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1 2 Consider This… Right now someone is likely to be Tweeting about your company. Right now someone is likely to be blogging about.

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Presentation on theme: "1 2 Consider This… Right now someone is likely to be Tweeting about your company. Right now someone is likely to be blogging about."— Presentation transcript:

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2 2 Consider This… Right now someone is likely to be Tweeting about your company. Right now someone is likely to be blogging about your services. Right now someone is likely to be talking about us – here at the USBLN event – in an online social forum. NEWS FLASH!

3 3 Intro – Why Im Here My name is Debra Ruh, Founder and CEO of TecAccess And right now, Im Tweeting about you on my Blackberry! Today were going to talk about the power of social media and what this means for people with disabilities and businesses wishing to hire and do business with people with disabilities.

4 4 But What Really is Social Media? Social Media, also known as Web 2.0, is a category of sites that are based on user participation and user- generated content. They include social networking sites such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc. NEWS FLASH!

5 5 But What Really is Social Media? Continued… Social Media, which is essentially an umbrella term, represents numerous activities that integrate: o Technology o Telecommunications o Social interaction o And the construction of words, pictures, video, and audio NEWS FLASH!

6 6 What Really Makes it POP? From a behavioral standpoint, it is clear to see why there has been tremendous growth in social media – including social networking sites and web platforms. The viral nature of their design makes it pop! Earlier versions of the Web were more passive and encouraged only downloading, whereas the new applications are more interactive and dynamic, encouraging users to be more involved.

7 7 What Does This Mean for You? Corporations, government agencies, educational institutions and non-profits are just beginning to realize that their consumers expect to encounter and interact with their favorite brands, governmental services, educational institutions, politicians, and policy makers through social media. The shared knowledge and collaboration between consumer and brand is sticky, addicting, and like it or not – here to stay.

8 8 The Big Picture Nielsen Online shows that: Social Media is now the 4th most popular online activity ahead of personal . Member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population, time spent is growing at 3 times the overall internet rate (Nielsen Online).

9 9 The Social Media Boom This maps shows Facebook sweeping across the globe from the West.

10 10 The Social Media Boom continued… Within this growing segment, the average Facebook user in June 2009, for example, spent close to 4.5 hours (Nielsen Ratings) on the platform. That's over an hour more than the average user spent using Yahoo.

11 11 Not Just for Kids General Growth of Facebook tells the Story… More than 250 million active users More than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older Average user has 120 friends on the site More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide) More than 30 million users update their statuses at least once each day More than 8 million users become fans of Pages each day More than 1 billion photos uploaded to the site each month More than 10 million videos uploaded each month More than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week More than 2.5 million events created each month More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site

12 12 What/Who is Around the Corner? People with disabilities -- thats who! Why exclude the largest and fastest growing minority group from the social media boom?

13 13 Whats Around the Corner continued… Social Media technology has opened up the world to people with disabilities. Future projections of the emerging social media landscape indicate that the continuing evolution of technology will produce internet and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. This technology is driven by human interaction, among people with and without disabilities, and the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities.

14 14 Whats Around the Corner continued… Personal computers (PCs) and assistive technology for people with disabilities are improving fast. The number of people with disabilities wishing to learn to use Social Media is increasing year by year. Businesses, organizations, and communities are now implementing very simple and cost effective strategies to include people with disabilities in their social media campaigns in anticipation of setting themselves apart – creating a market differentiator.

15 15 The Future… Due to advancements in Social Media technology, people with disabilities can access information, participate in society and contribute to community life for the first time in history without ever having to leave their homes. Mobility and other barriers to interaction do not preclude inclusion any longer. These breakthroughs promise major increases in the quality of life of millions of individuals throughout the world.

16 16 The Future… A recent study by Forrester Research shows that over 60% of Baby Boomers report using some form of social media. As the 76 million Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, many amongst this vast population will develop age-related disabilities, making technology that facilitates communication more and more critical. This demographic will therefore continue to seek out social networks eagerly in order to remain engaged and connected to society.

17 17 BUT, Heres the Rub… While tremendous potential lies ahead for people with disabilities utilizing social networking, a growing concern exist over the accessibility of such technology. Web sites, including those based on Social Media, that are neither user friendly or fully accessible will suffer a tremendous decrease in hits and popularity.

18 18 Whats at Risk? Organizations, campaigns, and brands that do not comply to accessibility standards on both traditional websites and now in the social networking arena risk brand damage, legal recourse, and decreased market share. Now is an exciting time as new technological advancements exponentially build upon one another. Social networking websites present a great opportunity for people with disabilities to form relationships and interact with a broad spectrum of people across the globe. Yet social networking sites have not fully developed policies of accessibility best practices.

19 19 As the popularity of Social Media increases among the federal sector, agencies utilizing social networks, such as Facebook, at an official capacity will have to comply with Section 508 Accessibility requirements. Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies a) develop, b) procure, c) maintain, or d) use electronic and information technology (EIT), Federal employees with disabilities must have comparable access to and use of information and data as Federal employees without disabilities (unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency). Example: Federal Agencies

20 20 While the use of many social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, is free, agencies making use of this technology or other organizations using Section 508 as a best practices are not always complying with the standards if they are using technology that is not compliant. Example: Federal Agencies continued…

21 21 Because of the dynamic nature of social media, and its reliance on user-generated content, social platforms are increasingly difficult for computer users with disabilities to navigate. For example, a text equivalent should be provided for every non-text element (e.g., alt, longdesc, or in element content) on a web site. On Facebook, however, the user interface often lacks text equivalents, such as descriptive alt tags for informative images (like rating stars) and for linked images. What Are the Challenges Ahead?

22 22 Example of missing alt tag from image: Example: Facebook Frames and iframes on Facebook also are missing names, or title attributes. Frames should be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation for people with disabilities.

23 23 Other Examples: CAPTCHA Another challenge experienced by people with disabilities using social networks includes CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart). Many web sites with resources that are attractive to aggregators or other forms of automation (such as weblogs, web-based , and message boards) use CAPTCHA for security purposes.

24 24 Other Examples: CAPTCHA CAPTCHA uses the graphical representations of text, in registration or comment areas of websites, in attempt to verify that the computer user accessing the site is a human. To prove this, CAPTCHA requires the user to read a distorted set of characters from an image and then enter those characters into a form. This visual and textual verification has increased security online, but at the same time creates a barrier for computer users who are blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic. Most social networks use some form of CAPTCHA and at times make it impossible for people with certain disabilities to create accounts, join a social network, write comment on a message board, make contribution to a campaign, or make purchase online.

25 25 Other Examples: CAPTCHA To alleviate this problem some social networks now offer another non-textual method of using the same content. For example, some sites provide a sound file that can be listened to if the visual verification is not suitable for the user. However, many computer users with disabilities report that the sound output, which is itself distorted to avoid the same programmatic abuse, is often unintelligible, even for those with good hearing. Additionally, the sound output option is not effective for those computer users who are deaf-blind, or a person who simply does not have or use a sound card, a sound plug-in, or works in noisy environments. Sound Output/Accommodation

26 26 Despite these challenges, people with disabilities, just as people without disabilities, have found tremendous value in social media and have therefore at times found or created their own work around solutions to participate online. Evidence of this is demonstrated by numerous groups created on Facebook including Blind Students on Facebook, and The Gift Shop is Now Open…for Everybody, which provides an accessible version of the Gift Shop app. But, Theres Good News

27 27 People with disabilities have also reported positive experiences with Facebook when presenting customer service teams with accessibility issues. For example, some people with disabilities report that Facebook has contacted them (approximately 5 hours after reporting) to help in the sign-up process when the visual verification process used during registration was inaccessible. But, Theres Good News continued…

28 28 Facebook is well known for trying to accommodate the visually impaired and has been working with disability organizations, such as The American Federation for the Blind, for the past two years. But, Theres Good News continued… Facebook has demonstrated a willingness to help, yet each redesign completely changes the platform and they are forced to start again with accessibility initiatives.

29 29 You can make your organizational profiles and Fan pages on social networking sites more accessible. For instance, add descriptive captions to uploaded photos so users with screen readers can know their contents. Captions and transcripts also should be added to homemade videos. YouTube, a video sharing website used for not only personal use but also business and political campaigns, has begun allowing users to close caption their videos. What Can You Do?

30 30 Additionally, markup should be included in blog entries, such as surrounding headings with heading tags and group bulleted items with list elements. Facebook and MySpace have links within their blog applications to help users include markup in their posts. Use StaticFBML to update your Fan Page code on Facebook to use such text-to-speech programs as BrowseAloud. Provide contact information to request alternative formats. On Twitter use apps like to tweet. What Can You Do? Continued…

31 31 New Possibilities! With new technology there are new possibilities – and appropriately, people with disabilities are leading this change.

32 32 Full Inclusion! Burgeoning technology that promises full accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities is on the horizon in the foreseeable future. Yet this goal will not be accomplished until fully accessible Web sites/Social Media, Assistive Technology (AT), browsers and software are designed and implemented.

33 33 Education is Key! Although social networking sites by their very nature intend to offer inclusion, they still fall short. We must continue to strive for best practices to be adopted by WC3C users at every level. Education will continue to be a large part of this.

34 34 Spread the Word! Accessibility 2.0 and Accessible Social Media will become common terminology. Web and software development should be contextual, focusing on end users and the nature and goals of the tasks at hand. The best long term approach will emphasize creativity and diversity rather than conformity.

35 35 Its Up to You! As businesses, government agencies, schools, and political campaigns make use of Social Media technology, it will become increasingly important that every effort is made to make social networking more user-friendly to computer users with disabilities and age related challenges.

36 Find Your Path! Find your path, and lead by example. Get involved in the social media industry Educate others about accessible solutions for people with disabilities on social platforms Stay at the cutting edge 36

37 Promote Accessible Social Media! Whenever possible, evaluate new and existing technology o Promote its development Spread its availability! o See to it that assistive technologies penetrate the tiniest recesses of the disability provider system. 37

38 Empower Yourself! Bridge the gap between the academic, economic, technology, and social media worlds. Work in tandem with people with and without disabilities. Empower yourself and your co-workers with, and without, disabilities. 38

39 39 Contact Debra Ruh Founder & CEO TecAccess Rockville Commerce Center Building A, Unit Granite Ridge Road Rockville, VA Phone: (804) Fax: (804) SOME OF OUR SERVICES: Section 508 Compliance Assessment Planning Accessibility Testing Training Engineering and Reengineering Services Assistive Technology and Access Interfaces Focus Groups And much more!

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