May 23, 2005

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IT Accessibility Committee Meeting Notes
Monday, May 23, 2005
COB - Conference Room 300

Members:

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

Guest

  • Kim Wing, Summer Intern

Next Meeting:

Date: Monday, June 27, 2005
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Cross Office Building Room 300

Prior to opening the meeting for business, Pauline asked Kathy to introduce the new Summer Intern, Kim Wing and for those present at the meeting to introduce themselves to Kim, so done.

Agenda Item #1: Updates from the Subcommittees

TEMPLATE TRAINING : Leigh reported on the status of the State of Maine Web Template training. Classes will begin in two weeks.

ACCESSIBILITY LAW DEVELOPMENT & NEXTALK

Floyd reported on the Accessibility Law Development (ALD) and NexTalk. The ALD Committee has completed interviews with Cynthia Waddell and Mike & Neal from California in relation to the CA accessibility law. One of the important points brought out during these interviews was; you can have policies, standards, and laws in place, however, you must have accountability, enforcement, and an implementation plan in place in order for policies, standards, and law to work effectively. The ALD will be meeting to work on putting together recommendations for an accessibility law for the State Of Maine . They will bring their recommendations before the IT Accessibility Committee by July 1 for review and final decision to go forward, or not, with a law.

Should the decision be made to move forward with a law, it is important that stakeholders are involved in the process from the very beginning. Stakeholders include end users, other agency staff, and others internal to state government.

For the NexTalk update, Floyd noted that the Dept. of Labor was up and running with a few "small fires" that were put out. The biggest problem was Verizon dropping the ball when converting telephone numbers. The NexTalk folks will be meeting to address issues that need to be resolved. The next agency to go on line will be the Department of Health and Human Services. A lot of work and organization is taking place prior to putting DHHS on line.

Kathy Record brought into the discussion for NexTalk that a policy is needed. Using information from Eric, Kathy is putting together a policy she will send to the entire IT Accessibility Committee via E-mail for review/comments. Once the policy is final, it will be presented to the CIO for approval.

WEB SUBCOMMITTEE

Ellen reported that Kelly from InforME has been running HiSoft Software used to test accessibility of websites. They are working to see if the software can be run quarterly rather than monthly and dealing with some issues to get it to run smoothly. People are moving their websites over to the new templates which is a huge process to convert. Training for HiSoft has resulted in 40 to 43 licenses being issued, training has been excellent, and has increased the communication level.

EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) :

Ellen reported on the presentation she will be putting together for a global webcast from the EASI website http://www.rit.edu/~easi/ . The presentation will be about one hour and will be set up at InforME. Invitations will be sent out to the University of Maine and the Governor. The webcast site address will be e-mailed out to folks to allow them to listen in. This will be a good marketing tool for folks to learn about what the State of Maine is doing in the accessibility arena for E&IT information.

State Web Coordinators

Kathy Record reported that every department has assigned a primary Web Coordinator (WC). All WCs will have to register and register the web masters within their department. The first Web Coordinators meeting was held last week. At their next meeting, the Web Coordinators will focus on setting up a management plan and reviewing HiSoft reports. The registration process has been a great investment and worth it to get the accessibility communication out there. WCs that have not registered will be contacted to do so. Also noted, was the need for a clear definition of the Web Coordinator role.

Membership Subcommittee

Carolyn reported the members had not met for a couple of months but working is ongoing doing housekeeping things, working on certificates and awards for the annual accessibility meeting, and marketing for the Governor's office. A new employee has been hired in the Department of Labor that will be using a screen reader and helping us with accessibility within state government. Every new step the new employee goes through will help with improving accessibility. This will allow us to address accessibility issues at the onset.

Leigh noted that the Bureau of Human Resources is working to make all materials available on a screen reader and could also convert to Braille.

Decisions/Conclusions:

  • Leigh report outcome of the class at the June 27 meeting.
  • Accessibility Law Development Committee prepare recommendation for a law and bring to the IT Accessibility Committee by July 1, 2005.
  • Floyd report on the status of DHHS going live with NexTalk at the June meeting.
  • Kathy send out NexTalk policy to the IT Accessibility Committee for review/comments.
  • Finalize the NexTalk policy and present to the CIO for approval.
  • Ellen report back on the EASI presentation - June meeting

Agenda Item #2: Accessibility Charter

The five points for the Accessibility Charter were reviewed. Also noted was section C of the CIO Council Charter (below). With this language already in the CIO Council charter, the question was raised whether or not the Committee needs to formalize who they report to.

The Committee currently reports to the Information Services Policy Board (ISPB). As of July 1 the legislation authorizing the ISPB will be repealed, therefore, the Board will no longer exist. It was agreed the Committee should report directly to the CIO. This would provide positive results rather than reporting to a group of people (CIO Council). Changes to the Charter need to be sent to Pauline or Kathy Record by end of this week. Kathy and Pauline will prepare a draft charter (with changes as needed) and send to the entire Committee before the June meeting for review. Once finalized, the Charter will be presented to the CIO for approval.

C. Council Committees and Sub-Committees

Council subcommittees and work groups will provide recommendations to the CIO Council on technical and operational issues for statewide information technology implementation, coordination and integration.

The CIO Council is the chartering group for the following committees:

  • Information Systems Managers Group (ISMG),
  • IT Accessibility Committee

Decisions/Conclusions:

  • Send Charter changes to Pauline & Kathy by end of this week.
  • Pauline and Kathy prepare charter, send to Committee for review before June meeting
  • At the June meeting finalize Charter and present to the CIO for approval

Agenda Item #3: Marketing Accessibility in the State of Maine

Some recommendations for marketing accessibility in the State of Maine included:

  • EASI global presentation
  • Presentation at the next CSUN International Conference
  • Article for the Accessibility Magazine http://www.computer.org/computer/homepage/0904/WebTech/
  • Publication on the Maine Cite website (Kathy Powers will check on when papers are due for the next publications)

Agenda Item #4: Other Business

Items for discussion:

  • Annual Meeting (when, where, etc) Conclusion: Will set up date/location at the June meeting
  • Kim Wing (summer intern) Conclusion: Kathy prepare work plan for Kim
  • Waivers: only two non-accessibility waivers have been granted to date; GIS and ESS

The ESS waiver is temporary as a whole new system will be designed in a couple of years. Floyd noted a third waiver for non-accessibility is forthcoming, an add-on to the ESP system. This is a backend application at a technical level. Again it was brought to the Committee's attention that the state does include contract language for accessibility in its RFPs and contracts. However this language is not part of web design contracts and should be.

Val Wood talked about the Project Management Office being set up that will be reviewing projects over $250,000 and accessibility will be built into the process. These projects will get review for accessibility.

Role for the Committee in the accessibility waiver process

Following an extensive discussion, the Committee agreed that Kathy would share accessibility waiver requests with the IT Accessibility Committee. If the waiver is granted there needs to be a reasonable accommodation implemented. There also needs to be some accountability included in the process and follow up.

Tiger http://www.apple.com/

Kathy Powers reported on the new "Tiger" Apple Corporation product which can be used with screen readers. There was a beta testing of the product and it was released on April 29. The new operating system will be made a part of the Ibooks currently being used by school students all over Maine . The Dept. of Education and Apple will be hosting a demonstration of the new operating system in the near future. The Committee agreed to have Steve do a demonstration for the IT Accessibility Committee at the June meeting.

Decisions/Conclusions :

  • Kathy will check with Steve and set this up.

Agenda Items for the June 27 meeting

Carolyn was asked to Chair this meeting. Pauline will not be able to attend.

  • Demonstration/Q&A on Apple's "Tiger" product - 25 minutes
  • Finalize Charter - 15 minutes
  • Annual Meeting - set up data/location - 15 minutes
  • Marketing Accessibility - 15 minutes
  • Updates = 10 Minutes Each
  • Template Training Class - Leigh
  • Accessibility Law Development & NexTalk - Floyd
  • EASI global presentation - Ellen
  • Membership - Carolyn
  • NexTalk Policy - Kathy

 

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