Georgia Tech Research Institute

Does Section 508 apply to a federal intranet site intended to be used by a small group of people who do not have disabilities?

Yes, Section 508 applies in this situation because it is not audience-specific. The standards apply to federal E&IT products (electronic and information technology) that are developed, purchased, used, and maintained, although the enforcement provisions of the law apply only to procured E&IT. If the intranet is developed in-house by agency personnel, it is not enforceable under Section 508 but the standards apply. This situation is called "covered" but not "enforceable."

A frequent misconception is that if a product is not enforceable then, by definition, it is not covered. If the intranet is developed by a consultant hired by the agency (and it becomes a product owned by the federal government), the Section 508 standards apply AND it is enforceable via the Section 508 complaint procedure. The only way an intranet could be "non-conformant" with the Section 508 standards but still "compliant" with the Section 508 law, would be if an exception from Subpart A of Section 508 was claimed. In that case, an attempt should be made to design the product to conform to as many applicable provisions as possible.