to online applications. Esri publishes information regarding product accessibility on disclosure forms called Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates, or VPATs. The VPATs are designed to assist customers in evaluating compliance with Section 508 criteria when selecting the product to best meet their needs.
Customers can find more information about Esri's commitment to Section 508 at www.esri.com/legal/section508. Customers are also encouraged to engage with Esri on the topic of accessibility. Comments, inquiries, or suggestions can be directed to Section508@esri.com.