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Transforming eGov Accessibility

Judy Brewer (W3C)
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What are the requirements for accessibility of eGovernment services? Why is this an important aspect of inclusive eGovernment services, and who benefits from accessibility? How can accessibility goals most efficiently be achieved?

This session briefly reviews current and requirements for accessibility of government websites, which are in the process of changing to address the dynamic interactive nature of Web 2.0. It also briefly reviews the impact of web accessibility not only on individuals with disabilities and older users, but also on users of mobile devices and users who may experience other barriers to use of the web, such as reading or language barriers.

The main focus will be on how to transform eGovernment services to be more accessible. The session will provide an in-depth orientation to the latest resources for accessible web development. These include W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and multiple layers of supporting technical and educational resources. WCAG 2.0 addresses development of web content that is perceivable, operable, understandable and robust—providing more flexibility for developers, yet allowing more precise conformance testing. It will describe how to use Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) to develop accessible interactive websites.

The session will highlight successful strategies and best practices for transforming websites, including business-case and project-management driven approaches; evaluation tools and methodologies; and selection of authoring tools that conform to the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 and that can greatly facilitate transformation of websites.

The session will also address the intersection between accessibility and the mobile web. The Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C has produced a suite of resources to support developers of mobile eGov applications in ensuring accessibility of web content on mobile devices. It will also look at the development of more closely harmonized international standards that can reinforce efficiency in web accessibility by driving the development of authoring tools that support production of accessible web content.

Photo of Judy Brewer

Judy Brewer

W3C

Judy Brewer directs the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She has coordinated five areas of work with regard to Web accessibility since 1997, ensuring that W3C technologies (HTML, CSS, SMIL, XML, etc.) support accessibility; developing accessibility guidelines for Web content and applications, browsers and media players, and authoring tools; improving tools for evaluation and repair of Web sites; developing resources for education and outreach on Web accessibility; and monitoring research and development which may impact future accessibility of the Web. WAI guidelines include the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, developed through a collaborative effort with individuals and organizations around the world, and adopted by an increasing number of governments to ensure accessibility of the Web for people with disabilities.

Ms. Brewer coordinates accessibility standardization efforts for W3C, promoting awareness and implementation of Web accessibility internationally, and ensuring effective dialog among industry, the disability community, accessibility researchers and government on development of consensus-based accessibility solutions. She holds a research appointment at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and is a consultant with the European Research Consortium on Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM).

Ms. Brewer is the recipient of a RESNA Certificate of Appreciation for efforts related to assistive technology policy through national health care reform; an Equality of Access and Opportunity Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for advocacy to increase the accessibility of the Windows 95 operating system; and an Access Advancement Award from the Association of Access Engineering Specialists for efforts related to Web accessibility. She was named in the August, 2000 issue of Internet World as one of the “Net’s Rising Stars.” She received the Harry J. Murphy Catalyst Award at the CSUN 2002 Conference; the Roland Wagner European Award for Computers Assisting People with Special Needs in 2002; and the Susan G. Hadden Pioneer Award from the Alliance for Public Technology in 2003.

Prior to joining W3C, Ms. Brewer worked on several US-based initiatives to increase access to mainstream technology for people with disabilities and to improve dialog between industry and the disability community. These initiatives included work on Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act, Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, accessibility of the Windows 95 Operating System, and access to durable medical equipment for people with disabilities. Ms. Brewer has a background in management, technical writing, education, applied linguistics, and disability advocacy; and an interest in biotechnology.

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