It Takes a Village
What Moves Us, What Guides Us
Online Means: If you can't get to us, we can still reach you. With help. With resources. With knowledge. The screenshot of the map above was generated by Opportunity 360's Opportunity Zone Eligibility Tool in which areas of hardship and poverty are highlighted with a goal of driving capital to low-income communities. There's a strong relationship between disabilitity and poverty; in poverty, access to transportation and time to accomodate health problems are both problematic. Content that is online removes the barriers of health and wealth needed to get that precious content.
Technology can -- and does -- level the playing field in a way that no one person can. There is absolutely no question, that we are better and stronger with technology, and especially, any technology that can bring education across barriers.
Technology Empowers, But Still Needs Your Involvement
Technology cannot do it alone. Automated systems, such as accessibility checkers are great -- but they need human oversight. In its Overview of Testing Methods for 508 Conformance Section508.gov warns us that automated systems have their limitations:
"Take advantage of high volume (automated) 508 compliance scanning tools, but be aware of their limitations."
GSA Government-wide IT Accessibility Program as accessed 4 January 2019
That Means: You Matter Most
Technology is absolutely nothing without real people committed to the cause. Without personal, and very human drive, technology doesn't serve. It demands. You've got to have a vision so that you drive the technology, and you do not allow it to drive you. You may want to read the online article from Inside Higher Ed: Technology Can Address Digital Accessibility -- to an Extent By Mark Lieberman May 2, 2018. Below is an excerpt from the article.
“If you’re starting with the technology, you’re doing it wrong,” Nemeroff said. “In my experiences, it’s mostly an issue of perspective to show where these problems could arise for specific individuals and people really understanding that.”
Work From Strength
You have a lot going for you. You care. Your community cares. And, as an institution, you are remarkable. There's many levels of strength here, and we'll take advantage of them to make great progress!
Your strengths are:
- The People You Work With
- The Technology Behind Adobe
- The Technology Behind Microsoft
- The Commitment and Ability of the Staff at Facilities
Your Country Is Behind You
As a nation, we care about inclusiveness. That's why we have whole departments dedicated to accessibility. And they have resources to help.
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education provides some great resources about the education of children with disabilities. A page that answers frequently asked quesitons on the topic may be found at Protecting Students With Disabilities
Check out the test site at Section 508.gov. You'll find plenty of resources made available by the full force and will of our own beloved nation.
Office of Accessible Systems & Technology
This is actually part of the Department of Homeland Security. They work in concert with Section 508; Find out more by going to their website, which has a special page for discussion of accessible technology -- not just the web.
Keep In Mind: Things Change Over Time
Keep In Mind: Documents Aren't Just Text
They are also mathematical equations, or sheets of music....
Poor health steals the wealth of students with disabilities, and also steals the wealth of their families. Poor families have it even harder. Putting assets online helps level the playing field.
Among those ages 35 to 44, 43% of those living below the FPL have lost one or both parents, compared to 28% for those living in households with an income-to-poverty ratio of at least 400% of the FPL.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Parental Mortality is Linked to a Variety of Socio-economic and Demographic Factors
Standards Are Our Friend.
We LOVE standards. They allow everybody to work from the same page. To unite our efforts. To fight a common cause. Don't be intimidated by them. They are your friend, and mine. In terms of online accessibility, there are some you should familiarize yourself with first. WCAG. ATAG. Section 508 (generally thought of as accessibility standards for the physical world, but now interface with the virtual world because of modern technology).
We Work According To WCAG
WCAG is an acronymn for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Many accessibility evaluators use WCAG 2.0, a WC3 Recommendation from 11 December 2008. However, whereever possible, we used the more recent, and updated, guidelines from WCAG 2.1 which, as of this writing, was last updated 05 June 2018.
But Because WCAG Is A Web Standard, WCAG Alone Is Not Enough
Understanding WCAG requirements alone is not enough. There must be an understanding that the technology that displays the document is as important as the document itself. This is where ATAG (Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines) comes in. ATAG is guidance that companies, such as Adobe and Microsoft, must follow in order to make software that enables you to make accessible documents.
An overview of the WCAG2ICT may be found at the page for Applying WCAG Content to Non-Web ICT.. In answering the question, "Who WCAG2ICT is for", the answer is:"WCAG2ICT is for ICT managers, ICT developers, policy makers, and others wanting to understand how WCAG 2.0 can be applied to non-web documents and software." WCAG2ICT Overview | As Accessed 4 February 2019 Guidance from the W3C on Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies. is the landing spot where the W3C tried to address this problem specifically. They provide case-by-case scenarios of using the WCAG standard, and then providing additional guidance for Non-Web Documents and Software
It's always about paired technology. An excerpt follows below: (as accessed February 2019)
Note: non-web content occurs in two places; documents and software. When content occurs in a document, a user agent is needed in order to communicate the content's information and sensory experience to the user. When content occurs in software, a separate user agent isn't required—the software itself performs that function.
Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology
Guidance from the Section 508.
Guidance from the Ergonomics of human-system interaction -- Part 171: Guidance on software accessibility This standard was last reviewed and confirmed in 2018. Therefore this version remains current, as accessed February 2019.
Is ISO/IEC 40500 the same as WCAG 2.0?
Yes, according to the WCAG 2 page for FAQ.
Words To Live By
Luis Morais 9:19 pm on August 26, 2005 | A List Apart - PDF Accessibility