Episode: Accessible Information Technology
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
What We Learned
Making IT accessible is great for business because search engines also search alternative text tags of pictures for information. If accessible, with proper headers, pages download faster than non-accessible web pages on mobile units. Accessible web pages can be exciting. They can have rich, interactive animations AND still be accessible – even to mobile devices.
Free Web Page Checkers Recommended by Glenda Sims
Other Web Access Experts
We use Automatic Sync Technologies (https://services.automaticsync.com) to caption our shows. They are very professional, and cost effective. If you have shows you want to make available on the web, try MovCaptioner by Synchrimedia (http://www.synchrimedia.com/). It is only $25 and very easy to use. Currently, it is only available for the Mac.
Gene uses Dreamweaver by Adobe. It is easy to check the accessibility of your web page. Most professional web authoring applications will have accessibility features. As long as you can get to the code of whatever web authoring tool you use, you can make web sites accessible.
Cynthia Curry has free podcasts on iTunes about accessible information technology. Contact her at http://maine.gov/mlti/about/contact.shtml
Accessible Information Technology Guests
Sharron is the co-founder and Executive Director of Knowbility, a nonprofit organization that grew from the first Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) in Austin in 1998. Sharron leads the effort to replicate the AIR program in cities throughout the country. Because of AIR, professional Web developers from hundreds of state agencies and technology companies have learned about the benefits, tools, and techniques of accessible Web design. In addition to improving the accessibility of their own work, AIR volunteers use their accessible Web design skills to create sites for more than 500 nonprofit groups, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
Sharron believes strongly in the power of technology to support the independence of people with disabilities – and in the value of dynamic, ongoing collaboration to strengthen communities. She has led Knowbility to national recognition, including appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show, “Best Practice” feature at the National Labor Skills Summit, and recognition for excellence and innovation by the Peter F. Drucker Foundation. In April of 2001, she was named one of the Top 25 Women of the Web and in March 2002, she received the Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service through Interactive Media. She is a ComputerWorld Laureate, an advisor to the SXSW Interactive Media Conference, was named Community Tech Champion by the Congressional Black Caucus and co-wrote the book, Maximum Accessibility, which is recognized as one of the definitive accessibility resources. Sharron annually assembles the best minds in web accessibility to deliver training conferences that teach and define interactive accessibility from the basics to the bleeding edge.
Desiree has been working with Knowbility for over four years now. She started out as a volunteer and last May officially became part of the staff as an accessibility experience specialist. She has been using JAWS for over ten years and has seen its growth and witnessed major improvements in that time, both in jaws and in assistive technology overall. She assisted Randy last year in the JAWS class at Access U, so she will take her cues from him and try to impart the same enthusiasm to the class that he did.
Kate earned her a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has also earned her Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). She has presented at Closing The Gap (CTG), Pittsburg Employment Conference (PEC), Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), California State University Northridge (CSUN) and Region 13 Educational Service Center, Austin. For the last three years she has worked for the Austin Independent School District as an Assistive Technology Teaching Assistant serving students with communication disabilities. Prior to working for the school district Kate was employed by two non-profit organizations providing consumers training on computer applications, adaptive equipment and software.
Glenda Sims is a Senior Systems Analyst at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. As a member of UT Team Web, Glenda helps support the central web site for the University. She serves as an Accessibility and Web Standards Evangelist and the self-appointed Web Accessibility Goddess at UT. Her specialties include usability/accessibility testing, handheld wireless devices, technical training and project management.
Glenda is an advisor and co-founder of the AIR-University (Accessibility Internet Rally) and Access U. She serves as an accessibility consultant, judge and trainer for Knowbility, whose mission is “to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessibility information technology – barrier free IT”. Glenda is all about empowering people with information and functionality on the web.