The Need to Consider Built Environment and IT Accessibility Together – A Case Study

Presented at 4:00pm in Waverly on Thursday, November 17, 2016.



  • Ken Nakata, Director of Accessibility Consulting Practice, Cryptzone
  • Bob Cosgrove, External Compliance Manager, NASA
  • Bill Hecker, Accessibility Consultant, Hecker Design, LLC
  • Jeffrey Singleton, Accessibility Solutions Consultant, Cryptzone

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Expert
  • Type of session: General Conference


Digital and built environment accessibility are rarely considered together. Section 504 demands, however, that they be considered together. Always at the forefront, NASA has begun to review Section 504 this way. This presentation, given by the NASA team that recently performed such a review, represents the future of Section 504.


Too often, accessibility problems are often seen as either traditional built environment accessibility issues or IT accessibility issues. This stove-piped approach creates problems because gaps where each group of specialists expect the problem to be solved by the other group. It also creates redundancies and wasted funds where resources could have been used to address gaps.

Recently, NASA conducted one of the first ever comprehensive Section 504 compliance reviews of IT and built environment accessibility. With IT impinging more and more on the built environment, program access under Section 504 requires this kind of combined approach. This review, presented by the NASA team that conducted the review, represents the future for this kind of review. Only by examining accessibility from completely both sides can an organization understand barriers on both sides and prioritize accessibility changes to achieve meaningful program access.


  1. How built environment and IT accessibility work together.
  2. What to expect in a NASA Section 504 compliance review.

Disability Areas

Topic Areas


Speaker Bio(s)

Ken Nakata

Ken Nakata is the one of the most well-known attorneys in the area of IT accessibility and is the Director of Cryptzone’s Accessibility Consulting Practice (ACP). His work focuses on Web and software accessibility from both a legal and technical perspective. Nakata’s ACP team helps organizations manage the change towards accessibility in all aspects, providing consulting services aimed at shaping their accessibility policies and practices, and evaluating the overall state of their Web properties leveraging the company’s accessibility solutions. Nakata worked for twelve years as a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. He has argued on behalf of the United States government many times before the federal courts and has helped shape the government’s policies for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Nakata also worked as Director of Accessibility and Government Compliance at BayFirst Solutions, a Washington, DC consulting firm.

Bob Cosgrove

Mr. Cosgrove has over 26 years’ experience in the Federally-assisted civil rights compliance programs across three Federal agencies. Mr. Cosgrove is the External Compliance Program Manager in NASA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Program Planning and Evaluation Division. He joined NASA in 2009 and has since reviewed a number of museums for compliance with Section 504 and Title VI of the Civil Right Act of 1964. Prior to joining NASA, Mr. Cosgrove performed external civil rights activities with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1999-2009. He served as FHWA’s National ADA/504 Coordinator from 2006-2008. Mr. Cosgrove was also a civil rights investigator with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights from 1990-1999. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, earning a B.A. in Political Science in 1987.

Bill Hecker

Bill Hecker, AIA is an architect licensed in Colorado, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama. He has specialized in accessible design for more than 25 years. As an expert witness/litigation consultant for the US Department of Justice in ADA cases for more than 20 years and as an ADA Consultant to numerous well-known companies, Bill has been at the forefront of facility compliance with federal accessibility laws. He is an Instructor in the Office of Executive Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and has been a co-presenter at accessibility workshops there since 1992. He was very persuasive as the primary ADA/504 expert witness for the defense in one of the largest ever “program accessibility” law suits to go all the way through trial in Kirola, et al. vs. San Francisco. He has also acted as expert witness for the defendants in ADA curb ramp law suits against the California Department of Transportation and City of Honolulu.

Jeffrey Singleton

Jeff Singleton has worked in evaluating and supporting software for over two decades. Jeff is the Senior Accessibility Solutions Consultant at Cryptzone. Jeff is skilled in the use of AT software such as screen readers, assistive input devices and screen magnification for validating and testing projects. Jeff Singleton also has an in depth knowledge of accessibility requirements and guidelines such as Section 508 and the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and how they apply to real world applications.