All,We are in a period of time when accessibility standards for technology are being updated in a more comprehensive manner than ever before, and our input is vital. After a decade of experience in the U.S. implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act, agencies will be refreshing their regulations to account for new technologies, fill gaps, and clarify incentives. The regulations are being harmonized, not only across federal agencies, but with international standards on usability and interoperability, such as those of the World Wide Web Consortium.
Twenty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed as a landmark civil rights law for people with disabilities, mandating universal design of our physical world wherever possible. The standard setting process underway today could be called ADA 2.0 for the virtual world. It will affect how often each of us encounters a disability-related barrier when we seek to participate in professional, community, or personal spheres of life. The virtual world is superseding the physical world at an accelerated rate, and these standards will affect our access to society for many years to come.
The good news is that a world built on software and information, rather than bricks and mortar, is much easier to make accessible. Software is malleable, with few limitations beyond the reaches of our imagination. We can thus help to create a more accessible world than any prior generations have experienced.
Though there will be successive deadlines in the standard setting process, the next one is now just a few days away, on June 21 at midnight. If you have not done so already, please consider learning about the current proposal of the U.S. Access Board, and expressing your opinion on any of its questions. An excellent set of material about this proposal has been done by the Trace Research and Development Center, available at
http://acb.org/ACB-Section-508-255-and-ADAAG-comments.htm The American Foundation for the Blind has other resources at http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=3&TopicID=135&DocumentID=5251 Regards, Jamal ** To leave the list, click on the immediately-following link:- ** [mailto:guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=unsubscribe] ** If this link doesn't work then send a message to: ** guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx ** and in the Subject line type ** unsubscribe ** For other list commands such as vacation mode, click on the ** immediately-following link:- ** [mailto:guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=faq] ** or send a message, to ** guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the Subject:- faq