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The Collaborative Road to Maine State Web Accessibility. Kelly Hokkanen, Kathy Record, Ellen Wood State Web Accessibility Sub-Committee Maine.gov - the official Web portal of the state of Maine. Objectives. Describe Maine’s collaborative path to increasing access to government web sites

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the collaborative road to maine state web accessibility

The Collaborative Road to Maine State Web Accessibility

Kelly Hokkanen, Kathy Record, Ellen Wood

State Web Accessibility Sub-Committee

Maine.gov - the official Web portal of the state of Maine

objectives
Objectives
  • Describe Maine’s collaborative path to increasing access to government web sites
  • Discuss Maine’s web standards
  • Describe Maine templates developed for Dreamweaver to support a consistent, accessible, and usable government web site.
background
Background
  • 1997 “Maine’s Opportunity: Maximizing Economic Potential conference”
    • Ensuring Information Technology provides access for ALL Maine citizens
    • White Paper with Guiding principles & recommendations
  • 1999 Legislation passed to create InforME, Maine’s e-government partner and portal
maine s it accessibility committee
Maine’s IT Accessibility Committee
  • Government Information Services Policy Board recognizes State commitment to people with disabilities
  • Establish accessibility committee - 1998, Charter in 1999
  • More than web…”to integrate accessibility into our everyday business processes and practices”
  • Maine Government Accessibility Committee
accessibility committee charter
Accessibility Committee Charter
  • Propose and maintain standards for information technology accessibility
  • Expand and maintain an evaluation methodology for current and future information technology endeavors
  • Prepare periodic updates on technology, ADA compliance, and other legal requirements
  • Complete an annual report on previous year\'s accomplishments and proposed future work plan
  • Work in partnership with the Accessible Information Technology Coordinator on identifying issues and providing technicalassistance and solutions
  • Annual Reports –these reports go to Governor’s, Cabinet, Commissioner, Maine State Library government publications
the web problem
The Web Problem
  • What we knew: The Web is a critical means by which the State communicates with the public
  • Where we were:
    • Everyone did their “own thing”
    • Many sites unusable & inaccessible
    • No compliance to standards, lack of consistency, browser compatibility issues, not forward compatible, costly to maintain, lack of accountability
roadblocks to accessibility
Roadblocks to Accessibility
  • No coordinated state plan or management for web presence
  • Costs
  • Lack of accessibility training and information
  • Resistance to change; ownership issues
  • No accountability
  • No enforcement of accessibility policy
  • No web standards
solutions policy leadership
Solutions – Policy & Leadership
  • Accessibility Committee wrote Maine State government web accessibility policy
    • adopted by the Information Services Policy Board July 2001
  • CIO became champion for accessibility initiative: Top IT official is accountable
  • CIO hired half-time IT accessibility coordinator
  • CIO provided a budget
  • Web accessibility sub-committee formed & developed an action plan
steps for change
Steps for Change
  • 2002
    • Launched new state accessibility website - "one stop shopping" for those looking for IT accessibility information.
  • 2003
    • Summer intern researched issues to bring Maine State websites into compliance with State policy– Web accessibility recommendations
    • Updated web accessibility policy & more usable format for implementation guidelines
2004 steps for change
2004 Steps for Change
  • Accessibility Committee & IT Accessibility Coordinator, Kathy Record, worked on accountability & standards
  • Web Design Consistency Initiative – collaboration & support by Accessibility Committee, Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Department of Administrative and Financial Services, & InforME
    • InforME: Maine’s e-Government Partner and the winner of the Center for Digital Government’s 2004 Best of the Web competition.
  • Web Sub-Committee established
    • Focused on prioritizing and implementing Web Accessibility Plan recommendations
    • 5 Action Areas for 2004-05 goals
committee action 1 training
Committee Action 1: Training
  • Make basic web design training available for every state employee who works on web pages affiliated with Maine State Government.
    • InforME provides monthly webmaster training
    • Committee offers quarterly free half-day accessibility workshops open to state webmasters and their managers.
  • Review the current training course curriculum and the process for selecting training instructors
  • Issues- costs, time away from job, levels of skills, what to teach, who trains
committee action 2 web resources
Committee Action 2: Web Resources
  • Transition webmasters to one software
    • Support & training only for Dreamweaver
  • Each agency should have access to web testing and accessibility tools on at least one computer.
    • Committee purchased HiSoftware: 50 licenses of AccVerify/AccRepair, Hi-Caption, Link Checker
    • Enterprise evaluation with AccMonitor
    • All provided to agencies at NO cost
  • Develop Webmaster Resource Center Website and online forum
    • Set up by InforME, Fall 2004
committee action 3 evaluation governance
Committee Action 3: Evaluation & Governance
  • Purchased enterprise accessibility evaluation software
    • Chose HiSoftware’s AccMonitor
  • Evaluate all state sites at least twice a year for accessibility
    • Hisoftware’s AccMonitor initial run Spring 2005 with ongoing quarterly reports
  • Agencies must develop internal web management plan
    • identify roles and responsibilities, site monitoring and evaluation, content maintenance, oversight, user feedback and other aspects of site management.
    • Web sites need project management and planning
committee action 4 personnel
Committee Action 4: Personnel
  • Require all agencies to appoint a primary web coordinator
    • Responsible for ensuring compliance to all state standards
  • Create Webmaster Directory for communications and security purposes
    • Mandate that all state employees who have access to and work on state web pages register with the Office of the CIO, using the directory
  • Issues
    • Use of employees who have both time and training to design professional pages,
    • Fewer working on pages, less problems
    • HR and job classification
    • Pages meeting standards
    • Accountability & communication of policies
    • Support of senior management important
web standards
Web Standards

Purpose:

  • Web is one of the most important means by which the State communicates with the public
  • An agency\'s website may be the only interface that a citizen or business has with a particular agency
  • Maine state government\'s presence on the Internet must be professional, comprehensive and coordinated.
  • All state websites must be accessible to the broadest possible audience and easy to understand and use.
web standards business value
Web Standards – Business Value
  • Reinforce Maine.gov identity and make it clear to users they are on a Maine state site
  • Provide consistency and continuity in website appearance
  • Improve the quality, usability and accessibility of State websites for the public
  • Ensure that critical state links appear on all agency sites
  • Integrate agency sites and the portal, to support the "one government" approach
  • Increase efficiency of website development and management by agencies
web standards developed
Web Standards Developed
  • Web standards revised and passed by Information Service Policy Board, Spring 2005
  • Governor’s Order, Jan. 2005 charging CIO and InforME to develop accessible web templates that all departments will utilize to ensure unified e-government web services
scope of standards
Scope of Standards
  • These standards apply to all agencies within the Executive Branch of Maine State Government. In addition, all sites must comply with the Web Accessibility Policy of the State of Maine
  • Web design and content requirements
    • Maine.gov header
    • Design templates – Developed at no cost to government by InforME
    • Style Guide
  • Agency Site Management Plan
  • Webmaster Directory
  • Website Coordinators
  • Approved Web Software: Macromedia Dreamweaver
summary of standards benefits
Summary of Standards Benefits
  • Improved usability for the public
  • Professional presentation
  • Improved accessibility for all users
  • Consistent branding of state sites
  • Browser compatibility, standard code, fast download
  • Easier development and maintenance by agencies
  • Reduced costs
next steps
Next Steps
  • Support webmasters in transitioning to templates with resources and training
  • Continue monthly InforME webmaster meetings with targeted training
  • Hold monthly web coordinators meetings
  • Monitor level of accessibility through quarterly AccMonitor testing
  • Full Accessibility Committee broader initiatives – More PR, studying legal aspects, network with others
  • E-government Manager position from Office of Information Technology
  • Continue summer intern program
agency leadership makes a difference
Agency Leadership makes a Difference
  • With the strong support of the State Librarian and the Deputy Librarian, Maine State Library is reporting close to a 100% web accessibility compliance for Maine’s Web Accessibility Policy
  • Other key factors for Maine State Library:
    • Use of the templates, InforME’s training, HiSoftware’s tools, Dreamweaver /Contribute accessibility settings, and the continual support of InforME and the CIO’s Accessibility Coordinator
another template example maine s fall foliage
Another Template Example – Maine’s Fall Foliage
  • Some flexibility in color scheme, header, use/non-use of right navigation
template accessibility features skip nav
Template Accessibility Features – Skip Nav
  • “Skip navigation” links (required by federal Section 508)
    • These “invisible” links allow a blind user with screen reader software to skip over repetitive header and navigation links and move directly to the page’s main content.
    • Two levels of “skip” links are included: Skip header links, & skip to content.
template accessibility features text nav
Template Accessibility Features –Text Nav

Text navigation

  • Very few graphics are used in the templates.
  • All navigation is text.
  • This is more accessible than graphical text, since it can be enlarged as needed.
  • It also downloads more quickly.
  • Uses CSS
template accessibility features alternative navigation systems
Template Accessibility Features – Alternative navigation systems
  • Search and site map available from every page. Specific to each site.
  • A textual site map provides information about how the site is organized.
  • Breadcrumb trail navigation provides information about site organization and another way to navigate.
template accessibility features fonts
Template Accessibility Features - Fonts

Sizing & Styling

  • The State accessibility policy requires that sites use relative font sizing.
  • Effective font sizing within the style sheets that meets all accessibility requirements and is cross-browser compatible.
  • All font styling and sizing comes from the style sheets automatically.
template accessibility features css
Template Accessibility Features - CSS

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets

  • Separation of presentation from content
  • Allows users to control the site display to their own preferred settings
  • Provides a cleaner page that is more accessible to screen reader software, text browsers, and alternative devices.
  • Improves download speed of web pages.
template accessibility features other
Template Accessibility Features - Other
  • Consistency of layout, navigation and appearance.
  • Home link and “Contact Us” link available from every page
  • Navigation systems include clear “you are here” indicators as the user moves deeper into the site.
presenters contact information
Presenters’ Contact Information
  • Ellen Wood, Web Coordinator for Maine State Library, Chair of the State Web Accessibility Sub-Committee, [email protected], www.maine.gov/msl/
  • Kelly Hokkanen, Director of Creative Services, InforME: Information Resource of Maine, and member of Web Accessibility Sub-Committee, [email protected], www.maine.gov
  • Kathy Record, IT Management Analyst/Accessibility Coordinator, Office of the CIO, [email protected], www.maine.gov/cio/
resources mentioned in order of appearance
Resources mentioned (in order of appearance)
  • Maine.gov - the official Web portal of the state of Maine http://www.maine.gov/
  • White Paper with Guiding principles & recommendations -http://www.mainecite.org/docs/wpaper.htm
  • Maine State Accessibility Committee http://www.maine.gov/CIO/accessibility/committee.htm
  • Accessibility Annual Reports http://www.maine.gov/CIO/accessibility/annualreports.htm
  • Website Accessibility Policy of the State of Maine http://www.maine.gov/CIO/accessibility/policy/webpolicy.htm
  • Office of the CIO Accessibility web site http://www.maine.gov/CIO/accessibility/index.htm
  • Web accessibility recommendations http://www.maine.gov/msl/accessibility/recommend03.htm
  • Accessibility policy implementation guidelines http://www.maine.gov/CIO/accessibility/policy/guideline1.htm
  • InforME: Maine’s E-Government Partner http://www.maine.gov/informe/
  • HiSoftware http://www.hisoftware.com/
  • Maine State Library http:www.maine.gov/msl/
  • Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/
  • Maine’s Fall Foliage http://www.mainefoliage.com
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