March 20, 2006

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IT Accessibility Committee Meeting Record
Monday, March 20, 2006
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
COB - Conf Room 400

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

Agenda

Subcommittee Updates

  • Accountability - Status of RFP Project for a State Accessibility Law
  • Awareness & Visibility
  • Internet/Intranet & Web Development
  • Membership - Researching NASCIO for a national award template
  • Telecommunications - Accessible Documents/Effective Communications Policy and Committee Reconstitution (membership and purpose)

Other Business/Updates

  • Summer Intern
  • E-Government Accessibility issues (meet with AITDs)
  • Recommendation to replace Val's seat on the Committee

Notes

1. Subcommittee Updates

Accountability – Floyd

Floyd talked with Kathy Record about approaching Dick Thompson for a Project Manager to work on the “Project for an Accessibility Law for Maine State Government. Dick has asked that a proposal be put together outlining the justification for this project/project manager.

Basically, the proposal is needed to move forward with assignment and funding. Floyd will check in again with Kathy Record to finalize exactly what Dick is asking for.

Val brought up the availability of a project definition document and was asked to send it out to the IT Accessibility Committee .

Action:

  • Paul and Val will work together on this to get the right documentation out to the Committee.
  • Ellen volunteered to start the template moving forward; send out to the entire Committee for their review/input.

Awareness & Visibility Subcommittee – Carolyn

Ellen shared her thoughts that more people should be able to attend the CSUN conference. This year Floyd and Lisa Thompson will be attending and doing a presentation on NexTalk. It is important that the State Of Maine continue to attend and have presentation(s). Perhaps it should be part of the Committee’s plan to look at the importance of participating in these types of conferences.

Action: Alan Parks suggested that he and Ellen do something on collaboration next year at the CSUN conference and get the University involved with the State of Maine.

Awareness and availability of accessibility needs to be an in-state and outside focus.

Web Subcommittee – Ellen

  • Kim Wing did a presentation on visual testing of web sites for accessibility
  • Developing a check list that explains the what and how
  • Need to be able to check web sites for accessibility automatically and visually/manually
  • Working to have web site testing live with folks having disabilities

AccVerify Workshop for State Web Coordinators – March 30, 2006 – Alan

Alan reviewed the agenda for the upcoming AccVerify workshop. He noted there was a good audience that would be attending. There will be a handout for folks to take away with them. Alan was able to get 20 temporary licenses for the day of training. There will be folks there to help work out any issues someone may be having on their website. The goal of these training classes is to get the rate of compliance higher.

Paul noted they were working on the third AccVerify report. This is an opportunity to make sure management knows what is happening and where we are going. The report will be passed on to the CIO; the CIO will pass on to the AITDs; AITDs pass the report to their Web Coordinators. Web Coordinators should work with the Web Masters to make sure the things that need to be fixed do get done and help those Web Masters that may not understand what to do to implement necessary fixes. We will continue to measure the progress. Currently there are two large agencies having their websites rebuilt; we need to validate the vendor has done the work and need to validate prior to the contract terminating.

Ellen noted that all agencies that have licenses have received the training; are they using it? Some are and some are not.

The issue of the BHR website not being accessible for job applications was brought up and updated. Paul will bring more information to the April 10 meeting.

Some Web Subcommittee tasks have been moved to the E-GOV office and moved to the Web Coordinators.

Membership Subcommittee – Carolyn

The next meeting is scheduled for April 10. There will be discussions around new memberships and bringing someone on board from the Dept. of Health and Human Services. The members will also be looking at where there might be gaps for representation on the IT Accessibility Committee.

The Membership Subcommittee members will also look at membership for the Awareness and Availability subcommittee. Will also look at what is or is not in place for awareness and availability.

Accessibility Awards: The Committee is working on issuing two awards: 1) Leadership Award and 2) Project or Team award. Work is being focused on getting recommendations from agencies and how the awards be presenting. Do we want the presentation to be incorporated into the CIO’s office rather than keeping accessibility as its own silo? We need to look at how we will approach it and integrate into a larger vehicle.

Do we want this to be a piece at the CIO level or below the CIO level? As the CIO does support accessibility for Maine State Government information technology, perhaps this should be a piece at the CIO level not below. We have to think broader when it comes to accessibility. There is a structure already in place and we should blend in the accessibility awards into the CIO’s process.

Telecommunications – Eric

  • What is the constitution of the subcommittee?
  • Where is it going?
  • What will the subcommittee be doing in the future?
  • What is the subcommittee’s charge?
  • What projects need to be in this group?
  • Does the subcommittee continue?
  • Are there projects out there for the subcommittee?
  • Should this committee take up the Accessible Documents and Effective Communication Policy?
  • Will Val retiring, who will take over as Chair? Eric did volunteer to take over as the Chair for the Telecommunications Subcommittee.

NexTalk was a project of the Telecommunications Subcommittee which has been implemented; up and running in all state agencies. The process continues to be tracked and improved as needed.

Should this committee take on captioning of board cast events? Noting that captioning is not an IT specific issue we could move forward as long as no one pushes back; if events are on a website it would fall within the CIO jurisdiction; video streaming would also if on a website.

Kathy discussed a meeting that was held with Dick Hinkley, Sheldon Bird, Wayne Gallant and the University (UNET) around video conferencing in state government; video conferencing will be an initiative within the OIT arena; as this goes forward, captioning would be an important piece. Eric noted that video conferencing is moving forward in the Dept. of Labor.

There is a need for the Telecommunications Subcommittee to continue; Eric is will to Chair; need more members; and need a scope for the subcommittee to proceed.

Conclusion: The Telecommunications Subcommittee should not be disbanded.

Accessible Documents and Effective Communication Policy (ADEC):

A recommendation was made to have a committee set up to review the policy. Eric noted that Mary Cloutier, from the OIT Policy & Strategic Office, had attended the last meeting and reviewed the policy adoption process with the members present. There is a new policy process in place which involves bringing to the CIO for vetting and having interested parties review/comment. It was suggested to bring the NexTalk policy into this policy which Eric has done. A link to the Web Policy has also been included.

Carolyn noted this was a great document that has been written. Now how do we work with it and how do we manage it. This is an incredible place to start and this is one of the most proactive things we can do at this time.

The policy would stay static; procedures, standards, and guidelines can be changed as needed.

Eric noted that the BHR training (Leigh Wilkinson) would be willing to do regular course on making documents accessible; developing a training module.

Conclusions:

  • Eric will head up the Telecommunications Subcommittee
  • IT Accessibility Committee members need to review the re-draft of the ADEC Policy
  • Need a hand line for the scope
  • Put on agenda for the April meeting
  • Keep the Web Policy separate

Updates:

Summer Intern: did meet the deadline for application; we made applications for 2 positions; Kim’s contract expires mid May. Floyd noted that they had approached Kim as part of a new contract to facilitate one-on-one user of NexTalk calls and training; working to keep Kim longer in the OIT.

E-Gov accessibility issues: meetings will be set up with AITDs to discuss accessibility, not sure when.

Floyd talked about meeting with Dick Thompson and merge accessibility into the current agency portfolios. We need to look at what we are doing before it is too late when it comes to accessibility. RE: applications, software.

At the April meeting Floyd will give an update of the CSUN conference.

Val recommended contacting Nancy Melanson to replace him on the IT Accessibility Committee depending on her availability of serving on the Committee.

Floyd will follow up with Valerie Oswald regarding a recommendation for the SAC and will pass the information on to Carolyn, Chair for the Membership Subcommittee.

Kathy shared a program available (an Ebay for assistive technology equipment) through MaineCite for distributing assistive technology people may want to get rid of. The program is new and just started this month. Work is being done to put together a marketing group to get the word out.

With Val Wood retiring from Maine State Government as of April 1, 2006, the last item on the agenda was acknowledging all the work and valuable input/assistance Val has provided to the IT Accessibility Committee. Val’s importance to the Committee was recognized and he was given a Certificate of Appreciation. Thank You Val and good luck and enjoy your retirement.

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