The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) requires that the State review and update its technical accessibility standards at least once every three years. The original IITAA Standards were published in February 2008, so the first review was due in February 2011.

Since the IITAA Standards were published in 2008, the World Wide Web Consortium released a completely revised version of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Federal Access Board proposed substantial revisions to the Section 508 Standards. Because the IITAA Standards are based largely on the WCAG and Section 508 Standards, and because industry groups are pushing for "harmonization" of accessibility standards, the State needs to address the questions of if, when, and how to harmonize the IITAA Standards with WCAG 2.0 and the proposed Section 508 Standards.

To begin the review process, the Department of Human Services re-convened the IITAA Standards Workgroup on August 19, 2010. Forty representatives from 20 different agencies, universities, and advocacy groups participated in the kick-off meeting and teleconference. (Meeting minutes and a participant list are posted at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=51072.) The primary question posed to the group was whether or not the IITAA Standards should be harmonized with WCAG 2.0 and the proposed Section 508 Standards.

Recommendation

Based on discussion at the IITAA Standards Update Kick-off Meeting and feedback provided via the IITAA Standards Update web site (http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=36020), the consensus of the Workgroup was to:

  1. At a high level, harmonize the IITAA Standards with proposed Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 "Success Criteria."
  2. Develop a set of "Sufficient Techniques" organized and written like the current IITAA Implementation Guidelines.

Next Steps

We will monitor progress made by the Federal Access Board on completing revision of Section 508 Standards. Once the proposed changes to the Section 508 Standards seem stable, and the draft of revised IITAA Standards is complete, new IITAA Standards will be drafted and published on the IITAA web site (http://www.dhs.state.il.us/iitaa). As specified in Section 25 of the Act, State entities will then have at least six months to review and incorporate the amended standards into relevant policies and procedures.

The Workgroup will simultaneously begin investigation of recommendations to improve outreach, education, monitoring, and enforcement of the IITAA. Meeting details will be emailed to the Workgroup and posted on the IITAA web site (http://www.dhs.state.il.us/iitaa).