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Minutes of the July 19, 2001 Meeting

Twenty three people attended the meeting representing xx agencies and OIT.

Group Name: We agreed that the name of the group will be the "Web Accessibility Working Group".

Mission Statement : We accepted the mission statement drafted by Marge Pecht.

The W3C Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 was distributed. We discussed the fundamental differences in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priorities -- in a word "must," "should," and "may" respectively. We then discussed how these requirements should be incorporated on the web sites. The group essentially agreed that given the large number of documents on the state web site, the goal of 100% compatibility is not an immediate likelyhood. We agreed that new pages and pages that are being modified should comply with the 508 guidelines. As web sites are updated and revamped, older pages can be brought into compliance.

It was agreed that a role of the Group is to help educate people about the process of making state Web sites accessible. This applies to sites on the OIT Intranet and extranets as well as the Internet.

The next topic covered was how to prioritize the work of making sites accessible in the next six months, then the next.

  • Pages that have to do with disabilities should definitely be retrofitted.
  • Should we retrofit old pages -- all, the most popular, the most important, i.e. 9-1-1, new legislation?
  • Important to consider politics - to some degree?
  • Should each department decide on its own priorities?

The accessibility initiative came from the CIO's Office, which is why the Working Group was pulled together -- to establish goals. We discussed the best way to ensure compliance by departments and agencies. Some ideas were an Executive Order from the Governor or a polich from the CIO's office. We agreed to revisit this once we had formulated a draft Web accessibility policy.

The state needs to have its own standards. In order for the Group to develop them, it was agreed that members would look at Section 508. We will include links to the other states' policies along with the minutes, before the next meeting.

It was suggested that there be a technical mentor list to assist Web masters of departments in making their sites accessible.

A handout on Tools for Accessibility was reviewed: Bobby, A-Prompt, and 508 Accessibility Suite for Dreamweaver. We reviewed the test on the NJ State portal, that did quite well in terms of accessibility, even now. The most common accessibility issue is missing ALT tags.

OIT is purchasing Jaws and Zoom-text to test for use in making sites accessible.

The Group divided the work to be done in broad categories.

  1. Policy -- draft accessibility objectives by looking at other states.
    Have CIO come up with a policy statement.
    Articulate how the federal government's law affects states.
  2. Education -- training in various options; have test cases; take field trips -- to Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired Center in New Brunswick; use online Bulletin Boards; have resident experts/mentors; check to see if the feds have any demos.
  3. Dissemination and sharing of information about making pages accessible.
  4. Priority Development plan - Decide that everything from a designated point be required to be compliant; determine what's important to retrofit; have each department select, by their own criteria, their priorities for making pages compliant.

In the next six months:
Develop policy
Have an Implementation Plan
Have an Education Plan

It was suggested that:
Minutes of 1st meeting be sent to those who attended today's meeting. Follow up be done with agencies and departments that weren't represented today. Try to reach out and get more people involved. Use meetings to share experiences in making corrections as part of each agenda --

The meetings were set for 3rd Thursday of each month.

For the next meeting on the 3rd Thursday in August, August 19, review the major requirements of Section 508; have imput from the entire Group about policy statements and recommendations in order to have small group draft policy document.

If there are any corrections or additions needed to these minutes, please send them to Jim Powers.


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