Product Accessibility

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Encourage transparancy regarding accessibility of electronic and information technology procurements.

Product Accessibility

screen reader users cannot cast votes in this dialogue!

How on Earth can we be having an online dialogue about improving implementation of Section 508 using a platform that, itself, is not compliant with Section 508? Those of us who use screen readers cannot even vote on the ideas! Giving us an inaccessible platform on which to cast our votes for aspects of an issue that is so vitally important to our ability to access information and participate in the federal workforce ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Product testing for 508 compliance

Currently each agency is making determinations as to whether a product is 508 compliant. A central location for sharing product testing for accessibility, by product name and version, would save each agency from having to replicate testing over and over again. We could start with major applications such as Windows and Lotus Notes. Most agencies are spending significant dollars to make some major procurements, such ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Why not a "GSA schedule" for accessible products?

A lot of us focus on documents and web sites, but we should also talk about software and other products. Why can't there be a list of software tools or hardware devices? Nothing gets on the list unless it actually meets the full 508. There can be all the boundary setting and disclaimers about what an agency does with the product, but it seems like an incredible waste of effort for every agency to have to check basic ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Website to Learn from Mistakes/Success

The problem with the language of the rules and regulations is that they are open for interpretation and each company implementing a new application or site can interpret differently. I think an official site that contains a running archive of compliant vs. non compliant examples of actual implementations for each rule/regulation (and why they have that status) would be helpful. That way, you could check your implementation/idea ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Restrict use of “conforming alternate versions” of websites.

Do not support the broad use of alternate conforming websites. Support the narrow use of alternate conforming websites only as a last resort and preferably as a temporary measure on the way to full accessibility of the non-conforming version. It is the Rehabilitation Act’s stated policy that “all programs, projects, and activities receiving assistance under this Act shall be carried out in a manner consistent with the ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Contribute to Free Software Tools & Open Standards

There's a great deal of benefit in contributing to the accessibility of Open Source tools like Drupal, jQuery, WordPress & OpenLayers. Aside from benefiting many government departments by improving the core tools available to every government department, the investment benefits everyone. It is a benefit to business, NPO's & educational institutions when government invests in and contributes back to open source tools. ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Use an Evaluation matrix instead of VPATS in procurement

VPATS as the name implies is voluntary and federal agencies cannot hold the the vendor to compliance based on a VPAT. Instead an evaluation matrix is more effective as you make the vendors respond to the applicable provisions for their products and score them based on their compliance. This ensure fair and open competition as per the FAR and also ensures the agency buys the most compliant product. When vendors respond ...more »

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Product Accessibility

It all come back to Top down Agency awareness with Section 508

Very interesting conversation going on and from my perspective I see everything coming back to increased awareness. When we talk about Product Accessibility you have to first distinguish which “product” you are talking about. Put into the process of the current law it can be any product that we use, develop, maintain or procure. You’re talking about almost everyone within your organization needing to be aware of Section ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Updating the Section 508 standards - 1194.2

Section 508 as it relates to technology (1194.21, 1194.22) should be evaluated and updated on a regular basis. Technology changes rapidly, and the standards are sorely outdated. This means meeting these standards as a software vendor while still enhancing and advancing the product is difficult and costly. It can also result in poor overall user experience by government employees because it may limit the advancements ...more »

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Product Accessibility

Use Only HTML Forms & Docs! Avoid Flash, PDF, Word, Excel, etc.

Avoid the use of these proprietary formats which require external plugins and are usually never accessible. HTML is always the most accessible and universal format that works on all devices from Cell Phones to Kindles to iPads. HTML is open source and does not require expensive tools like Adobe Acrobat Professional or Flash to develop. HTML is indexable by search engines and makes it easier for the public to find the ...more »

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7 votes
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Product Accessibility

Scan the technology horizon

It's common to see a new kind of product emerge and upset the applecart of accessibility, usually without any warning. When the vendor is approached about accessibility, their answer may be, "We'll fix that in the next release." In the meantime, customers are stuck with an inaccessible product. To get out of this reactive mode, how about a project that identifies technologies that are 3-5 years away from the market? ...more »

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Product Accessibility

The sole source

The sole source justification is often used as a loop hole to buy non compliant products in federal agencies. There are some genuine sole source products which are crucial to the functioning of the agencyand are not compliant. Even if they invoke the sole source justification agencies should work with the vendors and formulate a mitigation plan and a timeline to bring the product into compliance. So even if the product ...more »

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