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please read:Fw: TOURBUS -- 2 APR 03 -- MORE 508 STUFF

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2003 07:16:06 -0500
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <006401c2f9da$d02c8300$6501a8c0@handsontech>

I am posting this issue in its entirety so as not to violate its integrety.
This is good for all of us not just section 508.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Douglas Crispen" <crispen@NETSQUIRREL.COM>
To: <TOURBUS@LISTSERV.AOL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2003 1:45 AM
Subject: TOURBUS -- 2 APR 03 -- MORE 508 STUFF


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               TOURBUS Volume 8, Number 47 -- 2 Apr 2003
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          Visit the Tourbus Home Page at http://www.TOURBUS.com !


                         Today's Tourbus Stop:
                            More 508 Stuff

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange
curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, filmed in front of a live
studio audience.

Fellow TOURBUS rider Valerie asks

     Can you please tell me what "from deep behind the orange curtain
     in beautiful Irvine, California, hog butcher to the world" means?
     I wonder with every issue!

Well, Valerie, there are two answers to your question.  First, despite
what you may have heard, the "orange curtain" reference does *NOT*
mean that my home was decorated in a 1960's Howard Johnson's motif.

Most everyone in the world knows of Los Angeles, and some even think
that LA stretches from Malibu to the Mexico border.  But smack dab
between Los Angeles and San Diego is Orange County, a world both
COMPLETELY unto itself and as vehemently UN-Los Angeles as a place can
get.  Hence the "orange curtain" quote.

As for the "hog butcher to the world" quote, back when I was living in
beautiful Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I ran out of things to say about my
hometown.  So in 2000 I just started making stuff up, saying that
Tuscaloosa was the "financial capital of the new European Union," the
"gateway to the Adriatic," and [one of my favorites] the " midpoint of
the emperor penguin's annual migratory route."

When I moved from beautiful Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to beautiful Irvine,
California [a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow
breadlike crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce, cheese, and often
other toppings, such as sausage or olives], I decided to keep the
"let's make stuff up about my hometown" tradition alive.

I hope this clears things up.  :)

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  Please
take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our
little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.


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On with the show ...

--------------
More 508 Stuff
--------------

Last week we talked about both section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
and sites you can visit to learn how to make your Web pages 508
compliant.  I received a BUNCH of email about that post.

Pat writes

     Here in NYS, we must adhere to the W3C guidelines for website
     accessibility.  They are SLIGHTLY different than the Section 508
     ones.  I have lots of links at

     <A HREF="http://www.mhric.org/pat/resources.html">
     http://www.mhric.org/pat/resources.html </A>

     on this topic.  I have been teaching Website Accessibility for
     several years now. In fact, it became policy in NYS in December
     of 2000: a full 6 months before the federal law in June of 2001..

JL adds that

     most states have also adopted ADA web site compliance directives.
     Consequently most state's web sites, sub-sites, agency sites,
     must comply with 508 standards.

     Since I commonly work with underfunded conservation districts and
     environmental nonprofits who typically have web work done by
     volunteers, I have free online workshops on Accessibility and
     security issues at:

     <A HREF="http://www.cyber-sierra.com/workshops/index.htm">
     http://www.cyber-sierra.com/workshops/index.htm </A>

     The workshops are designed to help do-it-yourself types and
     beginning web designers get a handle on dealing with 508
     compliance.

If you are interested in tools to check your site for 508 compliance,
Ihor notes that

     The University of Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
     (ATRC) and the TRACE Center at the University of Wisconsin have
     jointly developed "A-Prompt", a web accessibilty verifier program.
     It does check for the 16 web design rules you mentioned in your
     article. See:

     <A HREF="http://aprompt.snow.utoronto.ca/">
     http://aprompt.snow.utoronto.ca/ </A>

     The software is available free of charge.

But what if you don't want to download any new software?  Well, "M"
has dug up a site s/he

     found to be very helpful - you can check your whole site
     for compliance:

     <A HREF="http://www.cynthiasays.com/">
     http://www.cynthiasays.com/ </A>

And, of course, don't forget Bobby at

<A HREF="http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp">
http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp </A>.

And for those of you who don't have a Web site and are wondering why
I'm even talking about section 508, here are two comments that might
interest you.  First, Phillip writes

     The U.S. government has a rule that says that any software
     considered for purchase by the government must have a statement
     describing how well the software conforms to section 508
     guidelines ...

     For now, compliance with section 508 is NOT required for the
     government to purchase your software.  The only requirement is
     that you document how well you comply.  Obviously, better
     compliance is a competitive advantage in getting a government
     contract.  This is slowly changing, however.  Although the law
     doesn't require compliance, some universities and government
     bodies are changing their individual policies to requiring
     compliance before purchasing software.

So what does this have to do with you and me?  Well, considering that
the government buys a LOT more software than you and I do, the
government's [future] requirement that the software it purchases be
508 compliant will probably mean that MOST commercial software
programs will soon be 508 compliant.

And you heard it here first. :)

Finally, Sam adds

     I just wanted to write you to thank you for covering section 508
     in one of your Tourbus newsletters.  As you are already aware
     from the numerous blind callers you get on Website Wednesday
     Nights on WGN radio, there is a large base of blind and visually-
     impaired computer users who listen to your show.  The Internet
     has proven to be both a godsend and a curse to the disabled
     community. It has provided access to information that was
     previously not available to us in a timely or economic fashion,
     but the barriers created by emerging technology and incompatible
     design have also created barriers to this information as well.
     You don't know how frustrating it is to visit a site in order to
     obtain information, conduct a transaction or fill out a form,
     only to be met with these stumbling blocks that shut the door to
     the Internet in your face.  Of course, this problem lies way
     beyond the Internet.  Much more insidious than access to the web
     is the problem of access to noncompliant software.  Unfortunately,
     enough companies still do not feel obligated to use programming
     techniques to render their software accessible to assistive
     technologies.  And of course going beyond the computer are all
     the stand-alone digital devices, DVD players, etc. which do not
     provide accessible alternatives.  It's a shame that accessibility
     has become such a hot topic only so recently.  Of course, CAST
     and Bobby, along with other accessibility tools and standards,
     have been around long before Section 508, but oftentimes it takes
     a law to wake up corporate America and get them to realize that
     they need to cater to all of their consumers.

Well said.  :)

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That's it for today.  Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again
soon.  :)

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Received on Thursday, 3 April 2003 07:16:14 GMT

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