Section 508 Compliance (VPAT)

Date: March 12, 2012

Name of Product: Gmail Standard View (additional product VPATs)

Point of Contact: Alex Gawley (gmail-accessibility@google.com), Product Manager

Summary Table
Guideline Applicable Compliance
Section 1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Systems Applicable Supports with exceptions
Section 1194.22 Web-based internet information and applications Applicable Supports with exceptions
Section 1194.23 Telecommunications Products Not Applicable -
Section 1194.24 Video and Multi-media Products Not Applicable -
Section 1194.25 Self-Contained, Closed Products Not Applicable -
Section 1194.26 Desktop and Portable Computers Not Applicable -
Section 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria Applicable Supports with exceptions
Section 1194.41 Information, Documentation, and Support Applicable Supports with exceptions
Section 1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Systems
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks
(a) When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions shall be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually. Supports with exceptions Most of Gmail's core functionality, with the exception of viewing email header information, sort options on table headers and some of the rich email text formatting options is keyboard accessible.
(b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer. Supports Gmail does not interfere with or deactivate the accessibility features of the operating system.
(c) A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus shall be provided that movesamong interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus shall be programmatically exposed so that Assistive Technology can track focus and focus changes. Supports with exceptions Gmail provides a visual indication of focus for most interactive elements. The chat minimize and gadget buttons do not have visible focus indicator. Keyboard focus is exposed programmatically to Assistive Technology.
(d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to Assistive Technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. Supports with exceptions WAI-ARIA is used to expose role and state information on most elements, but some elements are not exposed correctly, such as divs and images that are used as active elements and tab controls without role and state information.
(e) When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images shall be consistent throughout an application's performance. Supports Images are used consistently within Gmail.
(f) Textual information shall be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that shall be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes. Supports Textual information is available to assistive technology in Gmail.
(g) Applications shall not override user selected contrast and color selections and other individual display attributes. Supports with exceptions Some buttons and other visual information in Gmail is either lost or has very low contrast when used in Windows® High Contrast mode. These include:
  1. Buttons for Mark as Important and Mark as Not Important
  2. Function buttons
  3. Start Group Chat, Email this Group and Schedule a Meeting with Group features
  4. Editor controls
Alternative High Contrast can be enabled by activating the 'High Contrast' theme.
(h) When animation is displayed, the information shall be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user. Supports Gmail has no core features that utilize animation.
(i) Color coding shall not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. Supports with exceptions In some cases Gmail uses color to convey information, including:
  1. To show when an email has been read
  2. To indicate which words have spelling errors
That information is not available to assistive technology users.
(j) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided. Supports Gmail provides options for users to change themes containing a selection of color and contrast levels.
(k) Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. Supports Gmail has no flashing or blinking text, objects or other elements.
(l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using Assistive Technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. Supports with exceptions Some form controls do not have accessible names, including:
  1. Form fields on the Create New Label and Insert Invitation dialog box
  2. Checkbox for filename on Compose Message
  3. Some fields in the Gmail settings
Section 1194.22 Web-based Internet Information and Applications
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks
(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). Supports with exceptions Text alternatives are available for core Gmail features using non-text elements. Some images do not have alt text, including:
  1. Some decorative images used for layout do not include null alt attributes
(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Supports Gmail core features do not include any multimedia presentations.
(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. Supports with exceptions In some cases Gmail uses color to convey information, including:
  1. To show when an email has been read
  2. To indicate which words have spelling errors
That information is not available to assistive technology users.
(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet. Does not support As Gmail is a web-based application (not a document), its UI relies heavily on the use of associated style sheets.
(e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map. Not applicable Gmail does not use image maps.
(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. Not applicable Gmail does not use image maps.
(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables. Supports with exceptions The core Gmail UI does not contain any traditional data tables, however the list of email conversations uses a layout table (with no row or column headers). Row and column headers are not identified in the Manage Labels table.
(h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers. Not applicable Gmail UI does not contain data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.
(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation. Supports with exceptions The majority of Frames and iFrames in Gmail do not have a title, because they are used for technical reasons only and are not relevant to user navigation. Frames designed for interaction have frame titles in the Gmail UI.
(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. Supports Gmail UI does not cause screen flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes. Not applicable Accessibility provisions in Gmail can be provided without requiring a separate text-only version.
(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by Assistive Technology. Supports with exceptions Some elements that utilize scripting are not announced correctly to assistive technology, including:
  1. Notifications that an action has been taken
  2. Button actions
  3. Inbox styles feature
  4. Instruction text in dialog boxes
(m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with §1194.21(a) through (l). Not applicable Gmail core functionality does not require that an applet, plug-in or other application be present.
(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using Assistive Technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. Supports with exceptions Some form controls do not have accessible names, including:
  1. The Give Gmail To edit box
  2. Form fields on the Create New Label and Insert Invitation dialog box
  3. Checkbox for filename on Compose Message
  4. Some fields in the Gmail settings
(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. Supports Gmail UI contains section headers and WAI-ARIA landmark roles to allow for quick navigation when accessed with a screen reader.
(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. Supports Gmail does not require a timed response as part of its core functionality.
Section 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks
(a) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user vision shall be provided, or support for Assistive Technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided. Supports with exceptions Most of Gmail's core functionality, with the exception of viewing email header information, sort options on table headers and some of the rich email text formatting options is keyboard accessible.
(b) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 shall be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for Assistive Technology used by people who are visually impaired shall be provided. Supports Gmail supports the use of screen magnifiers.
(c) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing shall be provided, or support for Assistive Technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be provided Supports Gmail does not require user hearing.
(d) Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval shall be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support forassistive hearing devices shall be provided. Supports Gmail does not require user hearing.
(e) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for Assistive Technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided. Supports Gmail does not require user speech.
(f) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength shall be provided. Supports with exceptions Most of the parts of Gmail that cannot be operated using the keyboard alone have large target areas that would not cause problems for people with fine motor control or limited reach and strength.
Some elements such as the Editor icons and the Next/Previous buttons, have smaller targets that could cause problems for people with mobility impairments.
Section 1194.41 Information, documentation, and support.
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks
(a) Product support documentation provided to end-users shall be made available in alternate formats upon request, at no additional charge. Supports Google Help Centers provide electronic versions of all product support documentation.
(b) End-users shall have access to a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of products in alternate formats or alternate methods upon request, at no additional charge. Supports Google Help Centers provide information on accessibility features in the documentation. Electronic versions of all product support documentation are provided.
(c) Support services for products shall accommodate the communication needs of end-users with disabilities. Supports with exceptions Google Help Centers are compatible with screen-reader technology. However, only electronic versions of all product support documentation are available.

For more information, please consult the following help center articles: