July 26, 2000 Phone: 860-622-2417
NEW ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS ADOPTED FOR CONNECTICUT STATE WEB SITE
Rock Regan, Chief Information Officer of the State Department of Information Technology (DOIT), announced an initiative to improve the accessibility of the state web site ( www.state.ct.us ) to people with disabilities, including more than 100,000 state residents with visual impairment.
Under the initiative, state agencies having a presence on the state's website, ConneCT, will incorporate the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, which are among the most stringent accessibility standards available today. The new policy takes effect July 26, 2000, the tenth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law ten years ago, the internet as we know it today did not exist," Regan said. "Today it is an everyday tool for delivery of information and government services." The ConneCT web site was established in 1996 and receives more than 11,500 visits per day, or 29 million per year. On the site, citizens can download over 240 forms to apply for licenses, permits and registrations through Connecticut's Licensing Information Center. The site offers thousands of pages of useful information, from state park locations to public health reports.
"The internet will be increasing in importance as we continue to lay the groundwork for statewide e-government," Regan said. "We must work to ensure people with visual impairment and other populations with disabilities have access to this important resource."
Under the initiative, planned by the ConneCT Management Advisory Committee (CMAC), agency webmasters will work to ensure web site content adheres to these new standards and that existing content be upgraded by January 1, 2002.
DOIT, in conjunction with CMAC, is organizing training for state webmasters in the use of the W3C standards. Regan commended the work of CMAC'S Accessibility Subcommittee, chaired by Kathleen Anderson of the Office of State Comptroller Nancy Wyman. The subcommittee worked with the Board of Education and Services for the Blind
(BESB), the Office of Protection and Advocacy, the Connecticut State Library, and other agency representatives in formulating the new standards. The state web site is managed by the CMAC, a unique collaborative effort between agencies and organizations across all three branches of Connecticut state government.
"Since 1995, accessibility standards have been in place and continuously refined," said John Forbes, Chairman of CMAC. "This is the next step to ensure Connecticut is being vigilant in opening up the web to all populations."
Kathleen Anderson, Webmaster
State of Connecticut, Office of the State Comptroller
55 Elm Street, Room 101, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
voice: (860) 702-3355 fax: (860) 702-3634
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