May 15, 2006

No Boundaries Logo

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

In Carmen's absent notes were taken by Bruce, thank you Bruce. The April meeting was not held, these notes are remnants of the April agenda. 


Accessible Documents/Effective Communications Policy
Committee Title (what is it/what should it be)
Subcommittee Updates
Other Business/Updates

Accessible Documents

Eric was not present therefore this discussion was postponed. Eric presented to the Technical Exchange forum and it seems to be acceptable. Suggestion was made to go to Web Coordinators and Web Masters for input but not to stall the process. Hold off on any announcements. Will be rolled out to all stakeholders once they are identified. Implementation is pending as time is needed for feedback.

A general discussion of the normal policy process and how to create one will be on the agenda for next month's meeting. Did we address all stakeholders who will implement and evaluate the success and/or compliance?  

Committee Name

After a brief discussion, the general consensus approved the name "Information Technology Accessibility Committee" (ITAC). This is how it appears in our Charter.

Subcommittee Reports

Web Subcommittee

At the Web Accessibility quarterly training 22 people attended. The training was given by Leigh, Alan and Kelly. There has been more movement to the State of Maine templates. All licenses for AccVerify are now in use. Good support from Hiawatha software was received. Tammy from Hi-Soft will visit during the June meeting. The new WC3 standards are due out soon and we can ask her about those items.

The next presentation is scheduled for July 17 or 24. It is intended to include a look at emerging technologies and why they are not accessible such as MP3 videos. There needs to be transcripts of these technologies. The original thought was two labs, one on Hi-Caption presented by Alan and the other on accessible Pod casts, assigned to Bruce.

There was a brief discussion of the visual checklist put together by Kim Wing.

Some agencies are not improving at all since the introduction of AccMonitor reporting by InforME. The quarterly reports issued are good justification of why visual checks are needed.

Paul and Kelly will examine the quarterly reports to find the ten least improved and after excluding those that are planning on migrating to the template, choose some of these and Ellen (and others) can work with them to get them going.

There was a discussion of the Web Coordinator job title designation. The tasks are currently done by a disparate pay ranges, from clerks to directors. Leigh suggested that we create the job descriptions, migrate those overqualified and then train those who are under qualified.

There should be some presentation education on accessibility to the AITDs. Web Coordinators should be the primary focus on web decisions to assure accessibility. We should link the AITDs with Web Coordinators so that accessibility is placed up front instead of after the fact.

Usability is also important and needs to be included in purchasing systems. It should be part of the RFP process and project management. This includes those projects led by consultants.

ITAC needs to keep communications open with the Project Management Office, AITDs, etc. Leigh will approach Mary Silva to get on the agenda for the Project Managers' meeting.

The Bureau of Human Resources' website has been subcontracted to InforME but is three months or more from completion. InforME will do the templates but not the content area. There will eventually be an automated and accessible online job application. HR may need some assistance from web masters/web coordinators once the templates are in place.

The visual/manual check list is unchanged from earlier discussions. This is a list of items that may pass Hi-Soft as verified but may not be correct, such as incorrect Alt-Text for images. Etc.

Membership Committee

We are looking at adding a member from DHHS for their expertise with cognitive issues. Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities need to be included and we will look for contacts through the Governor's new committee. Some seat 'adjustments' will be attempted with ISMG off and HR on.

We are looking at using the existing CIO awards program and adding accessibility as part of the nomination/award criteria. We can champion the award through the CIO's office. A third OIT award specifically for accessibility was discussed and that may be someone who is NOT a State of Maine employee.

Bruce agreed to talk to Michaela Loisel about getting accessibility into the manager's meetings. It is currently in the new employee orientation and we can possibly take that component as is.

No marketing person has been found to promote accessibility or ITAC.

Committees need to incorporate the transience of our elected/appointed officials into our infrastructure so that we don't go back to square one whenever elections are held. We may need to get legislation passed to prevent slips during 'lean' years.

Visibility Report

Two members have resigned. Tina Means does not feel she has the time to invest and Deirdre Schneider is returning to school. Bruce is open to suggestions for replacements.

Law Report

Floyd and Carolyn suggested the law as researched should be passed with a thumbs up/thumbs down vote. It approved, it should go to a Project Manager as opposed to being returned to the committee. Dick will let us know when a decision is made.

Telecommunications Report

NexTalk: Initially there were 40 to 60 logins per day but since users were trained it is now up to +/- 250 logins per day, suggesting the software is more utilized after training. There was discussion of hiring someone on a short term contract to provide one-on-one training with every user. There were some difficulties related to 'personalities' in MDOL. Eric will work to resolve the 'people issues'. There was also some discussion about setting up NexTalk to use the same login as Windows so it can be set to auto-launch and auto-login.

Floyd will discuss the idea of an intern specifically for NexTalk with Paul (user training). There is also the possibility of ITAC (us) paying for the training. Floyd and Pauline will pursue this if the intern idea is unsuccessful.

There was a brief discussion about the CSUN conference at which Floyd presented on NexTalk. There where 35 attendees and half a dozen or more had questions and expressed interest. Another presentation was Augmented and Alternative Communications but it was presented concurrently.

There was a brief discussion about open source and its potential impact on our work. (Massachusetts had decided to convert from Microsoft to open source.)

The next ITAC meeting will be June 19th.  


[Back To Meeting Minutes]