Crowdsourcing to Better Serve Americans with Disabilities: Section 508

Since 1998, the American government has been working hard for equal rights for all of those Americans with disabilities. Specifically, Section 508 was enacted to eliminate the barriers to information between those with disabilities and all Federal agencies whenever they are creating or utilizing new electronic information technology.

As part of this endeavor (and as one more step towards serving Open Government initiatives), Federal officials launched a call for ideas open to the American public for new ways to reduce technological barriers facing disabled Americans when the interact with federal services or information. The page is live and open for suggestions through April 9th.

Because of the Open Government program and because the crowd often has true insight into some of the greatest challenges facing forward-thinking initiatives, the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, and U.S. General Services Administration are sponsoring this new National Dialogue.

As written on the site, “Some Federal agencies have made great strides implementing Section 508 and have robust programs in place. This National Dialogue on the Strategy to Improve Management of Section 508 will help us learn from those agencies, build upon their success, incorporate best practices from private industry, get feedback from academia, consider personal experiences and focus on the areas that need the most attention.”

This National Dialogue is also made possible through IdeaScale technology. Even just in the past month, we’ve been working with GSA, the Research Access Board, the White House, SSA, and the Department of Education to make IdeaScale the most accessible ideation platform available to any branch of government. And we’ve been doing it for awhile for other government projects such as FCC, The White House’s OpenGov program, Open Austin, and many, many more.

What other ways can crowdsourcing serve other marginalized communities? How can crowdsourcing best serve the government.

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