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WGBH/MIT Collaboration Yields Expanded Access Guidelines

From: geoff freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: 04 Feb 2003 17:00:35 -0500
Message-ID: <-1167744464geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media Publishes Updated  and Expanded Guidelines for Making Software and Web Sites Accessible

Print and On-line Versions Available Free of Charge

Boston, MA (February 2003).  Publishers, educational programmers and Web site developers are increasingly aware that they must include students with disabilities in their audience to comply with a range of accessibility regulations. However, few developers understand why access is a critical need or how to provide it in their products. A newly updated and expanded publication from the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), "Making Educational Software and Web Sites Accessible: Design Guidelines Including Math and Science Solutions," addresses both these points in detail.

The original guidelines, published in 2000, represented an ambitious initiative to capture access challenges and solutions and present them in a format specifically designed to educate and assist software developers.  The current set of guidelines builds on the original document, and offers further lessons learned from a four-year collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) called Access to PIVoT (Physics Interactive Video Tutor).

With funding from the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/) and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF, http://www.meaf.org/), NCAM and MIT’s staff added accessibility enhancements to PIVoT, a sophisticated and comprehensive on-line physics resource.  Along the way, tools and strategies for making less-daunting subject matter accessible emerged, and are now available in the new publication.

"NCAM has just released these long-awaited guidelines, and they are well worth the wait.  Curriculum developers and designers of on-line educational materials will greatly benefit from the information contained in these guidelines.  While accessible software and Web sites help meet the needs of deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired users, these guidelines effectively advance the theory that non-disabled users always gain from accessibility enhancements.  While this information is crucial for students and faculty in higher education, they will benefit K-12 at one end and working professionals at the other end."

						Norm Coombs, Ph.D.
						Professor Emeritus
						Rochester Institute of Technology

In the guidelines, readers will find:
-  a basic understanding of the needs of users with different disabilities.
-  a summary of various approaches to serve users with different disabilities.
-  specific solutions for designing more accessible software.
-  guidelines with specific checkpoints and detailed techniques for implementation.
-  extensive information on making multimedia presentations accessible to students who are deaf or blind
-  examples of writing image descriptions for blind students
-  solutions for making forms and databases accessible
-  information on making electronic and on-line textbooks accessible.

"Making Educational Software and Web Sites Accessible: Design Guidelines Including Math and Science Solutions" is available free of charge in print and on the Web in a fully accessible version. Request print copies (bulk orders accepted) by sending an e-mail to mary_watkins@wgbh.org or by calling 617 300-3400 voice, 617 300-2489 TTY.  Read the guidelines on line at: http://ncam.wgbh.org/cdrom/guideline/.

CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)
NCAM and its fellow access departments at WGBH, The Caption Center and Descriptive Video Service®, make up the Media Access Group at WGBH.  WGBH pioneered captioning and video description on television, the Web and in movie theaters.  NCAM is a founding member of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  NCAM works with standards bodies, industry, consumer organizations and educators to develop and implement non-proprietary technical standards for multimedia, advanced television, and convergent media that ease implementation, foster growth and lay common groundwork for equal access to new technologies.  For more information visit http://access.wgbh.org.

WGBH Boston
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of nearly one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup and companion online content as well as many public radio favorites. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit http://www.wgbh.org.

Contact:  Mary Watkins/Media Access Group at WGBH
617 300-3700 voice 
617 300-2459 TTY

Received on Tuesday, 4 February 2003 17:01:06 UTC

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