January 23, 2006

No Boundaries Logo

IT Accessibility Committee Meeting
Monday, January 23, 2006
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
COB - Conf Room 300

Pauline Lamontagne, Chair
Carolyn Bebee
Paul Sandlin
Kathy Powers
Floyd White
Ellen Wood
Eric Dibner
Bruce Prindall
Leigh Wilkinson
Val Wood
Alan Parks

In Pauline's absence, Carolyn will Chair this meeting.


Subcommittee Updates

  • Accountability
  • Awareness & Visibility
  • Internet/Intranet & Web Development
  • Membership
  • Telecommunications

Accessible Documents & Effective Communications Policy

Review/Discuss Charter

Other Business/Updates

  • BrowseAloud | ReadSpeaker
  • Annual Report
  • Going out to RFP for Accessibility Law for Maine State Government
  • CSUN Conference


Due to prior commitments the following members were excused from the meeting: Pauline Lamontagne, Ellen Wood, Bruce Prindall, and Val Wood. In Pauline's absence, Carolyn chaired the meeting.

Carolyn opened the meeting asking folks to introduce themselves, so done.

Subcommittee Updates

Accountability - Floyd

Floyd spoke with Lavana Snyder to see if she would consider serving as Project Manager should the CIO agree to move forward with an RFP for an Accessibility Law. The next step would be to present this to the CIO for his approval and funding needs. Also need to work on a scope of work which the Project Manager would be tasked with. The vendor would take the leadership role in bringing in the stakeholders.

A motion was made and seconded to send this recommendation to the CIO to set up a project (headed by Lavana Snyder) to go out to RFP for an accessibility law for Maine State Government. The motion was later amended to say the CIO or his Designee and to keep the IT Accessibility Committee involved in the loop.

The IT Accessibility Committee voted unanimously in support of the motion, so passed.

Awareness & Visibility - Kathy Powers

Kathy Powers reported on a project in the works to set up a contest with an award being given out for an accessible website

Internet/Intranet & Web Development - Alan Parks

The number one issue on the agenda was Browse Aloud. It has been difficult to get feedback from various groups who have tried Browse Aloud, difficult trying to get video instructions for Browse Aloud from the vendor, not much passion on the Committee or the groups that have been surveyed. It really is not a cost issue at this point. There is somewhat of an issue on installing and uninstalling the product, let's wait and see if the environment changes.

We could invite members of the user groups, in the spring, to a meeting for their feedback on what they would like to see.

Conclusion: This project will be tabled for the next 6-12 months but we will stay in contact with Browse Aloud and stay in touch with user groups.

E-Government Issues : There needs to be a "Toll Gate" set up to check websites before they go up live. There needs to be more training, look at sites that have the lowest rating; offer AccVerify training in March; have a session with the Agency Information Technology Directors (AITDs) to bring them up to date and make them more aware of the environment on expectations on web presents for their agency.

Would be good to set up a group meeting with the AITDs on accessibility; put this on the agenda with support from Dick Hinkley and Dick Thompson. Bring the issues forward to the AITDs and incorporate all of accessibility for websites and applications.

We need to create awareness at a high level on accessibility as it applies across all of state government. The AITDs need to know what the expectations of a Web Coordinator for websites are.

Conclusion: Paul Sandlin will work to pitch this to the AITDs.

Training : We are looking at WebAim for training resources, looking at purchasing training resources, free online training, and use what is out there. We are also looking to set up a pilot group on training. Have to find the right key to teach folks how to design accessible websites.

Work Plan for the coming year: Some of the tasks really belong to the E-Government group.

Website Performance Goals for the next 3-6 months: Work to come up with a goal for the next 3-6 months, set a goal and strive to make it. Do we want performance goal(s) per agency or overall? An overall goal would probably be easier to reach. Setting goals does go hand in hand with training and we need to target the AITDs first. What can we do to get some quick wins?

Membership - Carolyn

We have done a lot of work in moving forward for two accessibility awards; one for leadership and one team award. The plaques and certificates have been drafted, working on researching the process to use for nominations. Also need to research where and when we would present these awards.

Do we want to do something more specific with categories? A recommendation was made to research the NASCIO for a national award template and fit it into the generalized areas - mirror what is already there.

Conclusion : Carolyn will research NASCIO and bring information back to the Board at the February meetings.

Telecommunications - Eric Dibner

Currently, the charge for the group is not perfectly clear. Reporting on NexTalk, the call survey done by the University resulted in a high response for calls being answered. However, the process falls apart in the transfer process. Someone needs to answer the department's voice mail box. Calls were answered, transfers were made, calls goes to the department voice mail box and stays there. Currently we have 460 users on NexTalk.

Is it the charge of this committee to deal with captioning issues? It was noted that the Governor's State of the State address was not captioned. The Division of Deafness will be contacting the Governor's office to follow up on this issue. The IT Accessibility Committee agreed to support this issue for captioning.

Accessible Documents & Effective Communications Policy - Eric Dibner

A draft of the policy was distributed to all members of the Committee for their review and comment. There were some major responses from MEDOT and OIT/Policy and Strategic Planning office. Is it in the Committee's domain/jurisdiction; is it the responsibility of this Committee to address this issue?

The next steps to take are, how do we frame this? Policies do need to go through the OIT/Policy & Strategic Planning Office (David Blocher, Director; Tom Driscoll, Deputy Director).

Conclusions: It was agreed that accessible documents and effective communications for those with disabilities does fall within the scope of the IT Accessibility Committee . The Committee will support this project in relation to developing a policy, training and resources.

Eric send the policy to David Blocher and copy Tom Driscoll for further guidance/direction to keep this moving forward; include a cover letter stating that the IT Accessibility Committee is supporting this policy.

Committee members review the policy and get comments back to Eric. Kathy Powers will send to Barbara Keith. Is there anyone out of state that might be working on something like this?

Review and Discuss Charter

Does captioning fit under the preview of this group? What is information technology? Is it open access to everybody? Is it not meeting people's needs? The Charter is fine as it stands; it is hard to identify what IT really is and it is constantly growing. We need to know what we should be focusing on and work to prioritize. There is still a need to address software/application accessibility.

Other Business/Updates

CSUN Conference: Floyd White and Lisa Thompson will be attending the conference and MaineCite is supporting their attendance.

Annual Report: Kathy Record is working on completing a draft of the annual report by end of this week.

Agenda items for February meeting

Subcommittee Updates
Annual Report Draft
Follow up from Eric on policy
RFP for an accessible law

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