November 17, 2009

No Boundaries Logo

IT Accessibility Committee Meeting
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Frances Perkins Room @ Central Me. Commerce Ctr.

Members Present: Eric Dibner, Henry Quintal, Bruce Prindall, John Mc Mahon, Leah Smith, John Shattuck, Floyd White (via telephone), Pauline Lamontagne, Kathy Powers, Steve Campana

Absent: Paul Sandlin and Katrina Beaudoin, Doug Byrd

1. TORQ: brief review of this program and the inaccessibility issues it has. Steve stated accessibility issues will be included in all software applications. This accessibility document will be used moving forward. They will be asking for the most recent accessibility certification that was done with various software. Steve will show us a spreadsheet of all programs in the future.

Eric reported on a meeting with BRS administration and the Commissioner regarding our inability to affect the use of TORQ on inaccessibility issues. Commissioner stated she did not know this was available to the public. The agreement was that this would only be an internal program to CWRI. We have not yet heard anything from the Commissioner since that meeting. We continue to also have concerns over its use even on an internal basis.

Eric has since contacted the company who makes TORQ, and was told that they are working on making it accessible by the end of the first quarter of 2010. Eric offered our assistance in this endeavor if they would like it. Kathy suggested a follow-up email to reinforce and thank him for this effort, and to let him know we will be contacting him in January to see how the work is going. Floyd reminded us that the big issue here is that there was no contract written up front that outlined the accessibility standards. BRS staff will continue to remind their Director to follow-up on this issue with the Commissioner. Floyd will remind Art Henry to have a conversation with Dick Thompson about this accessibility issue.

There is no formal process to screen every software purchase so it needs to be caught during the contracting process. Floyd stated this isn't just a screen reader issue, but that it also covers speech recognition and video captioning. The testing with a screen reader is a great way to test because it encompasses probably the most difficult access issue. Steve and Floyd agreed to get together to discuss the accessibility testing approach for software. Pauline stated that Dick Thompson felt that Steve's involvement is critical to evaluation process as he is involved in the contracting part of software purchase. Steve stated someone from his office will be at the ITAC meetings.

2. Peter Bossie is the person in OIT who will be updating the ITAC web site. Our membership list will get updated, and notes will be placed there, as well. Only Committee members will be included on the list. Regular Committee contributors will not be added.

3. Meeting schedule: Moving the time to 1 to 3 will work better for Steve Campana and Henry Quintal. Committee agreed that this was accessible. Folks like the Francis Perkins Room location. Bruce will send out a list of dates so we can accommodate state shutdown dates. Floyd stated we should have Mary Silva, who is the Director of Project Management, and is over Steve. Committee agreed. Mary used to staff this Committee for Dick Thompson. Floyd also suggested that maybe someone from the ITAC should attend one of their Project Managers meetings. Floyd will follow up on this idea with Mary.

4. Subcommittees vs. work groups: Bruce feels that work groups have a definite topic and are short-term in duration, whereas a sub committee is more ongoing. Pauline stated we should have a combination of these, depending on the topic. Work on video phones, for example, was a great use of a work group. Either way, the work being done needs to be documented so it can be followed, and so they can easily be moved into the Annual Report. Web sub committee will be completing an accessibility cheat sheet for how to make documents accessible. Floyd recommends that a skip to content link should be part of this too.

He will send us some information on these links. John Shattuck suggested we have a sub committee that will work on an Executive summary on what the ITAC has done in order to educate the next administration. We should be looking at this through the entire history of the ITAC. Kathy recommended having a targeted timeline to have a rough draft done soon. Kathy and Floyd should be part of this work group because they have been around since the group's inception. Much of this is already written, but outcomes and accomplishments from the last two years have not been included, as well as systemic achievements.

Members should find whatever they can find about these accomplishments and outstanding issues, and bring them to our next meeting in December. Committee agreed that we should review all waivers for accessibility being asked for in purchasing software. Making the ITAC part of this process before a new administration comes in is a good idea. We wouldn't be looking for the authority to approve the waiver, but certainly the ability to make a recommendation. The waivers should be time limited.

5. Revisiting the ITAC Charter: Our Charter does not include some of the accessibility policies that came about afterward (much of which we wrote). Kathy suggested we all look at the Charter to see if it still makes sense, do we need to include other things? Committee agreed to do this and bring back to discuss next month.

6. The meeting with Dick Thompson, Tom Howker, and appropriate ITAC members has yet to occur. Dick suggested we hold this meeting. Pauline had tried to set this meeting up a few times with no success. Floyd stated that Tom is in charge of all software contracts for OIT. Tom decides whether a product meets our state standards, one of which is accessibility. This meeting will be educational in nature. This would help us better understand their process, and Tom can learn what part we play in the process. Bruce will make contact with Tom. John S. suggested we let him know we are following up on Dick Thompson's recommendation.

7. Bruce reviewed the "to do" list for our next meeting.