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The following terms and definitions relate to digital accessibility.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was the first major legislative effort to secure an equal playing field for individuals with disabilities with a focus on physical spaces and equal access. Though it was signed in 1990, it does not explicitly address digital accessibility.

  • Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the federal, state, and local level.
  • Title III covers commercial entities that operate public accommodations — such as hotels, libraries, museums, train stations, airports, restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, and hospitals.

In July 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intention to adopt web accessibility regulations for state and local governments but it has not been officially adopted into the law.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technologies are tools that help people with disabilities navigate and interact with digital products and digital content. These technologies include but are not limited to screen readers, keyboards, speech-to-text software, eye and head control technology, switches, and prosthetics.


A disability is a permanent, temporary, or situational condition that affects a person's physical and/or cognitive ability to use one or more of the senses, and/or limits motion and/or impacts regular activities. Note: It's important to use people-first language when denoting disabilities (i.e., person who is blind).

Electronic and Information Resource (EIR)

An EIR is information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment used to create, convert, duplicate, store, or deliver data or information. EIR includes telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks and transaction machines, web sites, multimedia, and office equipment such as copiers and fax machines. If the embedded information technology has an externally available web or computer interface, that interface is considered EIR. Other terms: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Information Technology (IT), Electronic Information Technology (EIT), etc. can be considered interchangeable terms with EIR.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

ICT refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. Information technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and information, as well as any associated content. Examples of ICT: computers and peripheral equipment; information kiosks and transaction machines; telecommunications equipment; customer premises equipment; multifunction office machines; software; applications; websites; videos; and electronic documents. Supersedes Electronic and Information Technology (EIT)

Policy Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA) Vendor Assessment

A PDAA is a vendor self-assessment template for EIR solicitation responses. The template provides a valuable way to evaluate vendors bidding on contracts to develop information technology (IT), where there is no product yet to evaluate. Here is a PDAA template available from DIR.

Screen Reader

A screen reader is software that reads screen-based interactive content aloud, helping people with disabilities (e.g., visual impairment, physical or learning disorders) access and use digital products. Examples of screen readers include JAWS, NVDA, Voiceover, and Talkback.

Section 508

Section 508 is a federal law mandating that all federal digital products and technology must be accessible for those with disabilities. Section 508 is an amendment to the United Stated Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Referenced in TAC 206 and 213.


Siteimprove is a software as a service (SaaS) that regularly scans websites (HTML) for accessibility issues and provides a report of compliance problems and where they occur.


Usability is the level of ease with which a person, with or without disability, can engage with a particular website, application, or other digital product.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

A VPAT is document or web page, provided by the creator of a digital product or service, that outlines exactly how their offering is following Section 508 as well as any ways it is not in compliance with that standard. This is the widely accepted method for companies creating web and digital products to prove compliance with Section 508. Once a VPAT is completed by the vendor, it is referred to as a completed Accessibility Compliance Report (ACR).

Vendor Accessibility Dev Services Info Request (VADSIR)

VADSIR is provided by a vendor during solicitation responses to document skills and processes used internally and related to development. Here is a VADSIR template available from DIR.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

WCAG (pronounced wah-cag) are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines and testing success criteria (SC) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG has three levels: A, AA, and AAA. Versions:

  • WCAG 1.0 published May 1999 contained 14 guidelines (superseded by WCAG 2.0)
  • WCAG 2.0 published December 2008 contained 12 guidelines: 38 testable SC for Level A and AA (Version referenced in Section 508 since 2018)
  • WCAG 2.1 published June 2018 added 17 success criteria: 12 testable SC for Level A and AA (EU and Canada confirm to this standard)
  • WCAG 2.2 published October 2023: added 9 testable SC for Level A and AA, modified 1 existing SC from WCAG 2.0 (Parsing retired)