United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA Office of Health Information

Training for Testing Software for 508 Compliance

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Testing for §1194.21 (e): Bitmap Images

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This module will focus on why the meaning of a particular bitmap image must be the same throughout an application.

The Section 508 requirement covering this is: §1194.21 (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.

When bitmap images are used consistently for a single purpose to identify controls, status indicators, or the results of user actions throughout an application, all users can be confident about what the images mean. This consistency can be particularly important to screen reader users. Screen reading programs provide the ability to assign text names to bitmap images. If the meaning of an image is not always the same in an application, the assigned text name will not always be valid.

In other words, if an image of a printer is used to indicate the Print function, the same image of a printer should be used every time the Print function is available.

Each image must only be used to indicate one function. For example, if an image of a blue square is used to mean Pause in one part of the application, a blue square cannot be used to indicate Cancel in another place.

In this module you will learn how to determine whether the meaning of bitmap images is consistent.

Related Checkpoints

Remember, both testers and developers can use the checkpoints for this requirement to be sure the products they are working with will be accessible to users with disabilities, including those using assistive technology (AT).

Use the link above to look at the checkpoints now. You may wish to keep the window open as a reference to use as you complete this module.

Video Overview of this Requirement

To view an approximately one-minute video with additional information that may be helpful to testers and developers, select the video link below. The video will open in a new window; if you are using a screen reader to take this training, press Enter when you hear, "To start, press Play button."

Video in new window

Select Next for an example.

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