ICT Baseline Alignment Framework

Purpose and objectives

Members of the U.S. federal accessibility community must agree on what constitutes conforming to the Section 508 standards, in concrete terms. This is important to:

  • Conserve and share resources
  • Provide clear expectations to vendors
  • Maintain consistency across the Federal government

The Section 508 standards incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, levels A and AA. The ICT Testing Baseline for Web establishes the minimum tests and evaluation guidance for determining whether Web content meets the requirements of WCAG 2.0 A and AA and, therefore, Section 508.

Although the ICT Testing Baseline does not provide processes or tools for conducting baseline tests, it can be used to develop test processes and evaluate how well test processes address all Section 508 requirements.

The ICT Baseline Alignment Validation Framework provides test cases as a way for agencies to check whether their own test processes and use of testing tools adequately address all Section 508 requirements. Two different processes that align to the Baseline should produce the same replicable and reliable test results.

How to contribute

Contributors do not need to be highly technical nor make a long-term commitment, although both skills and time can certainly be helpful. The ICT Baseline Alignment Working Group needs help developing and evaluating test cases. Accessibility advocates are also needed to spread the word about the Framework, develop a governance structure, participate in governance, develop and maintain the website, provide user experience and plain language expertise, and even provide legal support. Please visit our How You Can Help and How We Work sections or contact us at ictbaseline@gsa.gov for more information about getting involved.

How to validate alignment to the ICT Baseline

Our ICT Baseline Working Group is still developing test cases and guidance for test process and tool owners to evaluate alignment to the ICT Testing Baseline. The basic purpose of the Baseline Alignment Framework Test Cases is to provide code samples along with the ICT Testing Baelineā€™s expected conformance test result for a specific code sample and specific Baseline test procedure. Test process and tool owners can test the same sample code, using their own relevant test procedures and/or test rules, and compare their test results to those in the test cases to determine whether their tools/processes produce the same results that the ICT Testing Bseline would predict.

More detailed guidance is still to come. As our working group continues to develop test cases and accompanying guidance, we invite test process and tool owners to review the test cases and provide feedback.