[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 54 (Monday, March 22, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13457-13468]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6245]


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ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Parts 1191, 1193, and 1194

[Docket No. 2010-1]
RIN 3014-AA37


Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines 
for Buildings and Facilities; Telecommunications Act Accessibility 
Guidelines; Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility 
Standards

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
(Access Board) is issuing this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(ANPRM) to begin the process of updating its standards for electronic 
and information technology and its Telecommunications Act Accessibility 
Guidelines. At the same time, the Board is proposing to revise its 
Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines to address 
access to self-service machines used for ticketing, check-in or check-
out, seat selection, boarding passes, or ordering food in restaurants 
and cafeterias. The Board has developed draft standards and guidelines 
for these purposes. The draft text (draft) is available on the Board's 
Web site (http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm). The Board invites the 
public to review and comment on all aspects of this draft, including 
the advantages and disadvantages of draft provisions, the 
organizational approach to presenting the standards and guidelines, 
alternative policies to those contained in the draft, and information 
on benefits and costs. After reviewing the comments received in 
response to this advance notice and draft, the Board will issue a 
proposed rule followed by a final rule.

DATES: Comments should be received by June 21, 2010. The Board will 
hold a public hearing to provide an additional opportunity for comment. 
The hearing will take place on March 25, 2010 from 9 a.m. to noon in 
conjunction with the 25th Annual International Technology & Persons 
With Disabilities Conference. It will be held at the Manchester Grand 
Hyatt Hotel, Elizabeth Ballroom, One Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101. 
To pre-register to testify please contact Kathy Johnson at (202) 272-
0041 or board.gov">Johnson@access-board.gov.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number 2010-1 
or RIN number 3014-AA37, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: board.gov">ictrule@access-board.gov. Include docket number 
2010-1 or RIN number 3014-AA37 in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: 202-272-0081.
     Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Office of Technical and 
Informational Services, Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW., Suite 1000, 
Washington, DC 20004-1111.
    All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Creagan, Office of Technical and 
Information Services, Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW., Suite 1000, 
Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone number: 202-272-0016 (voice); 202-
272-0082 (TTY). Electronic mail address: board.gov">creagan@access-board.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On February 8, 1996, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was 
enacted. Section 255 of the Act requires manufacturers to ensure that 
telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment are 
designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by 
individuals with disabilities when it is readily achievable to do so; 
readily achievable means easily accomplishable, without much difficulty 
or expense. The Access Board was given the responsibility for 
developing accessibility guidelines for telecommunications equipment 
and

[[Page 13458]]

customer premises equipment in conjunction with the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC). The Board was also instructed to 
review and update the guidelines periodically. The Board published the 
guidelines on February 3, 1998. 63 FR 5608 (February 3, 1998); 36 CFR 
part 1193. The guidelines were based on recommendations from a 
Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee that the Board had 
created.
    On August 7, 1998, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which 
includes the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, was signed into 
law. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments requires that 
when Federal departments or agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use 
electronic and information technology, they must ensure that the 
technology is accessible to people with disabilities, unless an undue 
burden would be imposed on the department or agency. Section 508 
required the Access Board to publish standards setting forth a 
definition of electronic and information technology and technical and 
functional performance criteria for such technology. The Board was also 
required to periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the 
standards to reflect technological advances or changes in electronic 
and information technology. The Board published the standards on 
December 21, 2000. 65 FR 80500 (December 21, 2000); 36 CFR part 1194. 
The standards were based on recommendations from an Electronic and 
Information Technology Access Advisory Committee that the Board had 
created to assist it in developing the standards.
    Since the Board issued the Telecommunications Act Accessibility 
Guidelines (guidelines) and the Electronic and Information Technology 
Accessibility Standards (standards), technology has changed. 
Additionally, several organizations have asked the Board to update its 
standards so they are harmonized with efforts taking place around the 
globe. The telecommunications provisions in the standards are based on 
and are consistent with the telecommunications provisions in the 
guidelines. Therefore, the Board has decided to update and revise the 
standards and the guidelines together to address changes in technology 
and to make both documents more consistent. Through this update, the 
Board is addressing new technology and seeks to harmonize, to the 
extent possible, its criteria with other standards and guidelines in 
order to improve accessibility and facilitate compliance.
    In addition, the Board is proposing to amend the Americans with 
Disabilities Act Guidelines (ADAAG) to address access to self-service 
machines used for ticketing, check-in or check-out, seat selection, 
boarding passes, or ordering food in restaurants and cafeterias. In 
2006, the National Council on Disability released a report, NCD 
Position Paper on Access to Airline Self-Service Kiosk Systems, which 
recommended that accessibility provisions from ADAAG or the section 508 
standards be incorporated into an updated Air Carrier Access Act 
regulation for accessible design applicable to both proprietary and 
common-use self-service kiosk systems (http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2006/kiosk.htm). In May 2008 the Department of 
Transportation amended its Air Carrier Access Act rules to apply to 
foreign carriers but decided to defer action on kiosks and noted that 
the Access Board has work under way that could affect kiosks. 73 FR 
27614 (May 13, 2008).
    There have also been numerous settlement agreements and structured 
negotiations reached with various public accommodations on tactile 
point of sale devices (http://lflegal.com/category/settlements/point-of-sale-settlements/). With the proliferation of point of sale 
machines, kiosks, and other self-service machines, the Board has 
decided that in addition to updating the standards for electronic and 
information technology and the guidelines for telecommunications 
products, it should revise the Americans with Disabilities Act 
Accessibility Guidelines to address access to this new technology to 
ensure its accessibility for people with disabilities. The Board 
proposes to extend coverage to self-service machines used for 
ticketing, check-in or check-out, seat selection, boarding passes, or 
ordering food in restaurants and cafeterias. This would include point 
of sale devices used to check-in or check-out products at retail 
establishments such as those addressed in the settlement agreements and 
structured negotiations as well as other self-service machines.
    To begin the process of updating the standards and guidelines, the 
Board formed the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information 
Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC or Committee), to review the 
existing standards and guidelines and to recommend changes. The 
Committee met regularly from September 2006 to April 2008, and held 
numerous teleconferences in between meetings. The Committee's 41 
members comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including 
representatives from industry, disability groups, standard-setting 
bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and government agencies. In their 
deliberations, Committee members addressed a range of issues, including 
new or convergent technologies, market forces, and international 
harmonization. Recognizing the importance of standardization across 
markets worldwide, the Committee coordinated its work with standard-
setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, such as the World Wide Web 
Consortium, and the Committee included representatives from the 
European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
    On April 3, 2008 the Committee presented its report to the Board. 
The Committee's report recommends detailed revisions to the Board's 
section 508 standards and Telecommunications Act accessibility 
guidelines. The Committee's report is available on the Board's website 
at http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/refresh/report.
    The Board staff has been working with an ad hoc committee of Board 
members and staff from several Federal agencies to develop this notice 
and draft. The final version of the draft will ultimately replace the 
section 508 standards, the Telecommunications Act accessibility 
guidelines, and make amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act 
Accessibility Guidelines. In addition to agencies that are represented 
on the Board, staff from the Federal Communications Commission, Social 
Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and the Department 
of Homeland Security have been involved in the ad hoc committee's work.
    The draft is available on the Board's website at www.access-board.gov/508.htm. At a later date, the Board will publish a notice of 
proposed rulemaking to update the standards and guidelines based on the 
input received in response to this advance notice and draft. The 
proposed rule will provide another opportunity for public comment. The 
Board will also prepare a regulatory assessment to accompany the 
proposed rule. To assist the Board in developing the regulatory 
assessment, the Board invites comments on the quantitative and 
qualitative benefits and costs associated with the changes proposed in 
the draft; the Board also asks commenters to provide information on the 
benefits and costs of alternative policies which they propose. The 
Board will finalize the standards and guidelines based on the comments 
received in response to the proposed rule.

[[Page 13459]]

Regulatory Approach

    The TEITAC sought to balance the need for detailed criteria with an 
approach that accommodates the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the 
technologies covered. Many people, from product designers and engineers 
to procurers and end users, have called for clear delineation of what 
makes a product accessible for compliance purposes. However, the 
Committee determined that product-specific criteria will not keep pace 
with innovative trends and market forces which enhance the capabilities 
of products and blur their categorization. Convergent technologies, for 
example, support the growing demand for all-in-one products, such as 
mobile devices that offer voice and text communication, web browsing, 
and media players.
    The Committee's report recommended a revised set of performance 
criteria that specify access capabilities for products generally. The 
Committee organized its recommendations to serve as a framework for 
updated technical specifications to address hardware, user interfaces 
and electronic content, audio-visual players, displays, and content, 
real-time voice communication, and authoring tools. Unlike the current 
standards, the committee's recommendations are organized primarily by 
the features or capabilities of a product, instead of discreet product 
types. The recommendations contain advisory and background information 
on the performance and technical provisions, including references to 
related standards, and update defined terms and provisions covering 
documentation, support, and maintenance. The report also advises the 
Board on considerations for future updates, supplementary guidance 
materials and tools, compliance testing, and further research.
    Question 1: The Board developed the draft using the organizational 
approach recommended by the Committee in which the provisions are 
organized primarily by the features or capabilities of a product, 
instead of discrete product types. The Board seeks comments on the 
usability and effectiveness of this approach, as well as alternative 
organizational approaches.
    Question 2: The Board seeks input on what implementation time 
frames would be reasonable, specifically whether some provisions should 
have differing implementation dates.

Structure of the Draft

    The draft contains revisions to the current standards and 
guidelines which the Board is considering. The revisions are largely 
based on the recommendations of the TEITAC report. Some provisions 
reflect changes to the TEITAC recommendations made by the Board, as 
noted in the detailed summary which follows. The draft also contains 
revisions that would amend provisions in the Americans with 
Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) by applying 
requirements of the standards to self-service machines. The draft 
standards and guidelines share a common set of functional performance 
criteria (Chapter 2) and technical design criteria (Chapters 3-10), but 
have separate introductory chapters (Chapter 1) which outline scoping, 
application, and definitions. Chapter 1 labeled, ``508 Chapter 1: 
Application and Administration'' addresses products covered by Section 
508 of the Rehabilitation Act and its provisions are preceded by the 
letter ``E''; the other chapter 1 is labeled, ``255 Chapter 1: 
Application and Administration'' and addresses telecommunications 
equipment and customer premises equipment covered by the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its provisions are preceded by the 
letter ``C''.
    Question 3: To improve usability, the Board titled each provision 
and located advisory notes next to the associated requirements. Are 
there any other format changes that will make the draft easier to use?
    The draft is substantially reorganized from the current standards 
and guidelines. Following the recommendations in the TEITAC report, the 
draft provisions have been organized in terms of functionality, rather 
than product categories. For example, the Board separated conversation 
functionality, including both voice and text (Chapter 9) from audio 
output functionality, such as alert indicators (Chapter 8).
    Question 4: The Board seeks feedback on the overall organization of 
the draft, especially how aspects of technology are addressed by the 
chapter organization. For example, should software (Chapter 4) and 
electronic documents (Chapter 5) be combined? Or, should all 
requirements for audio output, including conversation functionality and 
status indicator sounds (Chapter 8), be combined with text messaging 
capability (Chapter 9) into one chapter?

Major Changes From Current Requirements

    The draft addresses some issues which were not covered in the 
current standards or guidelines but were the subject of supplementary 
technical guidance. The draft does not seek to change the approach to 
these issues but instead makes them explicit. For example, the 
relationship between the functional performance criteria and the 
technical provisions is unchanged. However the draft text seeks to 
clarify (in Chapter 1) that a product may be deemed accessible if it 
meets all the technical provisions, even if the functional performance 
criteria are not completely met.
    The draft does not seek to substantively change the majority of 
requirements in the current standards or guidelines, consistent with 
the TEITAC report. However, some material is changed in the draft. For 
example, the draft contains significant revisions to the general 
exceptions. All substantive changes are explained in the Summary of 
Provisions below. One of the most significant changes being considered 
by the Board involves the application of the guidelines and standards 
to electronic content. The Board is proposing to cover electronic 
content of certain official communications by Federal agencies. Another 
significant change concerns coverage of self-service machines under the 
Americans with Disabilities Act.

Summary of Provisions

    This section provides an overview of the draft and highlights 
substantive revisions and updates from the TEITAC report, unless 
otherwise noted. The draft includes some non-substantive editorial 
changes to the TEITAC recommendations made by the Board that are not 
detailed in this discussion. In addition to the specific questions 
below corresponding to individual provisions, the Board seeks general 
comments on these provisions, including the extent to which they are 
necessary, their advantages and disadvantages, their quantitative and 
qualitative benefits and costs, and alternative policies. The Board 
also invites the public to identify any gaps in the draft guidelines 
and standards, and approaches to addressing such gaps.

508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

    The draft contains provisions for information and communication 
technology for Federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. 
Postal Service, as set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act 
of 1973.

General Requirement (E102)

    The draft standards would be applied by Federal agencies so that 
employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to 
and use of electronic and information technology

[[Page 13460]]

that is comparable to the level of access and usability available to 
persons without disabilities unless it would be an undue burden to do 
so. The Board added this provision to clarify these responsibilities. 
This would not change the scope or application of the standards.

Application (E103)

    This section covers application of the standards to information and 
communication technology procured, developed, maintained, or used by or 
on behalf of Federal agencies. The phrase ``or on behalf of agencies'' 
has been added to cover technologies used by contractors under a 
contract with a Federal agency. A citation to the statute has been 
added to this provision. Coverage of agencies is unchanged; however, 
the draft provision seeks to provide more detail regarding which 
agencies are covered. The term ``Information and Communication 
Technology (ICT),'' as defined in section E111, encompasses both 
electronic and information technology covered by Section 508 of the 
Rehabilitation Act and telecommunications products covered by Section 
255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Committee recommended 
use of the broader term ICT for convenience and clarity since the 
technical requirements and functional performance criteria apply under 
both laws and since the term ICT is widely used by most other 
countries.

Electronic Content (E103.3.1)

    The amendments to the Rehabilitation Act require that when 
developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information 
technology, each Federal department or agency shall ensure, unless an 
undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that 
electronic and information technology allows (regardless of the type of 
medium) individuals with disabilities to have access to and use of 
information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the 
information and data by others without disabilities (see 29 U.S.C. 794d 
(a)(1)(A)). The current standards do not adequately address what is 
meant by comparable access to information and data. There has been much 
confusion over whether and how such electronic content is addressed.
    The draft contains a new provision which the Board is considering 
to address access to electronic content of certain official 
communications by Federal agencies or agency representatives. This 
draft requirement would apply to electronic content regardless of the 
method of transmission or storage but is limited to official agency 
communications. ``Official communication'' refers specifically to 
communication by a Federal agency to employees that contains 
information necessary for those employees to perform their job 
functions and information relevant to enjoyment of the benefits and 
privileges of employment or to communication by a Federal agency to 
members of the general public that contains information necessary for 
the conduct of official business with the agency. Examples of such 
electronic content may include email messages, Word documents, and 
other types and formats. The current standards address access to some 
types of electronic content, such as web pages, forms, and video 
productions. A definition of ``content,'' is included in section E111.
    Question 5: The draft requirement which the Board is considering 
for access to electronic content in the draft is limited to certain 
official communications by Federal agencies. Other types of 
communications and electronic content are not addressed. The Board 
seeks comment on this draft requirement and what other types of content 
including social media (i.e., YouTube and Twitter) should be addressed 
and the benefits and costs of extending coverage to other forms of 
electronic content. The Board is interested in comments from agencies 
about how this provision could be implemented across large and diverse 
institutions. How should attachments to official email messages be 
handled? The Board is also interested in information on the benefits 
and costs associated with this change, particularly from Federal 
agencies. How should this provision apply to records requested from the 
National Archives and Records Administration who is prohibited from 
altering archival records?

Undue Burden (E104)

    Consistent with the Committee's recommendations, this section in 
the draft is substantively unchanged from the current standards.

General Exceptions (E105)

    The current standards contain six exceptions. In the draft, two of 
the exceptions are retained unchanged: The prohibition against 
requiring fundamental alteration in the nature of a product or 
components; and the statutory exception for products whose function, 
operation, or use involves national security or cryptological 
activities. Another exception concerning ICT acquired by a contractor 
incidental to a contract has been relocated to the application section 
which contains a provision specific to Federal contracts (E103.4.2).
    The Board is considering removing three exceptions in the current 
standards:
     One exception stated that assistive technology need not be 
provided at all workstations for all Federal employees (1194.3(c)). The 
current standards require that ICT either be directly accessible or 
compatible with assistive technology. Since the standards do not 
require the provision of assistive technology at each work station, the 
Board considers this exception unnecessary.
     The second exception states that where agencies provide 
information and data to the public through accessible ICT, the 
accessible ICT need only be provided at the intended public location 
(1194.3(d)). The Board is considering removing this exception from the 
standards because no provision in the standards requires accessible ICT 
in more than one location. Since these exceptions are contained in the 
statute, their removal from the standards will not impact application.
     A third exception states that products located in spaces 
used only by service personnel for maintenance and repair need not be 
accessible. The Board believes this provision is unnecessary since most 
functions can be accessed remotely.
    Question 6: The Board seeks comment on removing these exceptions 
and the impact of removing them, including the benefits and costs 
associated with removing them. Should the exception concerning ICT 
acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract be repeated in this 
section and in section E103.4.2?

Equivalent Facilitation (E106)

    This section is substantively unchanged from the current standards.

WCAG 2.0 Harmonization (E107)

    The Committee recommended that the Board seek to harmonize the 
standards with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content 
Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 once they were finalized. The Web Content 
Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 was published as a W3C 
recommendation on December 11, 2008; about 8 months after the Committee 
provided its report to the Board. The Board is considering that web 
pages, as defined by WCAG 2.0, which are Level AA conformant, be deemed 
to be in conformance with the provisions noted in the draft.
    Question 7: The Board seeks comment on this approach to 
harmonization with WCAG 2.0 including suggestions for

[[Page 13461]]

alternative approaches to achieving harmonization, and comments on the 
benefits and costs associated with the Board's approach.

Best Meets (E108)

    This section is substantively unchanged from the current standards.

Provision of Support Services and Materials (E109)

    The Board is considering requiring agencies to provide alternate 
methods of communication through help desks and technical support 
services and to provide support services and materials in alternate 
formats. Chapter 10 of the technical requirements specifies the types 
of information to be provided, such as descriptions of the built-
inaccessibility features of a product and information about operation 
of features that can be accessed from the keyboard.

Definitions (E111)

    The draft contains a number of new definitions. Most defined terms 
derive either from the Committee report or from the WCAG 2.0. 
Consistent with the Committee's report, the draft seeks to minimize 
deviations from industry usage and understanding of defined terms to 
ensure consistency with industry standards and best practices.
    The draft uses the term ``Information and Communication Technology, 
(ICT)'' to refer to both telecommunications products covered by Section 
255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and to electronic and 
information technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation 
Act. The Board has defined this term to include existing definitions of 
``electronic and information technology'' and ``telecommunications 
products'' in the current standards and guidelines. The definition is 
intended to encompass a wide expanse of products and the functions for 
which they are used.
    Question 8: The Board is interested in comment on the definition of 
Information and Communication Technology.

Referenced Standards or Guidelines (E112)

    Other standards and guidelines referenced in this draft are based 
on recommendations from the Committee. The intent is to promote 
testability and usability of the draft provisions.

255 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

    This chapter covers application of the draft to telecommunications 
and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products and 
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) covered by Section 255 of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996. It applies to manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment and 
requires products to be designed, developed, and fabricated to be 
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities when it is 
readily achievable to do so; readily achievable means easily 
accomplishable, without much difficulty or expense.

General Requirement (C102)

    This draft provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
guidelines and the Committee recommendations; the draft provision 
applies to manufacturers of telecommunications products.

Application (C103)

    The draft provisions apply to telecommunications products and 
interconnected VoIP products and CPE. This section now specifically 
references interconnected VoIP products, consistent with Federal 
Communication Commission regulations. An advisory note provides 
examples of covered technologies, such as instant messaging that 
supports real-time conversation in other modes, and products beyond 
those typically thought of as communications devices, such as web 
interfaces used to access functions in VoIP systems.

Direct Accessibility (C103.4)

    This draft provision is updated yet consistent with the current 
guidelines which require telecommunications equipment and CPE to be 
directly accessible when it is readily achievable to do so.

Compatibility Design (C103.4.1)

    This draft provision is similar to the current guidelines which 
require telecommunications equipment and CPE to be compatible with 
peripheral devices and specialized customer premises equipment when it 
is readily achievable to do so.

Prohibited Reduction of Accessibility (C103.5)

    This draft provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
guidelines.

Information, Documentation, and Training (C104)

    This draft provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
guidelines and would require manufacturers to provide access to 
information, documentation, and training to their customers. This may 
be done through help desks and support services and shall include 
alternate methods of communication. Chapter 10 of the technical 
requirements specifies the types of information to be provided, such as 
descriptions of the built-in accessibility features of a product and 
information about operation of features that can be accessed from the 
keyboard.

Equivalent Facilitation (C105)

    This section is substantively unchanged from the current 
guidelines.

WCAG 2.0 Harmonization (C106)

    The Committee recommended that the Board harmonize its rule with 
the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility 
Guidelines 2.0 once they were finalized. The Web Content Accessibility 
Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 was published as a W3C recommendation on December 
11, 2008. The Board is considering that web pages, as defined by WCAG 
2.0, which are Level AA conformant, shall be deemed to be in 
conformance with the provisions noted in the draft.

Product Design, Development, and Evaluation (C107)

    This section is substantially consistent with the current 
guidelines which require manufacturers to evaluate the accessibility, 
usability, and compatibility of telecommunications products and CPE. It 
has been revised to include references to VoIP and other technologies.

Definitions (C109)

    The draft contains a number of new definitions. Most defined terms 
derive either from the Committee report or WCAG 2.0. Consistent with 
the Committee's report, the draft minimizes deviations from industry 
usage and understanding of defined terms to ensure consistency with 
industry standards and best practices. The definition of 
``Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service'' derives 
from FCC regulations and was included in the Committee report.
    Question 9: The Board is interested in comment on the proposed 
definitions.

Referenced Standards or Guidelines (E110)

    The external standards and guidelines referenced in the draft are 
based on recommendations from the Committee. The intent is to promote 
testability and usability of the provisions of this part.

Chapter 2: Functional Performance Criteria

Functional Performance Criteria (202)

    This draft provision is consistent with the recommendation of the 
Committee to retain all existing functional

[[Page 13462]]

performance criteria and to add a provision that addresses color vision 
deficits and a provision to minimize photosensitive seizure triggers. 
The Committee and the Board felt it was important that functional 
performance criteria map to technical specifications.
    Question 10: The Board is interested in comment on how the 
functional performance criteria should be implemented in relation to 
the technical provisions. Does the approach discussed in E103.5 and 
C103.6, as a statement of current practice, clarify or confuse the 
issue? If the approach is confusing, how could it be made less 
confusing?

General (202.1)

    The current standards require products to have at least one mode of 
operation and information retrieval that meets the functional 
performance criteria. More and more products are now multi-functional. 
For example, many devices allow users to make telephone calls, send 
text messages, and access the Internet. In recognition of this growing 
multi-functionality of covered products, the Board is considering 
requiring that each mode of operation of a product meet the functional 
performance criteria.

Without Vision (202.2)

    This provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
standards and the Committee report, except for the use of the term 
``non-visual access.''

With Limited Vision (202.3)

    This provision addresses access to at least one mode of operation 
for users with limited vision. The Board is considering revising the 
current specification to require that ICT meet the needs of a greater 
range of users. The current standards require an accessible mode that 
accommodates visual acuity up to 20/70. The Board is considering 
increasing the covered range to 20/200, which is the legal definition 
of blindness so that more people have the option to use a visual-based 
mode instead of non-visual accessible modes.
    Question 11: The Board is interested in comment on whether and the 
extent to which this change will sufficiently improve access for people 
with limited vision and the benefits and costs associated with this 
change.

Without Perception of Color (202.4)

    The Committee's report recommended the addition of a provision 
specifying that functionality not be based on the ability to perceive 
color. This is consistent with the technical provisions in the current 
standards that prohibit relying on color alone as the sole means of 
indicating status or function.
    Question 12: The Board is interested in comment on this proposed 
new provision, including information on the benefits and costs 
associated with this addition.

Without Hearing (202.5)

    This draft provision is substantially consistent with the current 
standards and the Committee report.

With Limited Hearing (202.6)

    This provision seeks to address access for users with limited 
hearing. The current standards stipulate that at least one mode be 
provided in ``an enhanced auditory fashion.'' The provision the Board 
is considering would require that any auditory features, where 
provided, include at least one mode of operation that improves clarity, 
reduces background noise, or allows control of volume. The Board 
included this change to make the requirement more specific. The 
Committee considered such a change but did not recommend specific 
language.
    Question 13: The Board is interested in comment on the proposed 
change to improve access for individuals with hearing impairments, 
including information on the benefits and costs associated with this 
change.

Without Speech (202.7)

    This provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
standards and the Committee report.

With Limited Manipulation (202.8) and With Limited Reach and Strength 
(202.9)

    These draft provisions are consistent with a provision in the 
current standards but the Board has separated them into two distinct 
provisions. The Board is considering making this change to address 
issues of fine motor control or simultaneous actions apart from the 
reach ranges or strength necessary to access and operate controls. 
These provisions are consistent with technical specifications 
addressing reach ranges and operable parts.

Without Physical Contact (202.10)

    This is a new provision the Board is considering adding due to the 
significant population of users who are unable to make contact with a 
product, as well as the many types of technology now available that do 
not require physical contact, such as Bluetooth and wireless 
connectivity. The Committee considered, but did not reach consensus, on 
adding such a requirement. The wording of the provision derives from 
that considered by the Committee.
    Question 14: The Board is interested in comment on the proposed new 
provision to improve access for individuals who are unable to make 
contact with a product, including information on the benefits and costs 
associated with this change.

Minimize Photosensitive Seizure Triggers (202.11)

    This is a new provision which the Board is considering adding to 
address hazards posed to people with photosensitive epilepsy. The Board 
added this provision as a functional criterion for consistency with 
technical specifications for flashing (306).
    Question 15: The Board is seeking comment on whether cognitive 
disabilities are sufficiently addressed in the functional performance 
provisions and seeks suggestions on how the requirements might better 
address the accessibility needs of individuals with cognitive 
disabilities.

Chapter 3: Common Functionality

    This chapter covers those common features of information and 
communication technology which are found across a variety of platforms, 
formats, and media. The draft requirements of this chapter which the 
Board is considering derive from provisions for self-contained closed 
products and desktop and portable computers in the current standards. 
The Board organized this chapter to cover all technical requirements 
that address elements or functionality common to ICT. These 
requirements apply generally to all types of ICT.

Closed Functionality (302)

    The Board is considering this draft provision to require that ICT 
with closed functionality be usable by people with disabilities without 
requiring assistive technology other than personal headsets. The 
current standards address this only in relation to self-contained 
closed products. The Committee recommended this change since closed 
functionality is not product or function specific and may be found in 
many contexts, due to either design or policy considerations. For 
example, self-contained closed products such as kiosks may be closed 
due to design, while software applications may have certain limitations 
imposed on functionality due to policy considerations, such as 
maintaining security.
    Question 16: The Board is interested in comments on how closed 
functionality is covered in the draft.

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Should other means of assistive technology besides personal headsets be 
permitted to provide access to ICT with closed functionality?

Biometrics (303)

    The Committee recommended that the current requirements for 
biometric identification be expanded to allow for alternate forms of 
user identification or control which may be either biometric or non-
biometric. The requirement for a non-biometric form of user 
identification or control is retained. The Board is considering a 
requirement for an alternate biometric that uses dissimilar 
characteristics to the default biometric.

Preservation of Information Provided for Accessibility (304)

    This draft provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
standards and the Committee recommendations.

Color (305)

    This draft provision is substantially unchanged from the current 
requirements and the Committee recommendations.

Flashing (306)

    In this draft provision the Board is considering specifying a 
maximum 3-per-second flash rate for ICT light flashes. This differs 
from the current standards which specify that ``products shall be 
designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency 
greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.'' The Committee recommended 
this change because the current provision is too restrictive in 
prohibiting flashing within a certain range with no consideration for 
the size of the flashing area. The provision is consistent with WCAG 
2.0.

Operable Parts (307)

    In this draft provision the Board is considering addressing 
controls and keys, tactile discernability, key repeat and adjustability 
functions, non-mechanical controls, and accessible reach ranges. The 
Board is considering revising the provision to reference specifications 
for reach ranges in the Board's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines for 
buildings and facilities, which address both forward and side reach 
ranges, since some products may require a variety of approaches. The 
current standards only specify side reach ranges. The ADA and ABA 
guidelines specify a maximum side reach height that is lower than the 
maximum height specified in the current standards (48 inches maximum 
instead of 54 inches). This would eliminate any potential conflict 
between the ICT requirements and the ADA and ABA accessibility 
guidelines.

Chapter 4: Platforms, Applications, and Interactive Content

General (401)

    This chapter provides technical requirements for platforms, 
applications, and interactive content. The Board separated these 
requirements from those for static electronic documents (Chapter 5). 
These provisions are harmonized with WCAG 2.0.

Non-Text Content (402)

    In this draft section the Board is considering providing technical 
requirements for non-text content, including audio and visual content 
and CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers 
and Humans Apart). It references specifications for non-text content in 
Chapter 5 and requirements for audio and video content in Chapter 6. 
Specifications for all other types of interactive content are contained 
in this chapter.

Distinguishable Content (403)

    In this section the Board is considering new requirements to 
address the difficulties persons with hearing loss or low vision may 
experience in distinguishing between foreground and background content, 
whether that content is audio (background music to an audio track of 
speakers) or text. These draft requirements are based on 
recommendations from the Committee. The Board is also considering 
adding a provision for resizable text for consistency with WCAG 2.0.

Keyboard Operation (404)

    This draft section is substantively unchanged from the current 
standards and is consistent with recommendations from the Committee.

Time Limits (405)

    This draft section is substantively unchanged from the current 
standards and is consistent with recommendations from the Committee.

Navigation (406)

    In this draft section the Board is considering addressing 
navigation and includes substantive changes from the current standards 
and the Committee's recommendations. A provision to bypass blocks of 
content (406.2), consistent with the current standards was recommended 
for deletion in the Committee report. The Board is considering 
retaining this provision for consistency with WCAG 2.0. The Board is 
also considering adding a provision on focus order (406.3) for the same 
reason, and a new provision covering multiple ways to locate content 
(406.4), which was recommended by the Committee.
    Question 17: The draft includes three provisions (406.2, 406.3, and 
406.4) not included in the Committee report but that are consistent 
with WCAG 2.0. Are these provisions important enough for end-users to 
be included for the sake of harmonization with other standards? The 
Board seeks comment on the benefits and costs of these additions.

Predictability (407), Input Assistance (408), User Preferences (409), 
and Interoperability With Assistive Technology (410)

    These draft sections are substantively unchanged from the current 
standards and are consistent with recommendations from the Committee.

Compatible Technologies (411)

    This draft section is consistent with the current standards and 
contains provisions that are closely adapted from provisions the 
Committee considered but did not reach consensus on.

Assistive Technology Function (412)

    The Board is considering a new requirement that closely reflects 
recommendations the Committee considered but did not agree on. The 
Board added this provision because it believes it is important to 
address how applications use platform accessibility services to make 
information about components programmatically determinable.
    Question 18: The draft includes a requirement for ICT which 
provides an assistive technology function. Should the requirements 
apply to assistive technology? The Board seeks comment on the benefits 
and costs on including explicit requirements for assistive technology.

Authoring Tools (413)

    In this new section the Board is considering requiring that for all 
formats supported by an authoring tool, the authoring tool must provide 
a mode of operation that supports the creation of electronic documents 
that conform to the ICT accessibility requirements. The Committee 
recommended that authoring tools be required to support the ability to 
improve the accessibility of content.
    Question 19: Do the proposed provisions for authoring tools reflect

[[Page 13464]]

features that many authoring tools already provide? If not, could such 
features be added to authoring tools relatively easily? The Board seeks 
comment on the benefits and costs of including such requirements for 
authoring tools.

Chapter 5: Electronic Documents

    The Board is considering separating requirements that generally 
apply to non-interactive content (Chapter 5) from those that generally 
apply to interactive interfaces (Chapter 4). Chapter 5 covers access to 
electronic documents which contain mostly static, read-only, non-
interactive electronic content. Electronic content covered by this 
chapter includes most non-paper documents and web content, regardless 
of format. Examples include word processing files (such as Word and 
WordPerfect), Portable Document Format (PDF), presentations (such as 
Power Point), spreadsheets (such as Excel), and simple web pages not 
containing embedded objects (such as Flash, Silverlight, or Air). All 
of these elements are covered in this chapter. In addition, electronic 
documents may also contain some modest interactive components such as 
hypertext links, buttons, and form elements or fields. These common 
elements are covered in this chapter as well. The draft provisions of 
this chapter derive from requirements in the current standards for web-
based intranet and internet information and applications. Whereas the 
current standards focus on web-based documents, this chapter would 
apply to a wide range of content formats.
    Question 20: The Board seeks comment on whether there is a better 
way to distinguish between requirements for software applications 
covered by Chapter 4 and electronic documents covered by Chapter 5.

Non-Text Content (502)

    This provision is consistent with the current standards but 
provides more detail on what constitutes a ``text equivalent'' for many 
common situations.

Adaptable Presentation of Content (503)

    In this section the Board is considering addressing adaptable 
presentation of content, including features which allow content to be 
presented in different ways without losing or changing information or 
the structure of the content, such as contrast options for viewing 
websites. Other elements of presentation include the ability to 
programmatically determine the information, structure, and 
relationships implied by visual or auditory formatting. When a screen 
reader reads content, the presentation format of the content changes, 
but the information provided and the structure or relationships of the 
content do not. For example, columns in a table should still be 
distinguishable from rows, separate paragraphs of information should 
still be separate, and the arrangement of the content should still be 
apparent. This draft section contains specifications based on the 
current standards for data tables, scripts, and forms, but includes new 
provisions for logically correct reading sequence and sensory 
characteristics.

Distinguishable Presentation of Text Content (504)

    This draft section is based on requirements in the current 
standards for web-based intranet and internet information and 
applications but includes new specifications for contrast and text 
enlargement. The Committee recommended contrast ratios for text and 
images of text of at least 4.5:1. The draft includes a requirement that 
text be easily resizable for consistency with WCAG 2.0 which the Board 
is considering.

Navigation and Orientation (505)

    In this draft section the Board is considering addressing 
navigation and orientation and stems from the current standards but 
includes new requirements regarding link purpose in context, headings, 
and labels. The draft contains new requirements which the Board is 
considering which state that the purpose of each link shall be 
determinable from the link text alone, or from the link text together 
with it's programmatically determined link text, unless the author 
intends the purpose of the link to be ambiguous. The reason for this 
requirement is to allow users to understand the purpose of each link so 
they can determine whether they want to follow the link. In addition, 
the Committee report included an advisory note recommending that 
specifications for document titles (505.2) apply not just to frames, as 
in the current standards, but broadly to all document types. The Board 
also has included this provision as a requirement for greater 
consistency with WCAG 2.0.

Readability (506)

    This draft provision which the Board is considering is new and 
requires that the language of documents and changes in language be 
identified. It is consistent with WCAG 2.0.

Input Assistance (507)

    This draft provision is consistent with requirements in the current 
standards for web based forms but has been revised to apply to all 
types of forms.

Compatible Technologies (508)

    In this new draft section the Board is considering requiring that 
content using mark up languages, such as XML or HTML, use that language 
according to specification when creating electronic content so that 
user agents, such as assistive technology like screen readers, will be 
able to properly interpret and read the content. The Committee noted 
that a screen reader may be unable to properly interpret content which 
has been improperly coded, so this provision is intended to address 
that issue. The Committee recommended this addition as an advisory 
(non-mandatory) provision, but the Board is considering the addition as 
a requirement to better harmonize the draft with WCAG 2.0.

Chapter 6: Synchronized Media Content and Players

    Chapter 6 addresses audio and visual electronic content as well as 
players of that content. Other forms of electronic content are 
addressed in Chapter 4 (Platforms, Applications, and Interactive 
Content) and Chapter 5 (Electronic Documents). In order to address the 
broader range of content now in use, references to ``multimedia video'' 
have been replaced by the term ``synchronized media,'' as recommended 
by the Committee. The Board recognizes that while much of the draft 
maintains a functional approach to the requirements, Chapters 6 through 
9 adopt a more product oriented approach.
    Question 21: The Board seeks comment on whether this proposed 
approach is successful in making the document more understandable and 
useful. The Board welcomes alternatives to this organizational 
approach.

Video or Audio Content With Interactive Elements (602)

    This is a new provision which the Board is considering to address 
technology that allows users to interact with video or audio content. 
It was recommended by the Committee to address a new development in 
technology that occurred after the current standards were issued.

Captions and Transcripts for Audio Content (603)

    This draft provision is derived substantively from the current 
standards but has been reorganized for clarity. It

[[Page 13465]]

distinguishes pre-recorded content from real-time content and audio-
only content from synchronized media.
    Question 22: The Board is interested in comments on whether there 
is a voluntary consensus standard which could address some issues 
related to captioning quality, such as the degree of synchronization 
required and an allowable error rate.

Video Description and Transcripts for Video Content (604)

    The term ``video description'' was recommended by the Committee to 
replace the term ``audio description.'' Video description is used to 
refer to the process whereby visual content is made accessible by the 
insertion of verbal or auditory description of on-screen visuals 
intended to describe important visual details. ``Video description'' is 
the preferred terminology.
    This draft provision derives substantively from the current 
standards, but has been reorganized for clarity. It distinguishes pre-
recorded content from real-time content and visual-only content from 
synchronized media.
    The Board is considering adding a new provision on multiple visual 
areas of focus to address a problem experienced by persons with 
disabilities when there are multiple, simultaneous sources of 
information and data being provided on-screen. People with disabilities 
may miss some of the information displayed simultaneously on a screen, 
when some, but not all, of the information is described. A typical 
example is text on screen that states the name and title of the person 
speaking, but the text is not included in the main audio output. This 
provision is intended to address that concern.
    The Board departed from a Committee recommendation for video 
description of pre-recorded content by keeping it as an unconditional 
requirement, consistent with the current standards. The Committee 
recommended an option for providing a text description of video content 
where space is not available in the main program for synchronized video 
descriptions. However, new technology for ``extended description'' may 
support conformance to this provision without fundamentally altering 
pre-recorded synchronized media. Extended description allows users to 
pause a video to listen to a description and resume playing the video.

Caption Processing Technology (605)

    This draft provision addresses technologies that display and 
process captions and is distinct from provisions for caption content 
(603). The Committee recognized that current audio visual players and 
displays may be separate components of a larger system.

Video Description Processing Technology (606)

    This draft provision addresses technologies that play and process 
video descriptions and is distinct from requirements for video 
description of content (604). It is substantively consistent with the 
current standards but specifies distinct provisions to be followed for 
both analog signal tuners and digital television tuners.

User Controls for Captions and Video Description (607)

    This draft provision covers user controls for captions as well as 
video descriptions and differs from the current standards which only 
address video description controls and are not as comprehensive in 
scope. As recommended by the Committee, this provision addresses on-
screen menus, a new technology not addressed by the current standards.

Audio Track and Volume Control (608)

    This is a new provision being considered by the Board to address 
the issue of background audio as a barrier to understanding speech in 
video content. It reflects the new digital television standard that 
allows separating audio content into separate tracks. Rather than 
applying a requirement on content authoring, this provision requires 
ICT that displays and processes synchronized media to allow user 
adjustment and selection for multi-channel videos.
    Question 23: The Board seeks comment on any impact this approach 
may have on manufacturers of hardware or software for audio video 
players.

Chapter 7: Hardware Aspects of ICT

    This chapter covers those features of ICT relating to hardware. The 
requirements of this chapter derive from provisions for self contained 
closed products, desktop and portable computers, and telecommunication 
products in the current standards, as well as provisions for output, 
display, and control functions in the guidelines. The Committee sought 
to cover all requirements specifically related to hardware in one 
chapter.

Reach Ranges for Installed or Free-Standing ICT (702)

    The Committee recommended that specifications for reach ranges in 
the current ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, which address both 
forward and side reach ranges, be referenced due to technologies that 
may require a variety of approaches. This is a change from the current 
standards which only addressed side reach ranges. In addition, the ADA 
and ABA Accessibility Guidelines specify a maximum side reach height 
that is lower than the maximum height specified in the current 
standards (48 inches maximum instead of 54 inches).

Standard Connections (703)

    This provision derives from the Committee report and current 
standards and addresses reach ranges for free-standing ICT. The Board 
is considering modifying the provision by replacing references to 
``slots, ports and connectors,'' with the term ``connection points'' 
which encompasses a wider variety of possible ways of connecting to 
devices, such as infrared and Bluetooth.
    Question 24: The Board seeks comment on whether this change in 
terminology is sufficient, or if it will result in any confusion or 
unintended implementation issues. Should this term be defined?

Text, Images of Text, and Symbols for Product Use (704)

    This is a new provision that would require that when text, images 
of text, and symbols are provided on hardware for product use, they 
must provide one mode of operation which provides the same information 
in electronic format, unless an exception applies. Without the addition 
of a provision to make the information available electronically, 
someone who is blind would not be able to independently read 
information on the bottom of products such as symbols describing 
various ports on a portable computer. In addition, text, images of 
text, and symbols must conform to minimum requirements for size and 
contrast ratio. This provision was recommended by the Committee. The 
Board added measurement specifications on text attributes, derived from 
the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines.

Chapter 8: Audio Output From Hardware

    Following recommendations from the Committee to orient requirements 
to functions of products, the Board has organized criteria for audio 
output functionality into a separate chapter. As structured, this 
chapter is a departure from the current standards and guidelines which 
located volume control provisions in separate sections associated with 
different product types. The provisions of this chapter address

[[Page 13466]]

the audio output functionality of products such as telephones and 
information kiosks, as well as media products, such as portable music 
players.

Interactive ICT Within Reach (802)

    This draft provision being considered by the Board applies to those 
products that have audio output, are adjustable by the user, and are 
within the reach of the user, such as telephones and information 
kiosks. Consistent with a Committee recommendation for audio 
connection, this provision requires products with audio output to 
provide a means of listening through a handset, jack, or connection 
adaptor. It would also require that features be provided to control 
volume through hardware such as jacks and speakers, as well as software 
controls for audio.

ICT Typically Held to the Ear (803)

    The Board is considering this provision to address requirements for 
volume gain in products with audio output (either two way voice 
communication or one way audio output), that are typically held to the 
ear. It specifies a minimum adjustable gain level of 18 dB, with a 
baseline to ensure measurability and consistency among products. These 
specifications differ from the current standards and guidelines (which 
require a gain adjustable up to a minimum of 20 dB but do not specify a 
baseline). In addition, the provision differs from the recommendation 
of the Committee.
    The Committee recommended harmonization with the current FCC Part 
68 regulation, which requires a gain adjustable up to a minimum of 18 
dB gain for analog telephones and a 15 dB minimum gain for other 
telephones. However, FCC Part 68 specifies 12 dB as an allowable 
minimum gain. The Board is concerned that a product designed with a 12 
dB or 15 dB minimum gain will not sufficiently meet the needs of 
individuals with hearing impairments.
    This section also includes requirements for incremental volume 
control and automatic reset that are consistent with the current 
standards and guidelines. An exception for reset manual override was 
added at the recommendation of the Committee and is consistent with FCC 
policy (see FCC Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 01-578, March 5, 2001; 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-01-578A1.doc). 
The requirements specified in the FCC Memorandum Opinion and Order have 
been included in the draft.
    Requirements for magnetic coupling and minimized interference 
(803.5) are also included in this section and are consistent with the 
standards and guidelines. The Board departed from the recommendations 
of the Committee by including a requirement for magnetic coupling to 
apply to headsets because they are part of telecommunications products. 
The draft extends the minimized interference requirement to ICT that 
may not necessarily be used for telecommunications, such as wands used 
for listening to museum audio tours.
    Question 25: The Board is interested in comment on these 
provisions, including information on the benefits and costs associated 
with the proposed requirement for volume gain. In addition, the Board 
seeks comment on whether the specified volume gain for cellular and 
landline telephones should be consistent since the amplification needs 
of people who are hard of hearing are the same for both products.

ICT Not Typically Held to the Ear (804)

    This section addresses volume gain, incremental volume control, and 
automatic reset in products that are not typically held to the ear. The 
Board departed from Committee recommendations and did not differentiate 
requirements for products designed for personal use, such as speaker 
telephones, from products designed for communal use, such as 
information transaction machines.

Chapter 9: Conversation Functionality and Controls

    This chapter addresses products that support a telecommunications 
conversation, whether it is in an audio, text, or video format.

Real-Time Text Functionality (902)

    This section contains detailed specifications being considered by 
the Board for real-time text (RTT) and for hardware and software 
systems that support its functionality. Products covered include 
terminals, such as telephones, as well as pass-through products, 
including routers. These specifications are based on recommendations 
from the Committee and are considerably more comprehensive than those 
of the current standards and guidelines that only address TTY text.
    The Board considered referencing the RFC-4103 standard for VoIP 
systems that connect to other VoIP systems using session initiation 
protocol (SIP). (RFC is otherwise known as the Request for Comments--a 
series of Internet standards and protocols distributed by the Internet 
Assigned Numbers Authority; see http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc4103/). However, since the RFC-4103 was not developed through a 
standards development organization, the Board did not include a 
reference to it in this draft.
    Question 26: Is there a similar standard to the RFC-4103 standard 
that has been published by a standards development organization that 
the Board could reference?

Voice Mail, Messaging, Auto-Attendant, Conferencing and Interactive 
Voice Response (903)

    This provision corresponds to specifications in the current 
standards for interactive voice response TTY compatibility but also 
applies to other real time text. The Committee recommended that this 
provision reference G.711 specifications for audio intelligibility in 
the ITU-T Standard (International Telecommunication Union 
Telecommunication Standardization Sector). Instead, the Board has 
chosen to reference the G.722 standard which provides greater 
accessibility through superior clarity. As recommended by the 
Committee, this section also includes a new provision for message and 
prompt navigation.

Information About Call Status and Functions (904)

    This section addresses caller identification and similar functions 
and is substantially similar to specifications in the current 
standards. An advisory note clarifies other types of call status 
information covered.

Video Communications Support (905)

    This is a new provision recommended by the Committee to require 
interoperable technology support for people who use sign language to 
communicate via telecommunications. It addresses signals as well as 
terminals and includes a provision that supports audio input and 
output. The Board enhanced specifications for video communication 
quality by adding requirements for data stream and display screens, 
including the provision of an alternate video display screen, and 
revised requirements for speed and resolution. In addition, the Board 
added a requirement for an indication of camera status for security 
reasons and specifications for end-user controls to help ensure 
privacy. At the recommendation of the Committee, the Board also 
included a provision to support a non-auditory alerting system.
    Question 27: The Board seeks comment on this requirement. Are the 
specifications for video quality sufficient to support accessibility? 
Are

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there other ways of addressing video communications that are less 
complex?

Audio Clarity for Interconnected VoIP (906)

    This is a new section which the Board is considering that addresses 
the ability to enhance clarity in audio through VoIP systems. This 
requirement is based on a recommendation from the Committee report, but 
the Board has revised it to reference the G.722 standard instead of the 
G.711 standard to provide greater accessibility.

Alternate Alerting for VoIP Telephone Systems (907)

    As recommended by Committee, in this new section the Board is 
considering requiring that a signal be provided to indicate incoming 
calls on VoIP systems. This requirement can be met through either 
built-in or compatible signaler solutions. Advisory notes clarify 
sufficiency of audible and visual signaling technology.
    Question 28: The Board seeks comment on the requirement that a 
signal be provided on all incoming calls on VoIP systems. Should the 
requirement be limited, or should it apply to all such calls? Should 
this feature be selectable by the user?

Chapter 10: ICT Support Documentation and ICT Support Services

    This chapter covers product support documentation and services and 
is largely consistent with requirements in the current standards and 
guidelines. The Board is considering new provisions to enhance 
specifications for documentation (1002) and support services (1003).

ICT Support Documentation (1002)

    This section addresses documentation for accessibility features 
(1002.2) and provision of product documentation in alternate formats 
(1002.3). The overall requirements of this section remain substantively 
unchanged.

Accessibility Documentation (1002.2)

    The Board is considering revising the provision for documentation 
to specifically require that product documentation address those 
features that support accessibility, including the capability to change 
settings, and those features that support compatibility with assistive 
technology (1002.2.2). This revision, as recommended by the Committee, 
represents a change from the current standards, which do not include 
such a requirement, and the guidelines, which require a description of 
the compatibility features of a product upon request. In addition, the 
Board included a new requirement that when product components are 
intended to be integrated as part of a system, information must be 
provided on how to configure the system to support accessibility 
(1002.2.3).
    Question 29: The Board seeks comment on the benefits and costs of 
the increased requirements for documentation.
    The Board is also considering adding a new provision that would 
require that documentation be provided on all features using only the 
keyboard (1002.2.4). This includes information on available keyboard 
commands and keyboard navigation. The Committee discussed this change, 
but did not achieve consensus on it.

Alternate Formats (1002.3)

    This provision requires that product documentation be made 
available in alternate formats. It has been revised to require that 
alternate formats meet relevant specifications for electronic documents 
in Chapter 5.

ICT Support Services (1003)

    This section addresses access to product support services where 
provided, such as help desks and technical support services. It has 
been revised, as recommended by the Committee to require that help desk 
and technical support services provide information on ICT accessibility 
features through a referral to a point of contact, and that information 
on a contact method be provided (1003.2.2). The Board clarified the 
requirement that help desks and technical support services shall 
provide information and training on ICT accessibility features directly 
to the end user, where appropriate (1003.2.1). The current standards 
only generally require that support services accommodate the 
communication needs of end-users with disabilities, while the 
guidelines require provision of contact information for manufacturers 
of telecommunications products.
    The requirement that help desk and technical support services 
provide alternate methods of communication (1003.2) is consistent with 
the provisions in the current standards and guidelines. Documentation 
on ICT accessibility features must be provided by help desks and 
technical support services in alternate formats upon request. In 
addition, alternate methods of communication, such as in-person and 
remote communication is required.

Amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility 
Guidelines

Automatic Teller Machines, Fare Machines, and Self-Service Machines 
(220)

    As part of this advance notice, the Board proposes to supplement 
provisions in its ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to address 
access to self-service machines used for ticketing, check-in or check-
out, seat selection, boarding passes, or ordering food in restaurants 
and cafeterias.
    The Board maintains similar guidelines under the Architectural 
Barriers Act (ABA) which applies to facilities that are federally 
funded. Since the section 508 standards apply to ICT in the Federal 
sector, corresponding changes to the ABA guidelines are not considered 
necessary. ADAAG already addresses access to automated teller machines 
(ATMs) and to fare vending machines and provides scoping requirements 
(section 220) and technical specifications (section 707) for such 
devices. In its update of ADAAG in 2004, the Board considered 
supplementing these provisions to cover other types of interactive 
transaction machines (ITMs). The Board opted to defer action at that 
time to monitor the application of the section 508 standards to ITMs in 
the Federal sector.
    In the draft, the Board is considering extending coverage of ADAAG 
section 220 beyond ATMs and fare vending machines to other kinds of 
self-service machines. The ADAAG changes being considered by the Board 
would apply relevant requirements of the section 508 standards to these 
types of machines but would not change existing requirements for ATMs 
or fare vending machines. The provision references chapters 3 through 9 
of the standards.
    The changes being considered by the Board would supplement ADAAG 
220 to specifically cover self-service machines used for ticketing, 
check-in or check-out, seat selection, boarding passes, or ordering 
food in restaurants and cafeterias (220.2). Two exceptions are being 
considered. One exception notes that self-service machines are not 
required to comply with sections 302; 409-412; 503.1-503.3; 506; 508; 
703; 802.2.3; and 802.2.4 of the draft. These provisions generally 
address requirements for products to interoperate with assistive 
technology and therefore are not appropriate for self-service machines. 
A second exception exempts drive-up only self-service machines.
    Question 30: The Board seeks comment from users and manufacturers 
of self-service machines on their

[[Page 13468]]

experiences in using or designing accessible machines and the benefits 
and costs associated with the proposed requirements.

Impact on Small Entities

    The Board is interested in receiving comments on the potential 
impact of this rule on small entities pursuant to the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA). In particular, the Board is seeking input on the 
numbers of small entities that may be impacted by this rulemaking, and 
the potential compliance costs to these small entities. Section 601 of 
the RFA defines small entities as small businesses (defined by the U.S. 
Small Business Administration), small not-for-profit organizations, and 
small governmental jurisdictions with a population of less than 50,000. 
The Board is also seeking comment on any significant alternatives that 
can minimize the economic impact of this rulemaking on small entities 
while accomplishing the Board's objectives.
    Question 31: The Board is interested in comment on the impact on 
small entities of the provisions implementing section 508 of the 
Rehabilitation Act for technology procured, developed, maintained, or 
used by or on behalf of Federal agencies. The phrase ``or on behalf of 
agencies'' covers technologies used by contractors under a contract 
with a Federal agency. How many contractors and subcontractors would be 
considered small entities under the SBA small business size standards? 
What types of compliance costs will these contractors and 
subcontractors face in developing the technologies covered by section 
508? For example, will small contractors and subcontractors face 
capital costs for equipment, or hiring professional expertise or extra 
staff to comply with the requirements? Will the cost of implementation 
create a competitive disadvantage for small contractors versus large 
contractors? (i.e., will a small contractor become less likely to win a 
Federal contract based on price?) Should the Board establish different 
compliance or reporting requirements for small contractors and 
subcontractors? Does the Board need to clarify or simplify the 
compliance requirements for small contractors or exempt certain small 
contractors from these requirements?
    Question 32: The Board is interested in comment on the impact on 
small entities (manufacturers of telecommunications products) of the 
provisions implementing section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 
1996. How many manufacturers of telecommunications products would be 
considered small entities, particularly with the application of this 
rule to interconnected VoIP products? What types of compliance costs 
will small manufacturers face? The Board is interested in small 
business estimates for services required by this rule such as providing 
access to information, documentation, and training of customers (for 
example through help desks and support services). Will this section 
require extra technology, professional expertise or extra staff? Are 
there alternative ways that small manufacturers can provide information 
and training at lower costs? Should the Board establish different 
compliance or reporting requirements for small manufacturers?
    Question 33: The Board is interested in comment on the impact on 
small entities (places of public accommodations and state and local 
government entities) of the provisions for self-service machines under 
the Americans With Disabilities Act. How many and what types of small 
entities utilize self-service machines, and what types of machines do 
they use? How many small manufacturers make these types of machines? 
How many of the small entities that use or manufacture self-service 
machines have machines that are accessible? How much will it cost to 
develop and produce the technology that would meet the proposed 
provisions? Should the Board establish different compliance 
requirements for small entities to have accessible machines? Does the 
Board need to clarify or simplify the requirements for small entities 
or exempt certain types of machines from these requirements?
    The Board will hold a public hearing to provide an opportunity for 
comment. The hearing will take place on March 25, 2010 from 9 a.m. to 
Noon in conjunction with the 25th Annual International Technology & 
Persons with Disabilities Conference. It will be held at the Manchester 
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Elizabeth Ballroom, One Market Place, San Diego, CA 
92101. The hearing location is accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. Sign language interpreters and real-time captioning will 
be provided. For the comfort of other participants, persons attending 
the hearing are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and 
other fragrances. To pre-register to testify please contact Kathy 
Johnson at (202) 272-0041 or board.gov">Johnson@access-board.gov.

David M. Capozzi,
Executive Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-6245 Filed 3-19-10; 8:45 am]
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