April, 2004

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IT Accessibility Committee Meeting Record

Date: April 26, 2004
Location: Cross Office Building Room 300

Carolyn Bebee
Pauline Lamontagne
Kathy Powers
Kathy Record
Jan DeVinney
Floyd White
Val Wood
Steve Sawczyn
Eric Dibner

1. Meeting date
3. Law on Accessibility discussion
4. Workplan for summer intern/s
5. Sub-committee updates
6. Office Assistant/Photocopier
7. Update on assigned tasks
8. Other
9. Set agenda for next meeting

Items for future consideration but not for next meeting
1. The library does not know which videos are descriptive, won't know which ones are captioned

Next meeting:
Date:, Monday May 24, 2004
Time: 1:00 - 4:00
Location: Cross Office Building Room 300

Topic (1): CSUN
Description: The attendees to the CSUN conference reported on many of the more interesting advances that are occurring in the field of accessibility. This international conference consisted of seminars that started at 8:00 in the morning, ending at 4:30 and included exhibits by approximately 300 vendors which were available until 9:00. Topics of interest that we reported on were Apple's new screen reader for Macs OSX which is in the process of development, Window Eyes with Citrix, the new features of Jaws, the ITTATC presentation on what other states are doing in designing standards, audio description, and IBM's software tool to identify their web pages.

Of special interest to the committee was Apple's screen reader, Spoken Interface, because Apple hardware/software is being used in Maine classrooms. Apple is looking for feedback from users involved with testing in order to incorporate their suggestions in the next release. The State is requesting four computers for four people to test and provide feedback to Apple. The Apple representative from California is willing come to Maine to do a demo. Decision/Conclusions:
Apple will do a demo for the IT Accessibility Committee

Topic (2): Work Plan for summer intern

Description: We have two interns coming for the summer. We discussed having them test web sites and work with agencies to improve sites. We also discussed the need to implement the recommendations made by the intern from last summer. Along with web pages, application programs should also be accessible. The first step in that process is to know what applications exist in each department and what applications are planned for the future. There is a portfolio management policy in the final stages of development. This policy will help with identifying projects and project managers. The concern is that putting the focus on applications will create a longer list of things to do and meanwhile no progress will be made on the recommendations from the intern's report from summer 2003.
Form a web sub-committee to prioritize and implement the recommendations made by the summer intern.
Contact the members and set a date for the committee meeting.

Topic (3) Sub committee updates
Description: The following committees provided updates.

Communications sub-committee TTY update: A letter was sent to all departments to ask which TTY's they want to keep. There has been a greater awareness of TTY's going unanswered because of the letter. Pauline suggested that more training should be required in order for the answering person knows when the incoming call is TTY or when it is relay. The project manager has run into some unexpected challenges and the technical support has been somewhat unresponsive. An additional challenge will be having the application work with thin clients. The next version of NexTalk will include video and we should investigate this. A process needs to be established to continually keep checking on use.

Membership sub-committee: The committee will ask Ellen Wood to join the accessibility effort.

Accountability sub-committee: The committee plans to include a letter and an accessibility standards form in the RFP's, then do a demo when the contract is agreed upon. The committee will also develop a survey to identify application programs that exist and are in development. It was agreed that it is the responsibility of the applications project manager to assure accessibility. Currently, focus is on new projects.
Investigate to ensure that Nextalk will work with Citrix and thin client.
Invite Ellen Wood to become a member of the IT Accessibility Committee and explain membership responsibilities.

Topic (4) Law for Maine on accessibility
Description: The committee discussed the purpose, advantages, and disadvantages of developing an accessibility law for the State of Maine.
Even if a law existed, the problem of enforcement still exists. It was suggested that what is really needed is legislative change to give the CIO more clout. We also need to provide an avenue to file a grievance. The comment was made that consumer organizations would like to have a law. It was suggested that we should solicit thoughts from the consumer groups. We first need to decide what we want a law to accomplish. An inquiry was made with the Maine Human Rights Commission who said web site accessibility did apply and they have never had a complaint about non-compliance. It was suggested that the web site should have a complaint form and one address where all complaints go.

Agenda for next meeting:
1. Apple demo
2. Work plan for the summer interns
3. Update on assigned tasks
4. Sub-committee updates
5. Other
6. Set agenda for next meeting

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