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Thank you for addressing my question. I'm curious about technological advances that will help digital signs meet Section 508 requirements (specifically Sec. 5081194.24-Video & multimedia products and 1194.31-Functional performance criteria). The higher education institution I work at is adopting more and more digital signs but they have no audio description of the text. So I'm curious what products address these federal standards?

I sent your question to Marsha Mazz, head of the Technical Department at the U.S. Access Board. We are here together at the ANSI A117 meeting in Washington DC. Unfortunately, she did not really answer your question, but did refer you to the proper source for a possible answer. Also, as you will see when I include her brief note, an update to the standard will be published very soon, so hopefully that will include some assistance. However, I do want to suggest that you contact the various government and standards setting bodies that deal with these questions, and tell them what standards you need to see, as someone in the field. This is how they decide what they need to deal with. You are their best source of information!

In a nutshell, call the Access Board in Washington DC and ask to be connected to the 508 Technical Assistance Line. You can then discuss your issue in depth. It might even be with Marsha herself, although I can't promise that. The website is The phone numbers and address are as follows:

United States Access Board
1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
Voice: (202) 272-0080 or (800) 872-2253
TTY: (202) 272-0082 or (800) 993-2822
Fax: (202) 272-0081

Here is Marsha's answer to my email:


This is too broad a topic to address by email. Also, we are updating the current 508 Standards and should have a formal notice of proposed rulemaking available shortly (within weeks).  You should refer this person to our 508 TA line.


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Sharon Toji


I have special expertise in the subject of accessibility codes and guidelines (ADA), and most specifically in the field of signage. If you have a question that is not about the ADA or about signs, I suggest you try the following excellent site: Naffa International BCDG (Building Code Discussion Group). The website address is You do have to register, but it's free. You will find discussions here on all kinds of Building Code Q & A topics. You go to the forum that sounds as if it's close to your topic, check out some of the posts and see if it sounds like a fit. Then pose your question. With luck, you may get some really good answers. You can email some of the experts individually by clicking on the headings of their posts. When you ask a question, of me, or of someone on the above site, tell them your state, and maybe your city if it's a large city. That is crucial for answering code questions. Sharon Toji


I am a voting delegate to the American National Standards Institute that writes accessiblity standards used by the International Building Code and are the basis for the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). I am also a member of the Access Advisory Committee to the California State Building Standards Commission, among other positions.

Signs and the ADA (a manual I have written that is used across the country), and articles in many trade journals.

BA, Reed College Graduate work, University of Munich (Germany) and University of California, Irvine

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