Ideas for the Mobility Strategy

508 / WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

Going mobile is an excellent opportunity for agencies to revisit their commitments to accessibility for people with disabilities. There is a great deal of synergy between best practices for mobile and the Section 508 / WCAG 2.0 standards.


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  1. Comment

    Management in their respective agencies should stand up and take the obligation to Section 508 and to accessibility serious for a change, after ten years. No more lip service and no more managers and management not being held accountable for failure to take action.

  2. Comment

    I agree and think this (mobility) fits in as part of what should be a larger component of the mobility strategy.

    If the primary interaction between citizens and the Federal Gov. is going to be through the web, then initiatives such as 508, mobility, IPv6, 3rd party credentials, etc. all need to be managed collectively.

    This effort is a great time to build from the web-inventory and collectively evaluate highly trafficked sites to make sure they meet _all_ of the expectations, not just accessibility.

  3. Comment
    Community Member

    I agree. The mobility strategy should be just one piece of a coherent, larger government-wide strategy, addressing the primary issue of "servicing the public". Whether that service is providing information configured for a mobile device, accessible by any citizen with or without an internet connection - the information is as accurate as possbile, understandable to the majority, etc.

  4. Comment
    Mark Samblanet

    A great source for input on this angle is to include the AbilityOne organizations, in particular NISH and NIB. I have problems with my hands and cannot always type well, not to mention that I cannot handle my iPhone touch keyboard with any sense of accuracy. I am not in a minority here, so we need to keep this in mind as elderly users become a growing mobile user base. I spoke with several of the NIB and NISH member organziations and they suggested Dragon Naturally Speaking and some keyboard options to make my life easier. Both have been a blessing.

  5. Comment

    This is an opportunity to start discussing accessibility as part of the mobile strategy at the beginning of the process as opposed to an after thought or a reaction to what is going on. The different platforms, Apple OS, Android, MS, etc. and the different devices all play a part in accessibility as do the assistive technologies like screen readers, screen magnifiers, voice recognition, e.g.

  6. Comment

    The concept of Universal Design is relevant here. Applications and other mobile content should be designed to be accessible and usable by ALL users. Users with disabilities shouldn't be thought of as a separate group. That sort of thinking leads to work-arounds to address accessibility issues. When we design for all users up front, everyone benefits.

  7. Comment

    If the Federal Mobility Strategy does not support government accessibility requirements, individual agencies will be at risk, productive employees may be marginalized, and online access to public services will be more difficult for people with disabilities. Mobile platform operating systems and developer tools must support accessibility, fully functional and inexpensive assistive technologies need to be available to federal employees, and agency application developers (and their contractors) need to follow best practices to ensure a richer and more inclusive strategy.

  8. Comment
    Community Member

    We can really make a difference by planning for and implementing what is both right and legally required: accessible mobility.

  9. Comment

    This framework should also ensure Section 508 is addressed in the procurement and development phases. The appropriate 508 technical provisions should be identified and included as requirements for contracted and for "in-house" development. Doing so puts the responsibility on companies/developers to make such work accessible, and will reduce the need for retro fitting an application for accessibility. In addition, users of assistive technology should be included in the testing of such work prior to deployment. This will ensure such work is accessible and usable to the widest range of users as possible.

  10. Comment
    Jim Tobias

    Just as with last month's NIST comment cycle on the plan for federal cloud computing, making sure these technologies are 508 compliant is essential. 508 should not be off in a corner by itself -- it's got to be integrated into every ICT initiative.

    We will be seeing more of these informal proceedings, so spread the word and participate.

  11. Comment
    Jim Tobias

    BTW, hardware accessibility often gets ignored in these strategic plans, as accessibility experts (rightly) focus on OSs, software, and apps. But it's possible to require better hardware for people with impaired dexterity; larger devices are easier to read, some are more compatible with 3rd party accessories such as alternate input and refreshable braille, etc. -- make sure hardware is part of the picture.

  12. Comment

    Briefly, a few steps that could ensure speed, delivery, and accessibility of mobile web applications:

    1. First step: Ensure everyone follows a best practices document like Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0. Details at

    2. Second step: Ensure 508 or WCAG 2.0 or XYZ accessibility controls apply on top of this framework.

    3. Third Step: Then create an optimized mobile version of every federal / state government website using the steps in 1 and 2.

    As an aside: A great tool to envision how the trends are leaning towards internet phone usage:

  13. Comment
    Phill Jenkins

    Agree with Jim Tobias - AND - we need to add FCC's work on advanced communications accessibility, captions, and accessible mobile browser - AND - we need more AT functions on mobile smart phones - AND we need a gap analysis for what is missing (e.g. falling between the cracks of all these initiatives and emerging regulations)

  14. Comment

    Making accessible applications will enhance user experience across the board, not just for disabled users. Also since everyone will be disabled at one point or another, making accessible mobile apps will increase our productive life span and promote a society where everyone’s voice counts

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Phill Jenkins

      and its not just "during our life span", but the business justification for accessibility is easier when "situational disabilities" are included in the scenarios. Texting with your voice (e.g. speaking) instead of typing with your thumbs because your driving a car is just one example of "situational disability"; turning on captions because your ear buds broke is another example. See IBM's CSUN presentation at for more insights

  15. Comment

    Changing fundamentally how people interact with Government services provides the opportunity for it to be done in a universally accessible way. It will be important to not look at just the server and content side of this issue though. Keeping in mind the client side devices necessary to access this information is also vital. Otherwise, you can find yourself accessible data and information systems but no accessible client to access it.