July 25, 2005

No Boundaries Logo

IT Accessibility Committee Meeting
Date:
Monday, July 25, 2005
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: COB - Conf Room 300

Members:

  • Pauline Lamontagne, Chair
  • Carolyn Bebee, Co-Chair
  • Kathy Powers
  • Kathy Record
  • Floyd White
  • Ellen Wood
  • Eric Dibner
  • Bruce Prindall
  • Leigh Wilkinson
  • Val Wood
  • Alan Parks

Guest:

  • Kim Wing, Intern
  • Lavana Snyder, OIT
  • Ellen Lee, CIO's Office

InforME RFP

Lavana Snyder, from the Office of Information Technology, and a member of the InforME RFP Team, gave an introduction and background information regarding the upcoming NEI contract expiration ( July 2006) and the need to write a new Request for Proposal to go out to bid in early fall. The current governance structure of InforME is:

InforME Structure


To help the InforME Team in writing the RFP, some of the questions presented to the IT Accessibility Committee (ITAC) for their input included: 1) what needs to be included in the RFP to make sure accessibility issues are covered, 2) what should Maine's E-Government look like 3-6 years from now, and 3) how can we make sure that Maine's E-gov initiative can adapt to customer accessibility and industry accessibility changes over time.

Members of the ASC acknowledged their appreciation to the InforME Team for giving them this opportunity. Also, the Committee asked to be part of the Review Committee. Members were invited to attend other upcoming meetings, e-mail questions/concerns to the InforME team, or set up a one on one interview session. The members of the InforME Team are: Dick Hinkley, OIT; Rachel Garippa, OIT; Lavana Snyder, OIT; and Lisa Leahy, SPO.

Other Business

Browsealoud: Ellen Wood shared the information about Browsealoud and its capabilities and that the plug-in was free to users. It has been put on top of the maine.gov site for a trial testing period until the end of December. Link to the website is: http://www.browsealoud.com/home.asp . The software will highlight the words and read it. This is a good tool for folks with cognitive disabilities. Ellen will send the Committee all the information she has on this tool.

Upcoming Annual Retreat: The Accessibility Annual Retreat will be held on Monday, September 12, 2005 from 8:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Pine Tree State Arboretum in the Viles Conference Room. Morning brunch and afternoon lunch will be provided, arrangements to be set up by Carmen. Subcommittee Chairs need to put together a summary of their accomplishments and goals for the retreat.

Federal Assistive Technology Act http://www.nau.edu/~ihd/aztap/atact.shtml : Kathy Powers reported on the funding of MaineCite with a condition being they provide a 3-year plan. The plan will include IT accessibility. The plan is due August 26.

August meeting: The August meeting will include a demo from Apple from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. at the Cross Building in Conf Room 541 (will need to sign up with the Receptionist). The IT Accessibility Committee will be in Room 300 from 2:00 - 4:00 in Conf Room 300. Another item agenda for the August meeting will be an update of Browsealoud.

Internship Report Update and Recommendations

Kim Wing thanked the Committee for giving her the opportunity to work with them. Kim is still gathering information from users for their input to include in her final report. In putting her report together, Kim has also reviewed the past Committee's annual reports. Kim commented on the commendable accomplishments to include:

  • The state's new website templates,
  • Designation of Web Coordinators and Web Masters to provide structure, organization, and accountability,
  • Training and resources such as webmasters online resources, monthly web master and coordinator meetings, quarterly accessibility meetings, and HiSoft verification software,
  • Evaluation of websites provides a means of measurement and quantifies efforts for management and agency analysis, and
  • Continued employment of interns provides needed assistance in this endeavor along with fresh perspectives.

Kim also talked about items that need a follow through such as the Web Coordinator and Web Master Directory and the MIST newsletter. Some work plan items that have not been implemented are quarterly publications discussing what other states are doing in the area of web accessibility, informing senior management levels of the endeavor and need for accessibility, and State of Maine Best of The Web accessibility competition.

Some of Kim's recommendations included:

  • Need to encourage individuals/agencies on their efforts. Can do brief articles and/or e-mail to those on list serve or all State employees.
  • Inform people of what other states are doing with web accessibility to bring attention to our efforts, or enlighten people on other things we could implement.
  • Need to reach agencies/individuals in further regions of the state.
  • Need an individual who can go among the people to discuss their needs and concerns in order to provide training that is most needed and useful.
  • Monthly webmaster and coordinator meetings need to be addressed. Large and diverse group of people with varying levels of expertise; therefore meetings offer bits and pieces.
  • Must market the forum on the InforME Webmasters Gallery.
  • Try to contact disability community for assistance or feedback.
  • Recruit individuals to be part of a team to provide accessibility training whether it is at sites, or group hands on training.

In finalizing her report, Kim will research users' feedback, opinions, and suggestions. She will evaluate the status of MIST and its continuance, review access to the online Forum, and research previous contacts to disable community leaders.

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