Georgia Tech Research Institute

Under Section 508, does purchase of a system require purchase of matching peripherals?

For example, if I purchase a phone system for use throughout my department, can I purchase TTY compatible equipment only for those who need it, or must I purchase the same peripheral equipment for all users?

The system and its components must be Section 508 conformant; however, there are a number of methods of achieving conformance. Section 508 allows for both built-in accessibility as well as for compatibility with assistive technology. For example, some phones have a built-in talking Caller ID capability. However, if the phones are integrated with computers, then assistive software or technologies can be added to computers, on an as needed basis, to provide access to the information on the visual display.

Thus, in this example, it is fine to purchase different equipment depending on your current (or expected) employees' needs as long as all the devices are capable of being adjusted to meet accessibility requirements. As another example, it is fine to purchase computers that do not have screen reading software, as long as the computers can support the software if it is installed at a later date.

Therefore, the system and components must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.