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NPR 2800.2A
Effective Date: August 05, 2020
Expiration Date: August 05, 2025
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Information and Communication Technology Accessibility

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Information Officer

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |

Chapter 2. Requirements

2.1. Procurement of ICT

2.1.1 In acquiring, developing, maintaining, and using ICT, NASA Program/Project Managers shall comply with the provisions of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. These provisions state that individuals with disabilities, either Federal employees or members of the public, will have access to and use of information that is comparable to those without a disability. Software applications and operating systems; Web-based information, systems or applications (Internet, Intranet, or Extranet); telecommunications products; video and multimedia products; self-contained, closed products; and desktop and portable computers developed, procured, or maintained on or after June 25, 2001, are required to be Section 508 compliant.

2.1.2 Special Categories of Contracting, Acquisition of Information Technology, NASA FAR Supplement, 48 CFR, pt. 1839 provides guidance to NASA in the procurement of both ICT supplies (such as computers, telephones, etc.) as well as services (e.g., development of a computer system for NASA use, publishing information on a NASA Web site).

a. Maintenance and support for legacy systems, purchased or developed prior to January 18, 2018, falls under the “safe harbor” provision for existing (i.e., legacy) ICT. Unaltered, existing ICT that complies with the original June 2001 508 standards does not require conformance to the current January 2018 508 standards.

b. Patches to fix software errors on a system that is not near the end of its life expectancy, and system upgrades that could not operate with software that meets the technical provisions of the United States Access Board's standards (https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh), would not require that the system become conformant. However, system owners should make every reasonable effort to address conformance with the technical standards. If a system is near the end of its life expectancy, the purpose of the 'maintenance' is to significantly upgrade and update the system, and the resources are available for such an upgrade, the relevant technical 508 standards apply.

c. This safe harbor applies on an element-by-element basis to each component or portion of the existing ICT, with each component or portion assessed separately. Existing, unaltered ICT that did not comply with the original 508 standards as of January 18, 2018, are required to be compliant with the Revised 508 standards.

2.1.3 It is the responsibility of the requiring office to ensure all products procured comply with Section 508 prior to deployment. Relying on vendor assurances alone is not sufficient. Requiring offices may perform conformance testing or may rely on analyses of Section 508 conformance performed by other NASA offices; guidance from the Center Section 508 Program Manager; NASA contractors who did not develop the product or service; other Federal, state, or local agencies; independent testers such as universities, accessibility advocacy groups; and other parties not directly involved with the development/sale of the product or service who may be relied upon for a conformance determination.

2.2 Technical and Functional Criteria for Compliance with Section 508 of ICT Developed, Maintained, and Used by NASA

The development, maintenance, and use of all NASA ICT will comply with the technical or functional criteria set forth in the Section 508 Final Rule published by the Access Board in the Federal Register (Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines, 36 CFR pt. 1194) and effective as of January 18, 2018. The accessibility standards apply to ICT developed and maintained both by NASA civil servants and NASA contractors for use by NASA employees, employees of other Federal agencies, and/or the public.

2.3 Special Topics

2.3.1 Electronic Content Public Facing. NASA will ensure that all electronic content that is made available to the public, such as web pages, blogs and social media, conforms to Section 508 standards. Agency Official Communication. NASA shall ensure that electronic content used for official agency communications, including such content posted to the agency Intranet, conforms to Section 508 technical standards. This requirement applies, but is not limited, to the following types of official agency communications:

a. An emergency notification;

b. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding;

c. An internal or external program or policy announcement;

d. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action;

e. A formal acknowledgement of receipt;

f. A survey questionnaire;

g. A template or form;

h. Educational or training materials;

i. Intranet content designed as a Web page.

2.3.2 Laboratory Equipment

In the case of the procurement of laboratory equipment, any ICT that is included in the procurement as part of the laboratory equipment, regardless of whether the ICT is the end product of the procurement or the principal function of the laboratory equipment, will conform to Section 508 requirements. ICT may be included in the procurement of the laboratory equipment either as embedded in the equipment or as a separate component. For example, full-featured oscilloscopes available in the marketplace today often include an embedded microprocessor that may have an operating system or user interface; be remotely controlled by a touch screen, keyboard/mouse, or other external interface; have Internet connectivity; and run a myriad of software applications, including e-mail. Such an oscilloscope is ICT and subject to Section 508, though not all of the Section 508 standards may be applicable. Each type of laboratory equipment will be addressed individually and have a determination made by the local Requiring Office via market research or following the methods prescribed in 2.1.3. Compliance with Section 508 requirements when procuring laboratory equipment shall be undertaken in conjunction with the Agency's Supply Chain Risk Management efforts, as required by Section 514 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.

2.4 Application and General Exceptions

2.4.1 Application. ICT that is procured, developed, modified, maintained, or used by agencies after January 18, 2018, shall conform to the revised standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 105-220, 29 U.S.C. § 794(d) (Section 508) unless governed by exceptions noted below. General Exceptions. ICT is exempt from compliance with the Revised 508 Standards to the extent specified below:

a. Legacy ICT. Any component, portion, or function of existing ICT that complies with an earlier standard issued pursuant to Section 508, and that has not been altered on or after January 18, 2018 (legacy ICT), will not be required to be modified to conform to the revised Section 508 standards.

b. National Security Systems. The Revised 508 Standards do not apply to ICT operated by agencies as part of a national security system as defined by Public Buildings, Property, and Works, Applicability to National Security Systems, 40 U.S.C. § 11103(a).

c. Federal Contracts. ICT acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract is not required to conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

d. ICT Functions Located in Maintenance or Monitoring Spaces. Status indicators and operable parts for ICT that is located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment are not required to conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

e. Undue Burden or Fundamental Alteration. Where NASA determines conformance to requirements in the Revised 508 Standards would impose an undue burden or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, conformance is required only to the extent that it does not impose an undue burden, or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

f. Best Meets. Where ICT conforming to one or more requirements in the Revised 508 Standards is not commercially available, NASA will procure the ICT that best meets the Revised 508 Standards consistent with the agency’s business needs.

2.5 Requesting Exceptions to Technical Standards

2.5.1 Exceptions to Section 508 standards shall be granted in accordance to each Center's implementation process for Section 508 enforcement. The exception request shall include a justification for the exception claimed, to be reviewed and approved as part of the Center Section 508 enforcement process.

2.5.2 Undue Burden. The exception for Undue Burden is only applicable to the specific functions or features of an ICT product that cannot be made accessible without imposing significant difficulty or expense on the agency or component of the agency that will use the ICT. The NASA CIO in coordination with the requesting Center CIO is responsible for making the final determination whether conformance to specific requirements of the Revised 508 Standards would impose an undue burden on the agency. This determination will be in writing and will include an explanation of the basis for the decision, including why and to what extent conformance to specific requirements would result in an undue burden on the agency.

2.5.3 Fundamental Alteration. The Center Section 508 Program Manager is responsible for reviewing requests for and making a determination that conformance to Section 508 standards would fundamentally alter the nature of a specific ICT product. This determination shall be in writing and shall include an explanation of the basis for the decision, including how conformance would fundamentally alter the nature of the product.

2.5.4 Best Meets. The NASA Program/Project Manager from the requiring organization shall document in writing:

a. The non-availability of conforming ICT, including a description of market research performed and which provisions cannot be met; and

b. The basis for determining that the ICT to be procured best meets the requirements in the Revised 508 Standards consistent with the agency’s business needs.

2.5.6 Alternative Means. When NASA makes a determination that an exception to the Section 508 standards is appropriate, NASA shall provide access to the information and data to people with disabilities by alternative means. Program/Project Managers shall identify in advance the needs of people with disabilities affected by each exception and implement a plan to meet these needs through alternative means.

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