CfDC Minutes — July 14, 2010

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Doug White, Vice Chair; Jane Berliss-Vincent (our special guest); Karen Dickinson; Jill Rice; Gerald Hoff; Tom Bayer; Terry Soave; Carolyn Grawi; Susan Minard; Katie O’Connor; Carol Tucker; Tracy Wright; Carole Dubritsky; Els Nieuwenhuijsen; Nyshourn Price Reed; Paul Guttman; Joan E. Smith; Stuart Segall; Sally Haines; Christa Moran; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes).

Introductions were made around the table, and Jane, our special guest, was welcomed.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Carolyn Grawi announced the CIL 4th annual Independence-Ride (iRide), August 5-8 and the ADA 20th Anniversary Celebration. The final mile will be on August 8 at 3 pm—you too can ride this part; for more information: 734-971-0277 ext. 22 (ask for Charlie or Mary).

Carole Dubritsky thanked Joni and Paul for being helpful re: Stadium access, taking the complaints and passing them along to the proper sources. She said that one can contact either her () or Stuart at SSD about any other complaints. She welcomes personal conversation about the new construction on campus, as well.

Carol Tucker and Katie O’Connor described a new health website that is being produced for students with chronic conditions with the goal of keeping relevant resources all in one place (similar to MindWorks). Carole Dubritsky mentioned that for accessibility information they might contact her or else .

Jack announced that “Someone Like Me” by John Quinn is an excellent book. It is a story of challenge and triumph over cerebral palsy.

Jack and Jane mentioned they came to the AADL as if they were any patron looking to use assistive technology. They shared with us that their experience was an excellent one from the signage, to the customer service, to the level of knowledge of the staff providing service.

INVESTING IN ABILITY WEEK (October 25–29)

Anna discussed the Investing in Ability events, enumerating and describing many. She mentioned that Mark Sutton, a first responder from the Marine Corps, would be presenting two talks on PTSD/TBI—how to recognize and de-escalate in veterans. Carolyn mentioned Mark Creekmore as being a member of the critical incident team whom we might contact.

Joni suggested that Council members should commit to attend a certain schedule of IAW events. We should also put together a police department list of local municipalities and have council members contact their local police agency. We might contact VFW, American Legion and other veterans organizations.

JANE BERLISS-VINCENT

Jane () narrated how 24 years ago there was no computer accessibility via adaptive technology, no ADA, no 508. What was unique about Jim Knox was that he went to the students, listened to them, and a Barrier Free Computer Users Group was eventually formed. Doug Thompson, a visually impaired student, was also instrumental in that he wondered why he was paying computer fees without being able to use the computers. The main questions to be answered are: what are the needs and how do we meet them. Adaptive technology is evolving and more students now use it. Jane talked further about what she does in Berkeley at the Center for Accessible Technology.

She described the Ed Roberts campus, consisting of 7 disability organizations and which is a Berkeley innovation, and said that it is replicable and that a virtual facsimile has been proposed. Other accessible places mentioned by Carolyn (Access Living in Chicago) and specifically by Jack (UM’s Weil Hall).

Web Accessibility

Els asked about a free tool to measure website accessibility and Jane responded with the WAVE Accessibility Checker that flags HTML accessibility issues. However, these tools may not reveal whether the text is actually readable or if color contrast is sufficient. Manual checking is always necessary. There are many things that the automatic tools either can’t check at all or can’t evaluate for accessibility(e.g., they can tell whether a graphic has a text alternative, but not whether the alternative has any relevance to the graphic). Having the site checked by assistive technology users—not only screen reader users, but ideally users of magnification, voice recognition, and learning disability apps as well—will also ensure usability for situations not covered by the formal guidelines.

The Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) (“Jon Gunderson’s tool”) and Cynthia Says are other tools that were mentioned in passing. Jane also mentioned the new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and that 508 guidelines (for federal websites) are being revised so that they will be more closely aligned with WCAG 2.0. Also, the usability piece is very important (have a “Boomer” check it out). Most captioning is used by … people whose spouses go to bed early, further proof that accessibility benefits more than just one group. Different apps provide added availability, e.g., an app that blows air can blow out birthday candles. webaim.org is a great one-stop accessiblity site worth looking at.

For further website accessibility information, please contact , the University’s Web Accessibility Coordinator (on vacation and not present at this meeting).

Jack added that if code is written well in beginning, changes can easily be made.