About FDA

Internet Accessibility

A Commitment to Accessibility

That you are reading this page shows that you have a more than casual interest in the accessibility of this site. We hope that you will share our efforts to improve it’s accessibility by providing us with your feedback about our efforts to let us know where the structure and technology of the site can be improved. The intended audiences for these pages are:

  1. The Community of those with assistive needs who use the FDA web site and want to know about the features of the site to meet their needs.
  2. The personnel of other Government agencies who want to know how accessibility is being addressed by the FDA web site.
  3. Vendors and Contractors who are looking for information about FDA accessibility policies, requirements and best practices for procurement.

The agency welcomes comments on the web to improve the site’s accessibility for users with assistive needs. This agency, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, has a commitment to the accessibility and functionality of the web site content for all Americans. This commitment takes the form of a constantly evolving service of improving accessibility for our community of users. As the technology of the internet evolves we share with our users the ongoing task of learning how to improve the web site and its services.

To Report an Accessibility Issue

If you are having problems accessing information on the FDA web site using assistive technology you are encouraged to contact the FDA 508 Coordinator (FDA508Coordinator@fda.hhs.gov) and report that issue via Email.  Please include in your report a description of the issue and the full web page "URL" on which you encountered the issue (e.g. if you found an issue on this page the URL would be http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/aboutthiswebsite/accessibility/default.htm).  By including the URL we can get to work to identify the issue and remedy it as quickly as possible.  We understand that such issues may interfere with your ability to obtain and use FDA information.  We want to remove any barriers to your access to information on the FDA web site.

This web site uses a number of features and standards to enhance the accessibility of the content for users with assistive technology. In this section these features will be described. As we gain more experience with assistive technology and (with your feedback) learn how those with assistive needs utilize it, we anticipate that we will be making changes incrementally over time. Those changes will be described here. Please revisit these pages to learn how the site is evolving and share with us your feedback about the accessibility.

Known Issues with the WINDOW-EYES Screen Reader:

  1. Window-Eyes version 7.x users may experience problems filling in some of the web based and PDF Forms, due to a bug in the Window-Eyes Program. 
  2. When clicking on the slide show links, as well as other links on the webpage, Window-Eyes may get stuck in "loading page". To get out of this mode, Window-Eyes Users can toggle out by using the Alt plus Tab keystroke combination. Once out of the "loading page" mode, you will LAND on the page with the information you wish to view.

GW Micro (the Window-Eyes Manufacturer) is aware of this problem and will be addressing and fixing the problem in its next major Upgrade. If an individual requires additional assistance when filling out a Form, please contact the FDA 508 Coordinator(FDA508Coordinator@fda.hhs.gov)

Public guidance on creating 508 accessible documents for the FDA website

FDA is committed to making content accessible to everyone. If you are submitting a presentation or document to the FDA, please review the guidance for formatting your documents properly for FDA, and assisting our efforts in equivalent access and transparency.

For Alternate Access to Web Information

At this time, all FDA information should be accessible via screen readers and other accessibility tools with the exception of some pre-2001 information, Dockets, and some technical documents. This information may not be available in accessible formats.

  • If you need an alternative means of access to any information on the FDA Web site please contact us. Let us know the nature of your accessibility problem, the Web address of the requested information, and your contact information.
  • If you need to convert PDF documents, Adobe® offers conversion tools at its Accessibility Resource Center.

Synopsis of Section 508 Accessibility Requirements

Section 508 requires Federal agencies to ensure that individuals with disabilities who are members of the public or Federal employees have access to and use of electronic and information technology (EIT) that is comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. The requirements of Section 508 apply to an agency's procurement of EIT, as well as the agency's development, maintenance, or use of EIT.

Although Federal agencies have an explicit statutory obligation to make all electronic and information technology (EIT) that they develop, procure, maintain, or use compliant with Section 508, individuals may only file complaints or lawsuits to enforce Section 508's requirements with respect to EIT systems procured or deployed on or after June 21, 2001. Learn more at FAR Final Rule. The Section 508 requirements do not apply retroactively to pre-existing EIT. However, as agencies upgrade and change their electronic and information technology, they must comply with the standards. Specifically, the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards: Economic Assessment states that:

"The standards are to be applied prospectively and do not require Federal agencies to retrofit existing electronic and information technology. As agencies upgrade and change their electronic and information technology, they must comply with the standards."

It should be noted, however, that Federal agencies have additional responsibilities under Section 501 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These Sections require that agencies provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities and provide program access to members of the public with disabilities and take other actions necessary to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability in their programs.

Web Site Standards

The policy and standards for the accessibility of the FDA web sites are set by our parent, the Department of Health and Human Services, which determines how the regulations promulgated by the US Access Board will be put into effect.

  • HHS policies: an overview of the department’s policies.
  • HHS web standards: which apply to all department web sites.
  • Section508.gov: provides information on the Section 508 law, frequently asked questions, and standards.
  • US Accessboard: link to the pages for Electronic and Information Technology.

To Learn More

Page Last Updated: 11/15/2013
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