September 18, 2006

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Members in Attendance
Pauline Lamontagne, Chair
Carolyn Bebee
Paul Sandlin
Kathy Powers
Floyd White
Ellen Wood
Eric Dibner
Leigh Wilkinson
Alan Parks
Guest
Mary Cloutier

Agenda Item 1: Approval of the Draft Accessible Documents and Effective Communication Policy and Standards

The Committee members reviewed the draft document and the following questions/concerns were discussed.

Timeframe of 10 days to produce documents: It was noted it could take less time or more time pending the situation/task that needs to be completed. The timeframe could be changed to "in a timely manner or as soon as practicable". There was a concern that changing it could result in not getting the work completed. Also, if 10 days is not enough time the parties involved could negotiate for more time as needed.

Resolution : It was agreed to leave the 10-day timeframe in and track to see what happens.

Paul introduced Mary Cloutier and noted that Mary would be working with him to complete some of the ITAC tasks such as writing the annual report and other duties as needed. Mary proceeded to give a brief background of her skills in developing policies and laws.

Section 4 of the Standards "Electronic Slide Presentations and Learning Tools": Eric shared the minor changes made to this section. A concern regarding listing specific tools was discussed to remove all the tools and make reference to the State Web Masters list with current tools. A recommendation was made to move all accessibility stuff into a public folder. There was also a discussion on including links or how to procedures in the policy. A recommendation was made to use only the top level of a link in the policy.

It was noted that Best Practices can be revised without going through the entire process but would need to let the Policy & Strategic Planning folks know. New Best Practices can be added and old ones removed.

Eric noted the Disability Related Resources maintained by the Dept. of Labor are being worked on to get them on the web.

Mary explained the process of draft policies going out for vetting. Draft policies, etc. go out for vetting to the proper people; given a deadline for comments, the comments are incorporated into the document and the draft is brought to the CIO for his/her review. A record is kept for comments that are not incorporated into the policy and why. After CIO review the draft is sent out to the IT Executive Committee and the CIO Council for their review/comment. These comments are also reviewed and incorporated as needed. The CIO can provisionally adopt the policy at his/her discretion.

A recommendation was made to have Eric place the word "Draft" across the center of every page of the policy.

Mary also suggested that the ITAC members think about who is going to enforce the policy (who does what and where are the resources).

Eric noted that everything that is in the policy is in the 508 law; the policy does require implementation, training, keeping resources up to date and needs management responsibility.

Paul noted that the policy does have education and enforcement.

Resolutions:

  • add "Draft" in the center of every page
  • leave in 10 business days
  • take out reference to specific tools
  • Eric work with Ellen and others to delete specific references and put them into some other document
  • Work with InforME to make the Webmaster Resource Center available to interested parties.

The Committee members agreed they were ready to approve the draft policy today and did so. Eric noted nothing will be sent out until shared with the ITAC.

Mary briefly talked about the "Policy Template" Carmen is designing for folks to use when writing policies. The template is being worked on to make accessible. Carmen was asked to send the new template to Leigh and Ellen for their review/comments.

Agenda Item 2: Subcommittee Updates

Pauline asked that folks give a brief update on their subcommittee work. These updates will be followed by reports from each subcommittee on what has been accomplished and what the goals are or what needs to be done for the coming year. This information will be incorporated into the 2006 ITAC annual report.

A question was asked regarding the start date of the annual report with a response of September to September.

NexTalk: Floyd reported the one-on-one training for NexTalk being done by Jennifer is moving along very well. Once the training is completed a list will be gathered and work to take further action on folks refusing to use the product. It was noted the DHHS does have a constant turnover of users. The current NexTalk system does not have tools for monitoring. However, the upgrade will provide monitoring tools. Floyd is testing the upgrade product which does need some improvements in relation to screen readers. Accessibility is not good with the new upgrade but most of the upgrade is better. An evaluation server is in place.

Eric gave a brief history on the Dept. of Labor's use of NexTalk and calls not being answered. Part of the issues is organization of phone lines and the need for management to be involved with users not responding to the NexTalk calls. There are two issues here, managing and technical. A question was asked about making it a job requirement noting that this would be rather difficult to accomplish as the Union would have to be involved.

It was noted this may be a change management issue; where is the real resistance; should a new NexTalk group be setup to research the NexTalk users that are not responding to these calls.

Floyd noted that he and Lisa should not be involved in a management role.

How much more work does Jenny have to do? She works 32 hours a week; has about half of the allotted funding left. Using a check list, Jenny calls the users and sets up training sessions. Some users are saying they do not want to use the system.

Concerns Raised : What will be the results of this training project? All "Users" will have been trained. Are we using the money effectively? Will there be a list available of folks who have been contacted and trained? If someone leaves an agency are they assigning a new person?

NexTalk information for the 2006 ITAC Annual Report:

  • Move forward on testing the upgrade and implement
  • Training has been done
  • Set up new NexTalk group to deal with human issues
  • TTY group could be reconvened to see where we are now and look at the human issues
  • What are the real issues and what can be done? Reconvene the TTY group

A recommendation was made to write up a report and present it to the CIO and the IT Executive Committee.

Membership: Carolyn reported that someone from DHHS is going to be interviewed to serve on the ITAC. Paul was asked to send out the nomination materials for the IT awards.

Subcommittee Chairs were asked to write up their annual report and send it to Paul electronically. Paul will review last year's report and the format used.

Internet, Intranet, Web Development Subcommittee: Ellen reported on each goal with action steps taken. Personnel (around web directory) became part of the OIT E-Gov and InforME functions. Accessibility of all State of Maine websites, for the most part, agencies were and are improving. Progression of improvement has been from 21% to 39% per AccMonitor; improvement has been 18% over the last year.

Training on HiSoft - we had training on common mistakes and how to fix them. Working with E-Gov on a Website Acceptance Policy; designed and presented a manual web accessibility evaluation to the Web Coordinators/Masters and is available for use.

Resources: Renamed Public Resources - focuses on end users having more resources to improve accessibility; will not recommend a tool when web browsers may offer a similar tool for free.

Tools: Renamed Agency Tools - looking at future agency tools for the Web Coordinators; Updated AccMonitor and AccVerify.

Training: work to meet the needs of all agencies for Dream weaver; trained on using the state template; work on a survey designed by Leigh; research online accessibility tutorials; work on guidelines for more accessible Microsoft Word documents for ease and efficiency of moving to the web.

Goals: Personnel: support OIT E-Gov Services and InforME to maintain an up-to-date directory so Web Coordinators get HiSoft upgrades and training; partner with E-Gov and InforME as appropriate; need a better policy when someone leaves who takes over;

Evaluation: monitor, evaluate and self-assessment for AccMonitor/AccVerify; workshop on best practices on archiving of dated web pages; support the draft Website Acceptance Policy; do more user testing with folks who have disabilities.

Agency Tools: looking at new tools; more training on AccVerify; looking at issues and browsers to help test for accessibility.

Ellen noted the team is using a template to stay on track of goals and accomplishments and is working very well for them.

Member Annual Report: Kathy Record resigned from the ITAC and was replaced by Paul Sandlin from E-Gov Services; Val Wood retired and resigned from the Committee; merged the two groups of awareness and visibility; work on combining the accessibility awards with the IT awards.

2007 Goals: Review the Charter and look at the seats that we have/can have; we might be missing some key players; look at the awards description; look at what is membership and what is awareness and visibility. Need to define membership and awareness/visibility.

Paul shared the great progress done by DEP on their website for accessibility. The template gave them a foundation to help move them forward and succeed and improve in the way they have done. We need management to buy into the state template and help move websites forward in accessibility.

NexTalk Annual Report: Implemented DHHS into NexTalk; set up one-on-one NexTalk training for users; increased logins to approximately 400; NexTalk 4 has become quite stable.

2007 Goals: continue to evaluate NexTalk 6; did get approval from the CIO to move forward with upgrade; implementation, in some ways, will be easier due to the training that has already been done, however, will take some updating and training; it is a desktop software package therefore all the desktops need to be touched; need to issue the software remotely (go to each user's PC and download). After carefully testing the product and making needed fixes, plan to upgrade to NexTalk 6. There are some accessibility issues, some have been fixed and we are now evaluating 6.1. We will not go forward if not functioning properly.

What is the status of assigning a Project Manager for the accessibility law?

Resolution : Need to remind the CIO - Paul will follow up with Dick and send out update to the team.

Telecommunications Subcommittee: Eric reported the last meeting was held in March; the committee needs to take on some other issues; should this committee continue? In June we decided Floyd would handle NexTalk; need to put together a membership.

2007 Goal: Reconstitute the committee; who are the members; reconstitute its charge; take on overseeing implementation of the effective communication policy in areas like caption and video; set up training programs to focus on accessible communications.

Telecommunications/NexTalk: Should have kept under the one umbrella; bring them together and keep them together; don't' think of NexTalk as a separate subcommittee; will discuss realignment of Telecommunications/NexTalk at the October meeting.

Kathy brought up the E-mail she sent out on a tool identifying PDF document issues and how to fix them.

Resolution : It was agreed the Internet & Intranet and Web Development subcommittee would take a look at the tool and bring back recommendations to the ITAC at the October meeting.

Members were asked to let Mary Cloutier know how and who to vet the Effective Communication Policy to and what should the comment period be. Eric will send out and E-mail for vetting suggestions.

Next Meeting: Monday, October 16 th 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. COB Conference Room 300

Agenda Items:

  • Approve the September 18 meeting notes
  • Status of the Effective Communication Policy
  • Status of the Annual Report
  • Discuss realignment of the Telecommunications/NexTalk
  • Status on reviewing PDF document tool
  • Subcommittee Updates

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