Oct � Dec 2013
Volume 8 Issue 1 

ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

HighEdWeb Conference
October 6 - 9, 2013
Buffalo, NY
HighEdWeb is the national conference for all higher education Web professionals, from programmers to marketers to designers to accessibility experts, who want to explore the unique Web issues facing colleges and universities. For more information: 2013.highedweb.org
Closing the Gap Conference
October 9 - 11, 2013
Bloomington, MN
The 31th annual Closing the Gap conference will cover a broad spectrum of technology as it is being applied to all disabilities and age groups in education, rehabilitation, vocation, and independent living. The conference showcases hundreds of product exhibitors. For more information: www.closingthegap.com/conference>
Transition to Employment
October 14, 2013
6:30 - 8:30 PM CST
Duluth, MN
This workshop for families of transition-age youth will provide information on career exploration and planning. Parents will learn how to help prepare their youth for employment and hear from agencies that provide independent living, financial, and employment services and supports. Presented in collaboration with Minnesota's Vocational Rehabilitation Services program. This workshop will have accessible and assistive technology information. For more information: www.pacer.org/workshops
EDUCAUSE Conference
October 15 - 18, 2013
Anaheim, CA
The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference unites the best thinking in higher education IT by bringing together insightful people, innovative research, supportive companies, and useful resources. There is an accessibility track. For more information: www.educause.edu/annual-conference
National Rehabilitation Education Conference
November 3 - 5, 2013
Arlington, VA
National Rehabilitation Education Conference is a means of facilitating communication and sharing information among professionals involved in training, recruiting, hiring and enhancing the development of qualified rehabilitation counselors. This year there is a track on using technology. For information:www.ncre.org/fall.html
Accessing High Ground: Accessible Media, Web, and Technology Conference
November 4 - 8, 2013
Westminster, CO
The annual Accessing Higher Ground conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of Assistive Technology in the university and college setting for people with sensory, physical and learning disabilities. Other topics include legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance, and making campus media and information resources - including Web pages and library resources - accessible For more information: accessinghigherground.org
Across the Lifespan
November 14 - 15, 2013
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Across the Lifespan brings state-of-the-art assistive technology information to Wisconsin. The conference will provide comprehensive information and resources through innovative presentations and an interactive exhibit hall. All categories of assistive technology will be represented; all age groups from birth through adult and senior services, as well as all levels of expertise from beginner to advanced. For more information: www.atacrosslifespan.org
Section 508 Refresh - Using WCAG 2.0 to Evaluate Document Accessibility
December 5, 2013 1:30pm
In 2010, the Board's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Section 508 proposed to incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (also known as WCAG 2.0) for evaluating the accessibility of electronic documents. WCAG 2.0 is published and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is the internationally recognized standards for web accessibility. This session will provide examples of how the WCAG success criteria can be used to catch accessibility barriers in office documents, and also how the word processor has the capacity to include accessibility features in documents. For more information: www.accessibilityonline.org

Final 2013 Accessible Technology Webinar

The final session of the 2013 Accessible Technology Webinar Series is Thursday November 21, 2013 1:00 - 2:30pm CST.

Advanced Accessible PDF Part 2 - Tables, Forms, and More.with Speaker Christy Blew, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sometimes additional editing is needed to get your PDF fully accessible. This session will look at the Table and Form Editors, changing reading order for assistive devices, and new features in Acrobat XI. This session is Part 2 of Creating Advanced Accessible PDFs. Participants should have a basic understanding of accessible PDF principles such as tagging and navigational structure, which were covered in Part 1 webinar. The archive of that session is available at http://bit.ly/1b9sEnb.

About Our Speaker

Christy Blew

Christy Blew is an IT Accessibility Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over 15 years of experience in developing and using internet technologies to deliver information to people and has been working with IT accessibility education for over 10 years. Christy is part of the ITaccess initiative at the UIUC that focuses on the awareness, evaluation, and education of accessibility of electronic information. Her online and classroom training sessions include accessibility issues with Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. Christy currently holds a Masters in Technology and a Certification in Computer Science from Eastern Illinois University.

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is free, but participants must register at http://www.ada-audio.org/

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is hosted and coordinated by the Great Lakes ADA Center and the Pacific ADA Center, members of the ADA National Network. The ADA National Network provides comprehensive services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

Chief Accessibility Officer

There is a new title appearing more often in all types of organizations which is that of a Chief Accessibility Officer or Chief Information Accessibility Officer, from Robert Sinclair at Microsoft to Christopher Rice at AT&T. The disability community sees this as a positive trend, giving organizations a practical framework for implementing accessibility with accountability.

Jay Wyant

The Great Lakes ADA Center recently spoke with Jay Wyant, State of Minnesota's newly appointed Chief Information Accessibility Officer, about the position and the impact on improving accessibility across the state. Here is what Jay had to share:

Q: Jay, the position of Chief Information Accessibility Officer for the State of Minnesota is relatively new. Can you tell me how it came to pass?

A: A number of advocacy groups were frustrated with the lack of accessibility of many State websites as well as internal and external applications and systems. In addition, there was clear documentation that State employment of people with disabilities had steadily declined in the last decade. They felt that there needed to be specific mechanisms in place to provide support and education resources for accessibility, as well as enforcement.

They worked with legislators to pass a law in 2009 requiring the State CIO to develop and implement a state accessibility standard. A related statute established an advisory body for the CIO with regards to accessibility.

The new Standard was enacted in 2010. In the advisory committee's report to the legislature, they recommended that funding be established for a Chief Information Accessibility Officer (CIAO) to help state agencies develop processes and best practices to comply with the Standard.

Q: Was this position and strategy modeled on other states? Or is Minnesota pioneering this type of approach to accessibility implementation?

A: A few other states have significant accessibility initiatives, but Minnesota's approach appears to be unique; we don't know of any other state with a CIAO.

Q: What does your job entail? And how do you accomplish it?

A: That was one of the exciting and attractive aspects of the job. It has been up to me to define what I do and how I carry out the position. I have received strategic guidance from an advisory committee, but as far as my day-to-day activities, I have been responsible for defining my tasks and deliverables.

The long-term goal is a fully accessible state government, in which all our information and applications - whether for the public or for employees - are fully accessible. To that end, I have been working on multiple fronts, from general awareness and training resources to increasing the State's knowledge base on best practices and helping agencies develop appropriate policies and procedures.

Q: What has been your biggest success (so far) in this position?

A: We have a grant program that allows agencies to apply for funds to address an accessibility-related issue, such as training on how to make accessible PDF documents, remediating inaccessible documents, buying testing software, and so on. Initially, adoption was slow, and we were concerned that we would not be able to spend the grant funds within the allotted time. But as agencies started to implement more accessibility-related policies and practices, they saw the value of the grant program and we were able to award all the funds. A significant factor was a group of agency representatives serving as accessibility coordinators. Once I convened the group for monthly meetings, the issue of accessibility started to gain more traction at agencies.

Q: What is the biggest challenge (so far) to being the state's first Chief Information Accessibility Officer?

A: It is easy to get overwhelmed with the details. Every day, there is so much to do that I could easily spend the entire day just answering emails and responding to requests. I have to allocate time for me to focus on strategic activities that have a long-term impact.

Q: Why do you believe accessibility is important?

A: There are many reasons, but the most basic is that it is the right way to do things. Why build a website or application that only some people can use? It is also a more cost effective approach: if you apply the necessary thought and care to ensure that everyone can use your technology, you will have better, more effective technology that has a better chance of lasting longer before it needs to be updated or replaced.

QIAT-PS Recruiting Pilot Schools

The Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology in Post-Secondary education project offers tools and resources on quality implementation of assistive technology in the post-secondary educational environments. The project is sponsored by the Great Lakes ADA Center and the Southwest ADA Center, both members of the ADA National Network. QIAT-PS is a collaborative effort of hundreds of professionals from a wide variety of higher education and K-12 schools and based on the successful implementations of assistive technology indicators in K-12 public schools.

For the 2013-2014 school year the Great Lakes ADA Center is recruiting participants, post-secondary educational institutions, in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan to be involved in the pilot study. The pilot study will assess our Campus Self-Evaluation Matrix. The Campus Self-Evaluation Matrix is a way for a school to do a self-evaluation of their own assistive technology service delivery.

Participation in the pilot study will receive online training on the Campus Self-Evaluation Matrix, consultation on setting priorities for improvement of Assistive Technology service deliver, and resources about Assistive Technology tools. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact us via the QIAT-PS contact form: http://qiat-ps.org/contact-us/

The QIAT-PS project tools, such as the Campus Self-Evaluation Matrix is available, however without participating in the pilot project. The website has details www.qiat-ps.org


The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Mon Oct 7, 2013