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Section 508 Testing

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Accessible Systems & Technology (OAST) has a mission to provide strategic direction, technical support, and training to ensure agency employees and customers with disabilities have equal access to information and data. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d), requires all federal departments and agencies to ensure that their information and communications technology (ICT) is accessible to people with disabilities.

The following test processes are used by DHS to validate Section 508 conformance claims.

Harmonized ICT Test Baseline for Section 508 Compliance

ICT Testing Baseline (GitHub)

The ICT Testing Baseline was established by a subcommittee under the US Federal CIO Council to provide a standard means to evaluate web-based electronic content for conformance to the Section 508 Standards, which align with WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria.   ICT baseline tests

The Baseline Tests:

  • Reduce ambiguity, increase consistency of results, and emphasize the methods and techniques that can reliably meet federal accessibility requirements.
  • Provide a common set of unified tests to measure conformance to the Section 508 technical requirements for web based electronic content.
  • Are designed to be used as a foundation for establishing WCAG 2.0 conformance test processes, and to evaluate test processes and test tools for alignment.

Accessibility Tests for Web (e.g. Trusted Tester)

The Department of Homeland Security uses the Trusted Tester Conformance Test Process Version 5.0 for web-based electronic content for conformance to the Section 508 standards.

Trusted Tester Version 5 Overview  

  • Benefits, process, tools, reporting, training, and certification

Trusted Tester Conformance Test Process – Version 5 (GitHub)

Trusted Tester Conformance Test Process - Version 5 - updated Aug 16 2019 (Adobe Portable Document Format)

Accessibility Tests for Documents

The Department of Homeland Security uses the guidelines for authoring, testing, and remediating Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF documents endorsed by the US Federal CIO Council Accessibility Committee.  The guidance was created through an inter-agency workgroup called Accessible Electronic Documents Community of Practice (AED COP), whose purpose is to develop and promote best practices for authoring and testing accessible electronic documents.   The DHS Office of Accessible Systems and Technology (OAST) currently chairs this federal wide effort, and has been instrumental in partnering with Microsoft and Adobe to develop relevant guidance for all federal users.

The AED ACOP published guidance includes:

  • Authoring guides for creating accessible Microsoft Office documents (for versions 2016, 2013, and 2010) and Adobe Acrobat DC PDF documents
  • Basic test processes for Microsoft Office and PDF documents:  which provides step by step instructions for validating conformance to the 508 standards
  • Baseline technical specifications which map test processes to the Section 508 Standard and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
  • Electronic document testing checklists
  • Video training 

To access the AED COP accessibility guidance, visit

Accessibility Tests for Mobile Applications

DHS developed test processes for evaluating Section 508 compliance for iOS and Android applications, largely based upon Section 508’s Functional Performance Criteria (FPC). The test processes cover testing of “native” or “hybrid” apps. (Hybrid apps are  native apps that integrate web content.) Web content designed for the browser should be tested using the DHS Section 508 Trusted Tester Process

Resources for iOS application testing

Resources for Android application testing

Last Published Date: October 4, 2019

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