IBM Accessibility Checklist

Version 7.1

Key features: incorporates WCAG 2.1; Jan. 1, 2020 adoption.

This is Version 7.1 of the IBM Accessibility Checklist. It was released on June 23, 2019 and officially replaced IBM Accessibility Checklist - Version 7.0 on January 1, 2020.

Version 7.1 incorporates the new requirements introduced in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, released by the World Wide Web Consortium as a Recommended standard in June 2018. See the Impact Analysis for how requirements have changed from the prior checklists. Like version 7.0, this unified checklist and its checkpoint pages ensure that products comply with the Revised US Section 508 Standards. It also captures additional requirements needed to meet the European EN 301 549 V2.1.2 standard. The Summary of Changes lists all substantial modifications to the 7.x checklist since its release.

Each checklist section indicates whether it is relevant to web ( Web ), non-web software ( SW ) or support documentation ( Doc ). Review Using the IBM Accessibility Checklist for more information.

WCAG 2.1* = New WCAG 2.1 checkpoint


WCAG 2.0/2.1 Checkpoints

 Web   SW   Doc  These checkpoints apply to all electronic content, whether web or non-web software or documentation, except those marked N/A for non-web documents and software. Checkpoints marked WCAG 2.1* indicate additions not required to meet WCAG 2.0.

Revised 508 Non-Web Software Checkpoints

 SW  These checkpoints must be completed by all software applications that are not web-based, including mobile apps.

Revised 508 Authoring Tools Checkpoints

 Web   SW  These checkpoints must be completed by all applications that include tools for authoring content.

Revised 508 Documentation Checkpoints

 Web   SW   Doc  These checkpoints must be completed for all products, whether the documentation is integrated into the application or provided separately.

EN 301 549 Additional Requirements

The following additional checkpoints are required to meet the European standard used in government procurement of accessible products. These are additional requirements of the EN 301 549 standard that aren't covered by the Revised Section 508 Standards.

Using the IBM Accessibility Checklist

Checkpoints are divided into sections that match the standards they reflect or enforce.

Note: WCAG 2.1 includes all of the WCAG 2.0 standard, then adds twelve new requirements at Level A and AA. For ease of review, the IBM checklist has notated the additions with WCAG 2.1*. These dozen additions are:

502 Interoperability with Assistive Technology and 503 Applications are parts of the Revised Section 508 requirements.

Platforms, software development toolkits, and software applications must comply with the 502 Interoperability checkpoints. Applications must comply with 503 Applications.

Examples of platforms are operating systems (including mobile), web browsers, plug-ins to web browsers which render a particular media or format, and sets of components which allow other applications to execute.

Applications may be web-based or client-side software. Examples of applications are email clients, word processors, help desk systems, content management systems, and e-learning courseware. There are some additional notes in the rationales or general techniques of some checkpoints on how to apply WCAG 2.0 to non-web software, or if a checkpoint does not apply to non-web software. These notes are specific to non-web software and should be disregarded by web development teams.

Authoring tool requirements 504.2, 504.3 and 504.4 in the Revised Section 508 Standards reference WCAG 2.0. However, since the matching authoring tool requirements in the European EN 301 549 V2.1.2 standard specify WCAG 2.1, the newer version is the standard specified in IBM's online checklist.

Revised 508 Documentation Checkpoints

Support documentation for any content must be confirmed for accessibility, whether the documentation is integrated into the application or provided separately. Documentation requirement 602.3 references WCAG 2.0 in the Revised Section 508 Standards. However, since the same requirement in the latest European EN 301 549 V2.1.2 standard specifies WCAG 2.1, the newer version is used in IBM's online checklist.

EN 301 549 Additional Requirements

The Revised Section 508 Standards and the European EN 301 549 standard are closely aligned. However, the additional requirements of the European standard which are listed in this part of the checklist aren't covered by the Revised Section 508 Standards.

The WCAG 2.1 checkpoints identified in the WCAG 2.0/2.1 section of the checklist are not currently in the 508 Standard, and arguably should be listed in the EU section. However, for ease of use, IBM has elected to notate the 2.1 additions and leave them listed in the WCAG section of the online checklist rather than in the EU additions section. IBM's Accessibility Conformance Reports provide the correct information in the appropriate sections of the reporting template.

Hardware and Closed Systems

IBM teams can read about the status of IBM hardware and closed systems, as related to 508 Refresh, on the legacy internal IBM hardware page.

Note that hardware products that include any new or revised documentation or software (such as for remote connectivity or operation) must complete the new checklists for these items and produce the Accessibility Conformance Report (i.e., VPAT), even if the hardware itself is exempt from meeting the hardware requirements in the Revised 508 Standards.

Testing and Conformance Reporting

IBM teams must use this checklist in conjunction with the following internal resources, as well as other information available ONLY internally on

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Many links in this checklist reside outside at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. W3C Recommendation 05 June 2018:

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