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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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