I asked the HDX test manager if a certain kind of application was being tested (a peculiar app with reverse colours), he replied that it was covered under our “Section 508” testing…. Something I had never heard of!
So what is Section 508?
Section 508 refers to a statutory section in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that all electronic and information technology of federal departments and agencies be accessible to people with disabilities unless it would impose an undue burden on the department or agency.
Section 508 is an active statute and is being currently enforced in Governmental IT purchases.
So what does Citrix do?
After a bit of hunting I found a corner of the Citrix Website “Security and Compliance” full of lots of really interesting information including this page on Section 508 on it are links to Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for Citrix products including all our main products. These Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) assist Federal officials in evaluating the accessibility of products such as XenApp/XenDesktop and their components such as Storefront, Director etc. and evaluates specific UI elements. I found these VPATs a really insightful read as an engineer to think more about what makes a good UI and anyone involved in coding or UIs would find these a good read, some sample tests/evaluations include:
- “Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. “
- “Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. “
- “When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.”
Most of this stuff isn’t rocket science but makes for a better UI for everyone!
Interesting read thanks to a chance remark from a test manager!