Almost all software applications contains some barriers to some people with disabilities. Most applications, however, provide a fair degree of accessibility to most people with disabilities. Among the communities most likely to face significant barriers are those who are blind, those with low vision, and those with multiple disabilities.

The 508 Compliance Committee recommends the following:

  1. Training Needs Surveys. A designated central agency should develop and distribute "training needs" surveys to all employees. These surveys should explicitly address training needs for people with disabilities, especially those who use assistive technology in conjunction with mainstream software applications. EEOC should provide guidance to agencies on this issue.
  2. Appropriate, Periodic Training. A designated central agency should train all IT personnel, procurement officials, "help desks" and other support personnel, and users with disabilities, regarding basic accessibility issues. To conserve resources, ITR, in consultation with other key groups, should create training modules that can be shared among campus units. It should also make available lists of appropriate training vendors. ITR should ensure that specialized training is available for users with disabilities for all software packages for which training is generally provided.
  3. Documentation (Instructions, Help Files, User Manuals, Etc.). Many software applications have accessibility features of which most users, trainers, 'help desk' personnel, and others are unaware. Other software applications (such as word processors, Adobe Acrobat, etc.) can be used to create information products. Knowledgeable users can use these applications to create information products that are relatively accessible. Other people may inadvertently use the same applications in such a way that the information products they create are largely inaccessible. Each unit should require its software vendors to include clear documentation of the accessibility features and appropriate uses of their products to maximize accessibility.