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State of Connecticut Web Site Accessibility Committee Our Approach to Making Online Government Accessible.

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Presentation on theme: "State of Connecticut Web Site Accessibility Committee Our Approach to Making Online Government Accessible."— Presentation transcript:

1 State of Connecticut Web Site Accessibility Committee Our Approach to Making Online Government Accessible

2 History of the State of Connecticuts Web Site Accessibility Policy Version 3.1 – December 1996 – Version 4.0 – July 2000 –

3 Version 3.1 Written in August 1996 Adopted in December 1996 Based on the TRACE Center Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines No training given to state webmasters Not rigorously enforced No compliance date set

4 Version 4.0 Committee formed in October, 1999 All Committee members are volunteers Policy written by Committee members in the Spring of 2000 Adopted on July 26, 2000 Incorporates the W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – Priority 1 Checkpoints – Encourages the use of valid HTML – Requires a valid DOCTYPE declaration Target date for compliance was January 2002

5 Timeline – or Why not Section 508? Version 3.1 – December 1996 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 – May 1999 – Version 4.0 – July 2000 – Section 508 Rules – February 2001 – –

6 Version 4.0 Implementation Communications – Web Site: – Listserv: Access-CT ibeform.htm ibeform.htm – Monthly face-to-face meetings open to all state webmasters

7 Version 4.0 Training Training provided to state webmasters – External – New Horizons – Fall, 2000 – Funded by the Department of Information Technology (DOIT) – Internal – All day Refresher course taught by Committee members – Fall, 2001 – Resources, Tools and Tutorials available on web site

8 Version 4.0 Testing Testing Center set up All hardware and software donated by state agencies Test Center Hardware: – PC running Windows 98 – Power Mac G4

9 Version 4.0 Testing (Continued) Test Center Software – Browsers/Emulators Internet Explorer Netscape(s) Opera Lynx WebTV Viewer – Bobby Worldwide – JAWS (PC), OutSpoken (Mac)

10 Compliance Tutorials written by Committee members – Six Steps to Accessibility Certification – How to run Bobby against large web sites – How to install the Lynx browser – How to code a default DOCTYPE in FrontPage – How to create Accessible PowerPoint presentations – How to create Accessible PDF documents

11 How to obtain Compliance Certification Agency webmaster writes to the Committee Chair requesting a site review Chair posts the request to the listserv A committee member volunteers to do the review The process is then taken off-list All communication is private, between the reviewer and the reviewee

12 Compliance Negotiation Occasionally, the Chair is called in during the process as an arbitrator, by either the reviewer or the reviewee: – Some webmasters use the compliance certification request as a way of finding out whats wrong with their site, instead of doing a preliminary assessment themselves – Differences of opinion – spirit of the law Most reviews have a successful outcome

13 Compliance Certification Site is certified to be compliant with the policy Webmasters place a compliance statement and a link to the policy on their site Webmaster and their agency head are presented with certificates at quarterly statewide webmaster meetings A list of all compliant (and non-compliant) web sites is available on our web site for all to see

14 The Pros and Cons of Policy vs. Law Funding Buy-in Training Compliance

15 Funding No funding for a Policy All goods and services are donated – Hardware – Software – Time Like Blanche DuBois, we depend on the kindness of strangers

16 Buy-in A Law leaves no doubt whether or not to comply A Law normally has funding attached Provides an avenue and redress for complaints

17 Training Training needs to be funded Training needs to be mandatory Training needs to be offered on an on-going basis – New hires – New technologies

18 Compliance A Law mandates compliance A Policy mandates compliance; however, – Scope is unclear different branches of government Internet vs. Intranet vs. Extranet Physical location of server (state server or vendor server) – Not a priority for agencies in an era of budget cuts – No penalty for non-compliance

19 External Issues Vendors Training Software

20 Vendors Difficult to find qualified consultants already on state contract Proposals submitted by vendors were unrealistic in terms of: – Hours – Scope of work – Dollar amount of the proposal Raised the questions: – Did the vendors really know what they were being asked to do? – Did they think we didnt know what we were asking for?

21 Vendor Training Problem solved in Connecticut by requiring vendors to be trained in how to make Accessible web sites Training was provided by the State at no cost to vendors Test center made available for use by vendors Committee web site and listserv available as resources for follow-up

22 Vendor Training Issues Billable hours – Vendors thought the State should pay for the time the consultant was in class – We said: We dont pay for your database training, accessibility training isnt any different – its a skill set required to qualify for a state contract Attitude – Some consultants walked into class with a low enthusiasm level – 99% walked out getting it and thanking us for the learning opportunity

23 Keys to Training Successes Webmasters must experience the barriers in a hands-on environment – Take them out of their comfort zone (out of their office, away from their PC) – Take away the mouse – Turn off the speakers – Turn off images Training can be effective in either a classroom environment or online

24 How did we do? Summer 2002 – 81 consultants representing 35 companies were trained in less than 3 months Winter 2004 – Vendors are asking for training for new hires so they can remain qualified – They are given a choice of Acceptable courses to choose from

25 Universal Web Site Accessibility Acceptable Training Programs HTML Writers Guild – Online Classes – Accessible Web Design: design.html design.html – Web Accessibility Techniques: echniques.html echniques.html Key-Logic: Universal Web Site Accessibility Training –

26 Universal Web Site Accessibility Acceptable Training Programs New Horizons Computer Learning Center – zons/hartford/windsor/ zons/hartford/windsor/ State of Connecticut – Universal Web Site Accessibility Training – – Phone: (860)

27 Software It is just as important that all people be able to author content as it is for all people to have access to it. – W3C Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines / / Questions to ask – Does the web page authoring tool create accessible web pages? – Is the web page authoring tool itself accessible to people with disabilities?

28 How to choose an Accessible Authoring Tool Conformance Reviews done by the WAI Authoring Tools Working Group: Section 508 Buy Accessible: useAction=Content&ID=2 useAction=Content&ID=2

29 What factors contributed most to our success? Committee participation is voluntary – Policy development – Writing tutorials – Web site reviews Support from DOIT: – Agreement to adopt a statewide IT policy – Funding for state webmaster training – Mandating vendor training

30 And, strange as it sounds … Change in the way state agencies communicate ( , web, listservs, etc.) – Information available faster and accessible to more people – Discussions held (and decisions made) online instead of waiting for a meeting – Greatly reduces bureaucracy – and things get done!

31 For more information Visit our web site: Subscribe to the Access-CT listserv: form.htm form.htm Come to a meeting: eetings.html eetings.html Send me an Call me: (860)

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