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EOWG Minutes, February 23, 2001


Outreach Updates

JA: Texas E-Learning Accessibility of distance ed: audio-visual addition. Report 2 years ago got legislation: meet WAI and 508 guidelines, and the new WGBH guidelines for captioning. Seeking legislators in Texas to support. Won't happen till 2004-2005 school year. As legislature only meets every other year, and need to approve, adoption of new text books is a long process.

JA: American Foundation for the Blind: Text books and instructional materials. Working toward a national Braille Bill (George Kerscher, Michael Moodie are involved) likely to use DAISY/NISO Digital Talking Book DTD plan. Want to repurposing to do Braille too.

JA: Gave presentation on textbooks at Michingan School for the Blind, reviewed tools available.

JA: At ASHA conference on textbooks and multimedia books, spoke to about 50 people.

JA: At International AER talked about making web more accessible. Things to say when you write a webmaster about accessibility.

JA: Now most publishers use Quark. Many choose to do file conversion, or repurposed republishing in India at $2/page to get marked up to whatever DTD is desired. India file conversion companies met with publishers and Braille producers. Interest is from the Indian production side. Get them trained.

JB: Quark is key developer of publishing tools. Have seen minimal interest in accessibility. Quark is member of W3C.

JB: India should be a prioritized training market for accessibility. Training there would have broad world-wide impact, as they are doing the republishing.

MU: PSInet does lots of work in India.

JA: Nothing with Quark. At the last American Association of Publishers (AAP) meeting, there was a pitch about Digital Talking Books. As Quark is slow to move, publishers test much first before adopting upgrades. The Quark-to-HTML converter works with low-format books. Textbooks have high-structure and -format. Needs a training tool. Some publishers have written DTDs. Need movement by publishers.

WL: Guideline 7 of the authoring tools spec wants software to be usable and accessible to any potential author.

JB: Section 508 ignored authoring tools.

JB: Want to know the file conversion companies. Carlos is working on outreach to authoring tool makers.

CL: In the Federal Government of Canada, five departments are setting up their own accessibility testing groups. 2002-12-31 is deadline to get all their web sites accessible. So they are now hiring people with disabilities, to use as testers. Need expertise at startup. Will be consulting with them.

JB: Would like a "review-lite" and "review-heavy" pair of guidance documents.

MU: In North Caroline Dept Health and Human Services: Asking how can they do WCAG 1 compliance by the end of this year. Similar to WAI recommendation. Tell divisions to use automated checkers. Newer SSV checkers coming out. Do Priority 1, give justification for failings of Priority 2. Use two people with disabilities to confirm. Gives good conformation.

MU: Also getting South Carolina too. Coordinated thru statewide information access group, under people in governer's office. So far infrequent meetings, last month the second one. Want to emulate NC program.

KA: Going to Darien CT to speek to Webmasters Roundtable, 20 Library and Community webmasters,

HB: Review of books from two bookstores. Post to Judy for assessment.

HS: Government conditions for offer to include blindness and visually impairment (but not others). Plan for all federal ministries. Some mention of application to local ones, 25000 Guilders to them to help pay for it. Would like to mention where to get knowledge. The carrot and the stick: (payment and law).

JB: Balance of incentives and requirements.

HS: Some pressure from EC member states that countries. Project officer Ivor Ambrose and Placencia trying under IST program under DG 13 of EC.

JB: In US flury of government advisory committees: Participate in ITTATC center University of Georgia, covering Sections 508 and 255. Aware of our materials. To do some training materials.

JB: A system integrator in US bidding for large multi-milion dollar contracts, and need to provide accessibility component.

Sample Implementation Plans for Web Accessibility


JB: This is an initial draft. Intent is for others to contribute by identifying kinds of questions and issues. Use top page for list to provide: policy issues, resources available, etc. What should be in the review process? What should be left for questions?

WL: Under :Assess current situation #6 requirements aren't only external.

WL: Pool of people will develop.

GL: A good outline, to help focus attention.

SS: Yes, it will help.

JB: This is a beginning. Work on improving it.

CL: Three Canadian departments are now doing implementation plans and strategies. One is actively doing so, but unwilling to yet share. Expect this material will help.

WL: Replace "under any circumstances" by "without permission of the editor"

JB: Get permission from the editor, seek feedback.

JA: Put "DRAFT" and version 0.5.

JB: Format is a resource suite that has no versioning protocol on it. Make more prominent the "last updated" date.

JB: MU is working on implementation plan.

JB: What is the Implementation plan in Denmark? It emphasizes public review process.

HBj: That was the original approach: review and feedback. That lead to the guidelines. Concurrently government minister of research and technology wrote a white paper on internet accessibility.

JB: Add evaluation and motivation.

KA: Lot in there that could help get started. It will help over the next year. In retrospect, what we should have done differently: we met too infrequently. We should have gone offsite for several days to hammer it out.

JB: Pull together a committee to form the plan.

JB: In Massachusetts did weekly meetings for six weeks to keep up the momentum.

JB: Add suggestion to have stakeholder groups to serve on committee.

JB: Corporate folks (too little), beginning organization (too much). Emphasize that this is optional.

CL: Use as appropriate for your context and your management.

WL: Presumes that justification has already been made. So the people who are using this are probably committed already.

JB: Initial decision to commit may also use this.

WL: There is not too much detail.

HBj: People making decisions to start such, say just go do it. The people making the business plan need good arguments so the technical folks can see how to do it.

S: Put this in section on promoting awareness. Promotion has likely resistance.

JB: Strategies for addressing questions about implementations.

HB: Techniques in support of guidelines counter some of the objections.

HBj: Use authoring tools that comply. Companies need conformance checkers. If cannot change tools, then use repair tools.

JA: Train using tools you have.

WL: Improve demand for improved tools. How increase market demand for those better tools.

JB: "Webmaster" too exclusive. or designers/developers

HB: We want accessibility to be like breathing, done unconciously.

WL: Has used "webbers".

SS: Who is the audience for this?

JB: It is us now. Enough to do the samples. Then tune it.

JB: Need links. As written, it is "stream of consciousness."

WL: Start with example


KA: Have written 6-step to make sites accessible. How keep them that way?

JB: Address how to certify that sites continue to be accessible.

HB: Work on AERT in ER group will apply to that issue.

HB: Don't start intro with appology: Regardless of what ...

Implementation Considerations

Assess current situation

SS: Use what is most relevant.

HBj: Suggest solutions taking accessibility into consideration. If customers say they don't want some accessibility issues.

JB: Need to motivate the importance of understanding current web accessibility. Someone unfriendly to accessibility can assert it will take 4 months to do. The current situation should be determined quickly.

JA: Quickly access the current situation

HB: "Accessibility" is a code word.

KA: Most trade references to accessibility are addressing something else.

HB: Doing assessment, say what web accessibility is.

SS: Clarify what the accessibility means while doing this evaluation.

SS: Courses on web design should include accessibility.

WL: Does your organization's training and instructional programs include accessibility, both for students and audience. That was a major concern for the US government.

HBj: Add question about a usability and web design, combined with web accessibility.

HB: Usability in most books deals with graphic user interface, not just accessible GUI.

Develop an organization-wide policy on Web accessibility

SS: Focus is WCAG, though original paragraph is more general. Want to include getting commitment from decision makers. Make it organization-wide reference. Only one is using WCAG as reference.

JA: Document flow and content management too.

SS: Make part of mission statement

MU: Need to make sure that senior policy makers understand accessibility.

JA: Getting training has been a problem, as no state-wide agency was able to get training resources, understanding, and knowledge.

HBj: Need to identify responsible policy makers, and important existing policies.

KA: Scaring people off by "new versions coming." Avoid specific version numbers as being stable or under review and improvement. Concern that that may be be reason for delay, knowing that newer ones are coming.

HB: Major delay in getting software to work with new recommendations.

KA: Adapt to W3C recommendations.

JB: Need a resource suite on each of these, available on the site, eventually.

Time for Outreach

WL: Recommend that outreach updates put on the list.

JB: Too much outreach update? 45 minutes today a record.

JB: Could be only on mail-list, discussable, summarizable.

HB: Like updates, as can ask questions.

Upcoming meetings

JB: No meeting next week, as there are several WAI meetings in Cambridge. Next meeting 2001-03-09.

JB: Please note registration page is available for face-to-face at CSUN 2001 March 25, 2001. Registration is required for everyone attending. Registration closes March 19, 2001. See:


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