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  5. Section 508 Testing

Section 508 Testing

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s Customer Experience Directorate (CXD), formerly known as the 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.

ICT Testing Baseline (Access Board)

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.

The Baseline Tests:

  • Provide a common set of unified tests to measure conformance to the Section 508 technical requirements for web based electronic content.
  • Provide a foundation for establishing WCAG conformance test processes, and to evaluate test processes and test tools for alignment.

DHS uses the Trusted Tester Conformance Test Process For Web to test web-based electronic content for conformance to the Section 508 standards.

DHS does not currently offer a comprehensive test process to validate software for conformance against the Revised Section 508 standards.  However, the previous version of the Trusted Tester Conformance Test Process, Version 4.0, supports partial test coverage.  If anyone chooses to use this test process, they will need to address test coverage gaps against the revised 508 standards through additional test procedures.

DHS 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.  DHS CXD 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 https://section508.gov/test/documents.

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.

Please be mindful that the mobile testing process has not been updated since 2017. Although, there may have been platform-specific changes regarding access and use of accessibility features, the fundamentals of the test process have not changed. 

Resources for iOS and Android application testing

Last Updated: 03/06/2024
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