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Universal Access to the World Wide Web • Thomas R. Neiss, Assistant Provost for Universal Access to the World Wide Web • Thomas R. Neiss, Assistant Provost for Network Technology Services, State University of New York, System Administration, Albany, NY • [email protected] suny. edu CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss

State University of New York • 64 Campus public higher education system of New State University of New York • 64 Campus public higher education system of New York State • 380, 000+ students • 40, 000+ staff • Millions of web pages CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 2

What is Universal (Web) Accessibility? • The content or service offered on a site What is Universal (Web) Accessibility? • The content or service offered on a site is universally accessible if the end user can choose their preferred method of acquiring the information and interacting with that site. CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 3

The Web is a way of life, for those fortunate. • But, the information The Web is a way of life, for those fortunate. • But, the information highway is a dead end road filled with insurmountable obstacles for those using assistive technologies, older equipment and the latest technologies • Information Technology was more accessible five years ago than it is today. CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 4

How did this happen? • Ad hoc web development, with few standards and little How did this happen? • Ad hoc web development, with few standards and little impact assessment • Rapid web technology development • Poorly trained and uninformed developers • Lack of tools and resources for learning about the issues CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 5

Today Situation • Lack of awareness of the technical and legal issues about accessibility Today Situation • Lack of awareness of the technical and legal issues about accessibility • Lack of training or training that does not include accessibility • Accessibility is not (yet) a design criteria • Most think it (accessibility) is too hard to do • Remediation, however is not easy CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 6

Federal Initiatives • Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Federal Initiatives • Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973 • Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act 1998 • Section 508 delayed until March 2001 CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 7

NYS takes the lead • Technology Policy 99 -3 - Universal Access to the NYS takes the lead • Technology Policy 99 -3 - Universal Access to the Web 9 -30 -99 • Priority 1 Level A by 9 -30 -2000 • World Wide Web Consortium (W 3 C) – Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) – W 3 C - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 8

Everybody Benefits • Persons with disabilities identified the need, but everyone benefits from curb Everybody Benefits • Persons with disabilities identified the need, but everyone benefits from curb cuts and automatic doors and increasingly from: – Speech recognition – Voice synthesis and digitized voice – Closed captioning • New technologies require it! PDA’s Web Phones, Internet phones, Web. TV CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 9

Strategies that ‘just make sense’ • Inform everyone of the policy and its requirements, Strategies that ‘just make sense’ • Inform everyone of the policy and its requirements, and the benefits • Develop or use existing curricula to train students on accessible web design • Provide training for your staff that includes accessibility • Include accessibility requirements in contracts with vendors • Include accessibility requirements in the design • Make universal accessibility a way of life - It’s not that hard CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 10

If the technology ( or the web site) isn’t ready yet • PDF files If the technology ( or the web site) isn’t ready yet • PDF files - Provide text or html Conversion utilities are available • Provide alternative methods (in accessible form) • For fill in forms, provide assistance CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 11

SUNY supports Universal Access to the Web • Doing so will – Increase our SUNY supports Universal Access to the Web • Doing so will – Increase our ability to attract, educate and graduate students with disabilities – Increase our ability to hire, retain and promote staff with disabilities – Remove potential legal actions – Position SUNY as a leader in disability rights and services CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 12

What SUNY has done • Advised campus president’s of policy • Presidents appointed Web What SUNY has done • Advised campus president’s of policy • Presidents appointed Web Accessibility Contacts • Provided awareness through meetings, sessions, listserv’s • Conducted survey on compliance • Serving on NYS Information Technology Access Steering Committee • Conducts monthly training CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 13

What can you do? • Develop an Accessibility Strategy • Advise managers/staff/faculty/students of what What can you do? • Develop an Accessibility Strategy • Advise managers/staff/faculty/students of what universal access really means • Include accessibility requirements in web site design • Insist upon (and provide) proper training • Assume the responsibility of providing access to electronic information for everyone CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 14

What can you do? • Understand the laws and responsibilities associated with universal accessibility What can you do? • Understand the laws and responsibilities associated with universal accessibility • Spread the word - Universal Accessibility “just makes good sense” • Work with your Disability Services or ADA offices • If you are still not convinced visit a blind staff member and have them access the web with JAWS CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 15

Resources • World Wide Web Consortium www. w 3. org • Web Accessibility Initiative Resources • World Wide Web Consortium www. w 3. org • Web Accessibility Initiative www. w 3. org/wai • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines www. w 3. org/tr/wai-webcontent • The WAI’s Curriculum for WCAG 1. 0 A self teaching guide for Web Content Accessibility www. w 3. org/wai/wcag-curric • NYS Office for Technology www. oft. state. ny. us CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 16

Resources • Validation – Bobby- www. cast. org/bobby – Lynx browser www. fdisk. com/doslynx/lynxport. Resources • Validation – Bobby- www. cast. org/bobby – Lynx browser www. fdisk. com/doslynx/lynxport. htm – Accessibility-Prompt toolkit http: //aprompt. snow. utoronto. ca/ – W 3 C html Validation http: //validator. w 3. org/ – W 3 C CSS Validation http: //jigsaw. w 3. org/cssvalidator/ CNI - San Antonio 2000 Thomas R. Neiss 17