Monday, October 22, 2012

Texas Department of Information Resources Launches Website Accessibility Scanning Program

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has announced a new program to assist state agencies, local government entities, and institutions of higher education in improving the accessibility of their public websites for people with disabilities. DIR will utilize web accessibility scanning services from Virginia-based Deque through a DIR cooperative contract with Knowbility, Inc., an Austin-based accessibility services vendor.

DIR logo
This new program will help agencies ensure that their websites are accessible to all Texas citizens, regardless of ability, by improving accessibility levels of public facing web pages. The service scans and analyzes key portions of agency public websites and provides precise information on accessibility errors found.

“The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) understands that full inclusion and accessibility allows Texans with disabilities to participate fully in state government and its programs and services,” said Angi English, Executive Director of GCPD. “This new DIR program will assist Texas government public websites achieve this imperative.”

“This accessibility program is the first of its kind as it encompasses a large cross section of state agencies,” said Karen Robinson, State CIO and DIR Executive Director. “It is a cost-effective approach to improve and monitor key elements of website accessibility for the state, and we believe that it can serve as a model for other states to follow.”

“We are delighted to support DIR’s goal of providing an accessible online experience for government sites in the state of Texas,” said Preety Kumar, CEO of Deque Systems. “Deque’s tools will help to support the important efforts that are underway to ensure that online users with disabilities will be able to access the important information and services that appear throughout the network of sites that the state administers.”

“The program will use a graduated approach, ramping up to bring agencies into the scanned environment over a number of months;” according to Jeff Kline, Statewide Electronic and Information Resources Accessibility Coordinator at DIR. “We selected a scanning model that provides high benefit at a very low cost on a per agency basis. We elected to scan the top 150 pages per agency, which are typically the most frequently visited or most important pages.” Once fully deployed, the accessibility scanning services will include nearly every state agency and state-funded institution of higher education.

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Source: GAATES