California Digital Inclusion Program

Center for Accessible Technology

California Digital Inclusion Program

 

Improving Web Accessibility

The Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT) and California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) are working together to raise awareness of and improve web accessibility for Californians with disabilities.  As more information, commerce, and services have moved to the web, the Internet has become the "virtual front door" for many companies and institutions. While improvements in physical accessibility for people with disabilities have come far since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, many website remain largely inaccessible to many people.

CforAT launched the California Digital Inclusion Program (CDIP), a joint-initiative of CforAT and CETF to provide recognition and no-cost technical assistance to organizations interested in improving their web accessibility. From 2008-2010 CforAT reviewed 72 websites chosen by People with Disabilities as ones that they use on a regular basis and would impact millions of people given their reach.  The organizations that participated in the program and made accessibility enhancements to their websites were eligible to win a Digital Inclusion Award at the annual Awards Dinner.

As information, commerce, and services have moved to the web, the Internet has become the "virtual front door" for many companies and institutions. While improvements in physical accessibility for people with disabilities have come far since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, many website remain largely inaccessible to many people.

The California Digital Inclusion Program provided a way for organizations interested in improving the accessibility of their websites to get started with a realistic project to implement in under a year. The CforAT performed accessibility reviews of each participant's website, trained them on accessibility best practices, provided technical assistance with implementation, and helped establish internal web accessibility guidelines to assist organizations in institutionalizing web accessibility considerations into their work.

In addition, organizations completing particularly robust or innovative accessibility improvements were honored at an annual awards dinner. This dinner brought together key industry representatives, elected officials, leaders from the disability community, and web managers to highlight the work of the participants. Live demonstrations, "before and after" contrasts, and video stories showed both the impact of web accessibility barriers on real people, and the techniques for creating accessible content.

"Making websites accessible is a logical step in the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society, including the digital revolution." said Dmitri Belser, Executive Director of the Center for Accessible Technology. "

The California Digital Inclusion Program has completed three cycles, and worked with some companies and organizations that have done great work on enhancing the accessibility of their websites.

 

 

The 2008 Award Winners

San Francisco State University: Outstanding Keyboard Accessibility

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Founded in 1899, San Francisco State University awards bachelor's degrees in 115 areas, masters in 95, and a doctorate in educational leadership. The University has been named by Princeton Review one of 81 "Colleges with a Conscience," and is classified as one of the Carnegie Foundation's "Community Engagement" institutions. San Francisco State has undertaken a major effort to significantly improve web accessibility on both administrative and instructional websites. SF State is being awarded a 2008 California Digital Inclusion Award specifically for outstanding keyboard accessibility.  www.sfsu.edu

 

SeamlessWeb: Outstanding Screen Reader Accessibility

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SeamlessWeb.com provides individuals and companies with a simple way to order delivery meals and catering online from the best local restaurants. Detailed menu descriptions, estimated delivery times, saved favorites, aggregated daily specials, and restaurant reviews add to the convenience of online ordering. SeamlessWeb is receiving a 2008 California Digital Inclusion Award for its screen reader accessible forms, which make efficient online food ordering accessible to blind individuals even in instances where the individual restaurant's website may not be accessible.  www.seamless.com

 

Gap Inc.: Commitment to Web Accessibility California State University: Outstanding Leadership in Web Accessibility

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Gap Inc. is one of the world's largest specialty retailers, with more than 3,100 stores and fiscal 2007 revenues of $15.8 billion. Gap operates four of the most recognized apparel brands in the world - Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime. Gap is being awarded a 2008 California Digital Inclusion Award for commitment to web accessibility. Gap Inc. adopted web accessibility as an organizational value, as part of its overall commitment to socially responsible business practices, and has devoted company resources toward improving web accessibility on all four Gap Inc. websites.  www.gap.com

 

California State University: Outstanding Leadership in Web Accessibility

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With 23 campuses, almost 450,000 students, and 47,000 faculty and staff, the California State University (CSU) is the largest, the most diverse, and one of the most affordable university systems in the country. CSU received a 2008 California Digital Inclusion Award for its far-reaching Accessible Technology Initiative. The mission of CSU Accessible Technology Initiative is to provide its students, faculty, staff and campus community fully accessible technology environments for delivering a CSU education.  www.calstate.edu

 

 

The 2009 Winners

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART): Outstanding Low Vision and Screen Reader Accessibility

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The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is a heavy-rail transit system that carries about 350,000 riders a day. BART has 43 stations and 104 miles of tracks in four Bay Area counties. The BART website, www.bart.gov is one of the Bay Area's most heavily used regional websites, serving nearly 1 million customers a month.

 

Intel Corporation: Outstanding Intel® Reader Website

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Intel is the world's largest semiconductor chip maker. The main web page, www.intel.com averages approximately 17,000 unique visitors per month. The Intel Digital Health Group is a division of Intel that works toward technology solutions to improve quality of life, healthcare and independence. The group's newest product, the Intel® Reader, is a mobile handheld device for people who have learning disabilities, low vision or blindness, or anyone who struggles with reading standard print. It converts printed text to digital text, then reads it aloud, giving access to a variety of printed material.

 

TechSoup Global: Outstanding Accessible Multimedia Content

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San Francisco-based TechSoup Global is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides technology information to individuals and organizations in more than 190 countries, has provided consulting services in more than 50 countries and, through its global network of capacity building NGOs, manages product donations to more than 107,000 organizations in 31 countries. The techsoup.org website receives approximately 300,000 unique visitors each month.  www.techsoupglobal.org

 

 

The 2010 Winners

Social Interest Solutions: Outstanding Accessible Forms

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Social Interest Solutions (SIS) is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to leveraging technology innovation to improve consumers' quality of life. Their One-e-App technology platform enables individuals and families to identify, access, and enroll in eligible public and private health and social services. Through 2010, their enrollment and eligibility systems have screened over 6 million people for eligibility, generating more than 9 million applications to programs. In addition to California, these products have been deployed throughout Arizona, Indiana and Maryland.  www.socialinterest.org

 

Parlerai, Inc.: Outstanding Accessibility for People with Cognitive Disabilities

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Parlerai is a web-based service providing a unique set of tools combin­ing social networking, touch-screen technology, data tracking and file storage/sharing to manage the care of a person with special needs. Helping someone with a non-verbal learning disability heightens the importance of communication and collaboration among caregivers. The name Parlerai, the French word for "shall speak", captures the founders' desire to help these individuals have a voice.  www.parlerai.com

 

Clif Bar and Company: Outstanding Video Captioning

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Clif Bar & Company is a leading maker of nutritious, all-natural, organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® BAR energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®. Focused on sports nutrition and healthy snacks, the employee and family-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet.  www.clifbar.com

 

Santa Barbara School Districts: Outstanding PDF Accessibility

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Established in 1866, Santa Barbara Elementary and Secondary School Districts' (generally referred to as the Santa Barbara School Districts) educational tradition is one of the oldest in the state. The Santa Barbara School Districts today consist of 25 traditional, continuation, charter, and alternative schools on 21 campuses and serve more than 15,400 K-12 students and 500 pre-kindergarten children from diverse back­grounds.  www.sbsdK12.org

 

 

Awards Process

CDIP staff review participants' websites and suggest a tailored accessibility project in consultation with each organization.

Participating organizations achieve accessibility improvements by participating in the program and committing an average of 5 staff hours per month. Organizations with significant resources may be able to devote more staff hours and successfully complete an even larger-scale web accessibility project through the Program.

 

For more information about CDIP or assistance with web accessibility send an email to CforAT at info@cforat.org or call 510.841.3224.  You can also visit the CDIP page at http://www.cforat.org/main_page/cdip.htm for additional information.

 

For more information about web accessibility visit:

http://www.calstate.edu/accessibility/webaccessibility/web_accessibility_FAQs.shtml

 

Mr. Arteaga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luis Arteaga, Director of Emerging Markets, California Emerging Technology Fund, congratulates the 2009 award winners.

 

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The Honorable Darryl Moore, Councilman, City of Berkeley and Dmitri Belser, Executive Director, Center for Accessible Technology enjoying the celebration.

 

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Demonstration of an Intel reader to help people with disabilities.

 

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Demonstration of web accessibility using a mouth stick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.Mires

Jon Mires, CforAT, discusses the process for website evaluation and selecting the winners.