New OMB Policy Guarantees Federal Technology Adheres to Accessibility Standards

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Tech News Summary:

  • OMB is finalizing guidance to ensure that all federal digital services and online information meet Section 508 standards set by the U.S. Access Board, emphasizing the importance of accessibility from the beginning of digital service development.
  • Less than 50% of public websites for several federal departments meet Section 508 requirements, indicating a significant gap in accessibility compliance, prompting OMB to conduct a government-wide Section 508 assessment to prioritize digital accessibility.
  • Martorana stressed the importance of providing equal opportunities for all users to engage with digital content in a meaningful way and highlighted the upcoming federal accessibility guidance based on OMB’s recent policy on providing a “Digital-first public experience.”

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced a new policy aimed at ensuring that federal technology meets accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities. This new policy, known as the Accessible Technology Initiative, will require all federal agencies to prioritize the accessibility of their technology and digital services.

Under the new policy, federal agencies will be required to design, develop, procure, and maintain technology and digital services in a way that enables all individuals, including those with disabilities, to access and use them. This includes making websites, applications, and other digital tools compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and magnification software.

The OMB’s announcement of the Accessible Technology Initiative reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring equal access to information and services for all Americans, regardless of their abilities. This new policy will not only benefit individuals with disabilities, but will also improve the overall user experience for all users of federal technology and digital services.

The OMB’s decision to prioritize accessibility standards for federal technology is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable digital environment. By ensuring that federal technology meets accessibility standards, the government is setting a positive example for other organizations and industries to follow.

The implementation of the Accessible Technology Initiative is expected to require collaboration and coordination across federal agencies, as well as ongoing monitoring and reporting on progress towards meeting accessibility standards. With the new policy in place, federal agencies are now tasked with making accessibility a top priority in their technology development and procurement processes.

Overall, the OMB’s announcement of the Accessible Technology Initiative signals a commitment to creating a more accessible and inclusive digital landscape for all Americans. By prioritizing accessibility standards for federal technology, the government is taking a positive step towards ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal access to information and services.

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