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E and IT Brochure
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT¿ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY for Oklahomans with Disabilities
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
WHAT MAKES INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?
Universal Design - developing products that are usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design. These products accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. Universal design principles reduces the need for assistive technology, results in products compatible with assistive technology, and creates a product that works better for everyone, not just people with disabilities.
WHAT IS ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY? Accessible IT means that users are able to interact with the technology in the ways that work best for them. Accessible IT provides information in more than one way such as: auditory feedback from a computer for a person who is blind; closed captioning on a video for a person who is deaf. Accessible IT may also be compatible with the assistive technology used by an individual with a disability.
WHAT IS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT)? Assistive technology refers to products that people with disabilities use to access environments and activities that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to access. It enables individuals to accomplish daily living tasks, such as dressing or eating; it assists in communication, and provides greater access to education, employment, and recreation. Examples of assistive technology include wheelchairs, hand controls for cars, communications aids, and hearing aids. Specific to IT are assistive technology products that help people with disabilities use computers, software, the Internet, telephones and other IT. Examples: a keyboard with large keys, an adapted mouse, a screen reader for people who are blind, screen enlargement software, or a device that speaks out loud for people with speech impairments.
WHY CREATE ACCESSIBLE IT? Just as buildings that have ramps and elevators are more accessible to wheelchair users, accessible IT is more usable by people with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities. Accessible IT makes good economic sense. Creating accessible information systems used in facilities and programs requires planning ahead. By applying universal design principles, we can make sure that all individuals can participate. Accessible IT environments allow all members of the community to participate and share information; it reduces workers compensation costs; in education it lowers the need for special accommodations, and it reduces or eliminates the risk of complaints and potentially costly legal actions.
Accessible information is critical in this era of reliance on information technology. -In 2000, about 24 million Americans used the Internet. -About 54 million Americans have some type of disability.
LAWS AND GUIDELINES
Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities, requires program accessibility and reasonable accommodations for qualified persons with disabilities. The ADA can be interpreted to apply to information technology and Web accessibility.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - indicates recipients of federal funds (e.g., educational programs, online services, library and registration services) may not discriminate against people with disabilities based on their disability status.
Publication produced by Oklahoma ABLE Tech at Oklahoma State University and funded by the Disability Law Resource Project, Region IV, in Houston, TX, NIDRR Grant No. H133D010210.
Sections of this document were developed by and reprinted with the permission of the University of Washington and AccessIT (www.washington.edu/accessit).
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