4-2 Technical Standards and Functional Performance Criteria

Section 508 includes six technical standards with associated provisions and functional performance criteria.

These technical standards are defined in terms of classes of technology (i.e., software applications and operating systems; Web–based intranet and Internet information and applications; telecommunications products; video and multimedia products; self–contained, closed products; desktop and portable computers). These technical standards translate into day–to–day business functions such as using the Web to look up postal rates, using a kiosk to purchase stamps, getting messages with e–mail, and using a computer to view a presentation.

The Functional Performance Criteria define overarching performance measures that ensure interaction across all classes of technology. They ensure that, from the perspective of a person with a disability, all interactions are consistent and accessible, regardless of the class of technology.

Business functions often span multiple classes of technology. When you apply the law, you must consider all applicable technical standards and functional performance criteria. For example, an e–learning system may include Internet–based technology, video and multimedia, and access from a desktop, with consistent functional performance.

When we adhere to both technical standards and functional performance criteria, people with functional limitations can use all IT systems.