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SOP 1001
STATUS: In Force
EFFECTIVE DATE: 30 April 2010


In Section 508 of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Policies and Standards, there is a requirement that all documentation published on the internet (including web applications, web pages and all attached files) must be accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. The process of preparing accessible documentation is most commonly referred to as "508 compliance," and is heretofore referred to in this document as any of the following: "508 compliant," "508 compliance," "compliant," or "compliance."

This SOP describes the process of preparing or remediating a document that is fully accessible according to HHS Section 508 Standard guidelines.

1. Process

1.1 Preliminary Requirements

  1. In this SOP, "document" may refer to any of the following:
    1. A written or printed paper furnishing information or evidence
    2. Any written item of a factual or informative nature (includes training materials, books, letters, articles or other)
    3. A computer data file (including electronic versions of written or printed items, web applications or web pages)
  2. Only documents in final draft version will be remediated for 508 compliance.
    1. Any working document not yet in its final draft version must undergo peer review and approval prior to being remediated for 508 compliance.
  3. Documents must be reviewed and remediated for 508 compliance by someone other than the author.
  4. Documents must be stored in a central source repository for 508 compliance review, remediation and delivery.
    1. Documents must be versioned.
    2. Documents must be delivered from the source repository rather than the author or other individual.
  5. Documents that fail accessibility testing must be edited to comply with 508 Standard guidelines.
  6. Any document failing accessibility testing will be returned to the author for edits.
  7. Any time an existing 508 compliant document is edited, it must undergo the 508 compliance remediation process again once the edits have been peer reviewed and approved.
  8. Documents must be readable and navigable using Assistive Technology.
  9. Documents must have a clear hierarchical structure based on styles.
  10. Documents must be created and/or remediated using reliable, industry standard publishing tools (e.g. MS Office, Adobe).

1.2 Common Elements Required by HHS

  1. Document properties for Title, Author, Subject, Keywords, and Language are properly filled out.
  2. All Comment and Markup items are deleted and Track Changes is turned off.
  3. No hidden data is present.
  4. Color is not the only method used to convey important information.
  5. There are no flashing/flickering or animated elements.
  6. All images and/or non-text elements have alternative text descriptions.
  7. All charts and graphs have either an alternative text description or provide a description in the text immediately below the chart/graph.
  8. Data tables identify row and column headers.
  9. Data cells in tables are associated with row and column headers.
  10. There are no merged cells in tables.
  11. All tables read from left to right and top to bottom.
  12. All hyperlinks are active and use the fully-qualified URL (e.g. rather than simply
  13. Delete or remove tracked changes and previous version information.

1.3 Preparing a 508 Compliant PowerPoint Document

1.3.1 Format and Layout

  1. All slide text must be viewable in the Outline view.
  2. All slides must use Master text styles.
    1. All narrative text on a slide must be in a single text box.
  3. Slide text may not be flickering, flashing or animated.
  4. Slide text must be a color that has high visual contrast to the slide background
    1. Example: black or dark blue text on a white or light gray background
  5. If text of a different color is used for emphasis, a text explanation of the emphasis must also be included.
    1. Example: if correct answers are highlighted using red text instead of black, the words "correct answer" must also be included next to the colored text
  6. Slide text must be a recommended font, such as Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Tahoma or Helvetica.
    1. Refer to NCI Training Team Style Guide (see section 1.5 Reference Documentation) for specific text parameters.
    2. Refer to NCI Training Team PowerPoint Style Guide (see section 1.5 Reference Documentation) for specific formatting parameters
  7. All hyperlinks must be fully qualified URLs that validate to an active Web destination
    1. Example:, not
  8. Tracked changes must be accepted or rejected and turned off.
  9. All comments and formatting marks must be turned off.

1.3.2 Images

  1. All slide graphics that convey information (including but not limited to images, diagrams, flowcharts, callouts and non-text elements) must have Alternative Text (alt text, aka alt tag) associated with them.
  2. All slide graphics should be inserted into slides as individual objects rather than embedded in text boxes.
    1. Use the Insert function to properly insert images or objects into slides.
    2. Do not copy images or objects from other documents and paste them into slides.
  3. Images that are included in the Master Slide (such as backgrounds, logos or other graphics editable only in the Master Slide View) will not be accessible to a screen reader.
  4. Images that do not convey information and are used for visual interest only should have blank alt tags.
  5. Multiple images or objects on one slide should be grouped and tagged as one object.
    1. Use a screen capture application to convert multiple elements on one slide into a single image. Insert the single image into the slide.
    2. Refer to the NCI Training Team "SnagIt How-To" for instructions in section 1.5 Reference Documentation. Alt Text/Alt Tags
  1. Text describing a graphic must be in a slide immediately following the graphic or preferably on the same slide if space permits.
  2. Text must specify what is depicted in the graphic (e.g. process flow chart, screen shot, picture, clip art, table, shapes).
    1. Example: "This graphic is a screen shot of the Alert List page in the Sentinel Tool."
    2. Example: "This graphic is a flow chart of how oxygen gets processed and converted into carbon dioxide by a plant."
    3. Example: "This graphic is a humorous picture of a dog seated at a table as if he's ready to dine with humans."
  3. Text must describe the specific elements of the graphic—it cannot simply state what the graphic shows.
    1. Incorrect example: "This graphic shows the components of a Data Element."
    2. Correct example: "This graphic shows the breakdown of the components of a Data Element. Data Elements are created by adding pieces of metadata together, including a Data Element Concept and a Value Domain. A Data Element Concept is made up of an object class and property. A Data Element Concept is added to a value domain to create the Data Element."
  4. Text must explain the purpose of the graphic if it is not directly related to material that preceded it or if it. This is especially important when a graphic ties together information from more than one section of materials or provides an outside example for material that has been presented.
    1. Example: Say you wish to convey the usability of the Sentinel Tool in the course materials and you include a graphic that shows how much time a curator can save using the tool. Although the course materials cover use of the tool, this graphic is an example of use of the tool in a workflow, which is related to but not part of the instructions for use. You would use alt text such as this: "This graphic is a comparison flow chart representing how using the Sentinel Tool to track metadata changes as opposed to manually checking designated metadata can save time."
  5. Complex images that require extensive explanation and cannot be converted into an accessible format must be accompanied by a separate text document. The document must be identified in the presentation.
    1. Example: a process flow chart showing complex interdependent processes that cannot be described in two or three sentences requires a text equivalent. A separate text document is created, uploaded to a web page, and is accessible from the PowerPoint presentation as a qualified URL.

1.3.3 Tables

  1. Tables must be created within PowerPoint. Tables created outside of PowerPoint must be inserted as graphics and treated as such.
  2. All tables must be logically laid out in rows and columns based on the content and should be readable from left to right and top to bottom.
    1. Row and column headers must begin in the first left-hand column of the table.
  3. All tables must have clearly identifiable row and column headers.
  4. Tabular data must be displayed in a table. Text may not be aligned into a tabular format using tabs and spaces.
  5. Descriptive text must be included to identify the name of the table (if applicable) and describe its contents.
    1. Example: "In Table 2 Daily Averages, we are showing daily webpage visitor averages that have fluctuated from 1.2 million to 3.8 million over a time span of the last six months."

1.3.4 Document Names and Properties

  1. 508 compliant documents should be assigned a file name that ends with the author's initials and 508.
    1. Example: 1010_intro_to_metadata_in_cadsr_lse_508.ppt
  2. 508 compliant documents must be saved as MS Office 97-2003 with a ".ppt" file extension.
    1. Documents cannot be saved with ".pptx" file extensions.
  3. Document file names must not contain spaces or special characters.
    1. Use an underscore (_) instead of a space or a dash.
    2. Do not use any characters other than letters, numbers or underscores (e.g. *, ^, %, #, ~, /, @, +)
  4. Document file names must be concise and generally limited to between 20 and 30 characters. File contents should be clear within the context the file name is presented.
  5. Document Properties, including but not limited to Subject, Author, Title, Keywords, and Language, must be properly filled out.
    1. Document Author must be indicated as organization name rather than individual name (e.g. "NCI Training Team," not "Sam Jones")

1.4 Submitting and Delivering a 508 Compliant Document

1.4.1 Uploading to Source Document Repository

  1. GForge is currently being used as the source document repository for all published 508 compliant documentation.
    1. Please refer to section 1.5 Reference Documentation of this document for instructions on how to use GForge.
  2. Compliant documentation must be placed in the appropriate Project and Folder (to be determined by the workspace or team) in GForge for review by the appropriate individual(s).
  3. It is the responsibility of the document owner to comply with 508 guidelines. However, it is highly recommended that another team member or individual review posted documentation to ensure compliance.
  4. Any documentation found to be non-compliant should be removed from GForge, edited, and resubmitted.

1.4.2 Delivering Documents from Source Repository For Training Documentation in the NCI CBIIT Learning Management System (LMS)
  1. An email must be sent to the appropriate LMS administrator requesting that a link to the source document in GForge be published. The request email should contain the following information:
    1. Requester's name and contact information
    2. Name or title of the document
    3. Type of document (i.e. Course Materials, Quiz, Exercise, other)
    4. Link location in GForge
    5. Specific location in LMS where document should be placed (i.e. course number)
  2. Requester is responsible for confirming receipt and publication of compliant document in correct location with correct link and file name. For Documentation Distributed or Published on Wiki or Other
  1. A direct link to the compliant source document in GForge should be placed on a wiki page or included in an email or other distribution method.
  2. When a direct link to the source document in GForge is not practical or feasible, a copy of the compliant document itself must be downloaded from GForge and attached or published.
    1. NOTE: It is the sole responsibility of the distributor to redistribute updated copies of the source document as it is modified for later versions.

1.5 Reference Documentation

This section include links to all reference documentation, including style guides, online tools (including repository, etc), application user guides on how to format images, create tables, etc. (ppt, word, pdf, excel, snagit, other), and other reference documentation not appropriate for inclusion in its entirety in this document.

  1. NCI Training Team Style Guide - Curriculum Development Style Guide
  2. NCI Training Team PowerPoint Style Guide - PowerPoint Style Guide
  3. NCI Training Team SnagIt How-To - Snag-It How-To
  4. GForge User Guide
  5. NCI CBIIT 508 Compliance Wiki -
  6. Microsoft Excel Help on Wikipedia - Exit Disclaimer logo
  7. Microsoft PowerPoint Help on Wikipedia - Exit Disclaimer logo
  8. Microsoft Word Help on Wikipedia - Exit Disclaimer logo
  9. Adobe Acrobat Help Online - Exit Disclaimer logo
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