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Section 508 Compliance: Home

A selection of resources and information on Section 508 Compliance.


This guide provides specific guidance on Section 508 compliance requirements for NOAA IR Submissions, as well as resources for general Section 508 issues. For questions on NOAA 508 Policy, please contact the NOAA Coordinator Natalie Smith.

What is Section 508?

Section 508 is an amendment to the US Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973--a federal law that mandates all federal agencies make their electronic and information technology (such as publications, presentations, software and websites) accessible to people with disabilities. In making documents 508 compliant, these documents and web pages are then accessible to people with disabilities via assistive technologies such as screen or text readers.  For more information about Section 508 and its requirements, please visit the General Service Administration's comprehensive government-wide Section 508 page or take their Section 508 overview course.

Making documents accessible is more than just a federal guideline agencies are required to follow; it is about providing access to research and information.

The Department of Commerce's Accessibility Policy offers information about DOC policies and requirements as well as links to guidance materials.         

What Materials Must Be Made Accessible?

Any document (regardless of the format), website/webpage, or software program that is public-facing must be made accessible.  This would include any document that is posted on a website as well as the website itself.  This means that any documents submitted to the library for the NOAA Institutional Repository or to be included in the library's catalog must be accessible upon submission.  

In addition, any official agency communication is required to be Section 508 accessible.  This would include documents such as:

  1. An emergency notification.
  2. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim/proceeding.
  3. An internal or external program or policy announcement.
  4. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action.
  5. A formal acknowledgement of receipt.
  6. A survey or questionnaire.
  7. A template or form.
  8. Educational or training materials.
  9. Intranet content designed as a web page.

 For more information please visit

What About Email?

While NOAA does not have an accessibility policy for emails, all NOAA emails should:

  1. Maintain a logical reading order.
  2. Be mindful of color contrast between backgrounds and font and that color should not be the only means of conveying emphasis or importance.  Do not use script-like fonts.
  3. Provide alternative text for images.
  4. Use a descriptive subject line.

For more guidance on composing accessible emails please reference the Department of Health and Human Services Email Checklistbased on WCAG 2.0 requirements.


Still Having Issues?

Have questions? Need some additional guidance? Contact our Section 508 Specialists via email at

Or your can visit us during our weekly (Tuesdays from 2-3:30pm ET) Office Hours via Google Meet. To access the Google Meet you must have a email address.