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Summary of Accessibility Meeting
February 21, 2002

10 people attended

Vito DeSantis gave a demonstration of Web site accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, showing the difference between a good site and bad site. This is in preparation for the educational seminar being planned. Vito will present a similar demonstration at the seminar. After showing a good and a bad site, using government sites, he will take a bad site and show how tools can fix the site to be accessible.

In general, the seminar will cover what it means for a Web site to be accessible and why it is necessary. It will also provide information on where to get resources and show some tools for creating accessibility.

After the program, there will be a Q & A with a panel of 2-3 people who have already made their Web sites accessible.

There will be a dry run of the presentation the week before the seminar.

Rick Worrell from the Muscular Distrophy Association spoke about how people with MD and other muscular weakness would be able to access Web sites. They have to have assistive technology, which enables them to access Web sites through specially fitted keyboards or mouse. The question was raised as to whether these devices need special consideration to access Web sites. Rick doesn't think so, because most likely whatever is needed is built into the software. Location and layout would be of concern for accessibility for individuals with mobility issues, i.e. a need for extra space and specific fonts, not too close together, and larger text links.

Rick indicated that 850-950 individuals in South Jersey have been diagnosed with MD-type disabilities, and about 3000 in the entire state. This figure does not include all those who are impaired for other reasons, such as arthritis, strokes, or injuries.

It was pointed out that legislation is under review that would require reasonable attempts be made to have accessible computers at one-stop job centers at the county level.

It was recommended that the Accessibility Working Group contact someone from the Technical Assistive Research Program (TARP).

A discussion ensued about having a 10-minute presentation on accessibility for management -- department heads, assistant commissioners, directors. The purpose would be to explain what accessibility is and why it is necessary and to demonstrate the need for resources. It was recommended to invite the Governor and members of his office.

The group agreed that the policy should be approved and the educational seminar be given before doing the 10-minute presentation for management.

The group chose Thursday, April 25th, from 9-12 as the date for the educational seminar.

Leslie suggested using the auditorium at the Department of Corrections (DOC) and will clear the date. She will also see if Tony has the "before and after" DOC pages for the seminar and if he will be on the panel.

Marge will put together a sample of the agenda and the information packet for the seminar before the next meeting.

Jim will check on money available for the seminar. He and Hanna will pull together the list of Web developers and publishers and public information officers. They will ask Anna the following: who should be the person to officially announce the seminar, how it should be marketed, and who else should be invited to the seminar in addition to the groups mentioned above.

The next meeting will be held at the DOC auditorium on Thursday, March 21st, at 9:30 am. The meeting will consist of checking the status of preparations for the seminar and assigning remaining tasks to be done.

Note: The meeting location has changed. The next meeting will be held at the second floor conference room at the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

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