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OK ABLE Tech Oklahoma's Assistive Technology Program

Accessible Electronic and Information Technology

Oklahoma's Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility web site at www.accessibility.ok.gov 

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (E and IT)?  E and IT includes products that store, process, transmit, convert, duplicate, or receive electronic information. Examples of E and IT: software applications, operating systems; web-based information and applications such as distance learning; telephones & other telecommunications products; video equipment and multimedia products that may be distributed on videotapes, CDs, DVDs, email, or the World Wide Web; office products such as photocopiers and fax machines; calculators; and computer hardware.

WHAT MAKES E and IT INACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES? E and IT may be inaccessible to people with disabilities if it provides only one way for users to gain access to information. For example, people with visual impairments cannot read instructions presented only in a visual format; people who are deaf cannot understand content that is only presented aurally; people who have limited use of their hands or arms may not use a computer mouse; and people who use wheelchairs may not be able to operate a fax machine if the controls are impossible to reach. Many of these barriers can be lowered or eliminated when technology environments are developed using an approach called "universal design."

WHAT IS ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY? Accessible E and IT means that users are able to interact with the technology in the ways that work best for them. Accessible EIT 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 EIT may also be compatible with the assistive technology used by an individual with a disability.

WHY CREATE ACCESSIBLE E and IT? Just as buildings that have ramps and elevators are more accessible to wheelchair users, accessible EIT is more usable by people with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities. Accessible EIT 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 EIT 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.

Thank you for your questions concerning Oklahoma's electronic and information technology accessibility law and standards which are based on section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. HB 2197 authorizes ABLE Tech to coordinate with the Office of State Finance and the Department of Central Services to provide technical assistance to agencies concerning the requirements of EITA in Oklahoma. This technical assistance is intended solely as informal guidance; it is not a determination of the legal rights or responsibilities of entities subject to HB 2197 or section 508.