Why You Must Ensure That Accessibility is Part of Your UX Process

Learn why it is a must to ensure that accessibility is part of your UX process from the beginning. Tips and tricks will be provided to assist you in simplifying this implementation. The potential negative impacts of attempting to address accessibility late in the process will be covered. Including costs, not only from a development standpoint, but also the extremely negative impact of a website compliance lawsuit.
Estimates state that 6% - 8% of the population is unable to navigate websites without the use of assistive devises and/or keyboard combinations. That's nearly 2 times the population of the United States! The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically establishing that equal access to state and local government' programs and services are a legal requirement. Furthering this cause, The Access Board revised, and updated, its standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Compliance with the section 508-based standards was required by January 18, 2018. Those not in compliance are at risk of litigation and the loss of funding. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. It's much easier to make accessibility part of your UX process from the beginning.
  2. The benefits of developing with accessibility in mind far out way the negatives.
  3. Building accessible websites is not an option, it's the law! 
     

Conference event time: 

  • 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Venue: 

  • Birmingham (Bridges)

Online Forms – Making it happen with a limited budget

Hamilton County, Indiana leverages several technologies and workflows for online forms. We support the needs of over 20 agencies, each with their own level of digital sophistication, unique business needs, and different internal systems.  We didn’t find a single method for online forms that will meet all business needs and still provide an acceptable ROI.  So, we did a gap analysis, and found products to fill the gaps. To meet project requirements and minimize overhead, we are using five different methods for online forms. The easiest is through our CMS, which lets our web editors build and maintain very basic forms. The next is Logiforms, a very robust (but economical) online form service. It is more time consuming but supports more advanced requirements and lets us incorporate Adobe Sign signatures.  We also build custom applications using ASP.NET for a few forms with very unusual requirements, such as auto-filling current property data into the form. We also have forms that submit the user's request directly to an internal workflow management system. Our most recent addition is using Cognito forms and Muhimbi to allow anonymous public users to submit forms to our intranet environment (SharePoint 365), convert them to pdf’s, and notify the appropriate staff.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The goal is to meet business needs, not finding one perfect product.
  2. Get creative in leveraging what you already have. 
  3. Small investments and incremental enhancements can make a big difference.
     

Conference event time: 

  • 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Venue: 

  • Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Diana Cleland

Web Administrator, Hamilton County, Indiana
Diana Cleland, Web Administrator, Hamilton County, Indiana

Diana has 25 years of technical experience. Beginning as an Architectural CAD Technician, she moved into GIS administration and development. In 2000, she became the Web Administrator for Hamilton County, Indiana; addressing the web needs of over 20 agencies. She designed, built, and maintained their website, developed dynamic data applications and a Calendar CMS.

Sessions: 

Open Data for Direct Public Engagement

The burgeoning open government data movement focuses largely on passive engagement: agencies publish raw data, reports, and possibly a dashboard of key metrics, to be consumed by the most interested public at their leisure. But a more active strategy of publishing and marketing your open data resources can foster similarly active interest in, and involvement with, the local political process. In this session, we'll discuss the benefits and pitfalls of encouraging greater public feedback on open data; how to work with the industry and hobbyist technical community to produce value-adding products and analyses; and how open data can interact with more traditional methods of direct public engagement, such as public meetings, community forums and surveys, to create a more participatory environment for discussion, policy, and community improvement.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. How good public engagement policy and good open data policy overlap and coexist
  2. How to leverage your local tech and community leaders to drive data use and public engagement
  3. How to encourage data engagement at all levels of technical expertise
     

Conference event time: 

  • 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Venue: 

  • Sterlings 1/2/3

Joe Izenman

Data Scientist and Strategist, GearLab
Joe Izenman, Data Scientist and Strategist, GearLab

Joe Izenman is a data scientist and strategist from Tacoma, Washington. With a Master of Information & Data Science degree from University of California, Berkeley, and over a decade of experience in web technology, his focus is on effective site success metrics, use of modern machine learning and statistical techniques on websites of all sizes, and quantitative evaluation of usability. In his spare time, he fishes for side projects on Tacoma and Washington open data portals.

Sessions: 

Transforming Your Website from Blah to Bold

Transforming the City of Sunnyvale’s archaic and failing website into a boldly designed and stable, secure and mobile-friendly system was a three-year project that successfully used a data-driven and user-focused approach. Learn how we created a compelling business case for the project, evaluated and reported on site analytics to convince staff to let go of content (e.g., 90% of our traffic was to only 20% of our pages), collected user needs through surveys and in-house data mining, and inspired design and information architecture decisions through extensive benchmarking. The new site, launched in July 2017, now reflects our City’s new brand and status as the Heart of Silicon Valley where innovation and technology abounds.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Have an agreed upon vision and strong champion;
  2. Be willing to try new approaches;
  3. Base solutions on data and stakeholder input
     

Conference event time: 

  • 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Venue: 

  • Smithfield (Bridges)

Lynn Stuart

Communications Specialist, City of Sunnyvale
Lynn Stuart, Communications Specialist, City of Sunnyvale

Lynn Stuart, PMP, cut her teeth on tech and project management at Apple where she eventually transitioned her skills into database and web-related projects. She migrated to Sun Microsystems taking on a multi-million dollar project in crisis, navigating it to a successful delivery — she likes a challenge. She spring-boarded into launching her own partnership serving the digital needs of a variety of small to mid-sized businesses for many years.

Sessions: 

Scott Rubenstein

CTO, ADA Site Compliance
Scott Rubenstein, CTO, ADA Site Compliance

Scott Rubenstein has been a professional application developer and designer for more than 20 years. Utilizing his technical skills, along with his entrepreneurial goals, he has been partnered in multiple highly successful businesses. He has received praise and accolades throughout his career for his out-of-the-box thinking and creativity in his solutions. Scott is a survivor of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and was fortunate to escape tower 2 of the World Trade Center prior to its collapse. He returned to New York City soon after, playing an integral role in restoring critical systems.

Sessions: 

Creating 508 and ADA Compliant Online Services

Over the past few years, accessibility has become a vital consideration in the realm of government innovation. While federal agencies are now required to make their websites accessible to users with disabilities, state and local governments are increasingly expected to adhere to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards. 

But creating accessible and compliant web pages is only part of the puzzle. What about all of the forms and applications that live on these pages? Posting PDF applications on municipal websites poses major challenges for disabled users, who cannot easily see the text or modify it for assistive technologies. Additionally, these applications often need to be printed and mailed in, or physically brought to the office, further violating WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Now more than ever, governments are desperately seeking compliant alternatives to these paper processes.
A few years ago, Montgomery, AL decided that they were going to make strides toward improving the accessibility of their services. In particular, the City was looking for a solution to automate Public Records Requests in a fully compliant manner. Previously, this was a paper-based form that required signatures and certain information, but often this form was submitted without required fields, launching a whole back-and-forth between a citizen and the Records Officer that added weeks of processing time. The City of Montgomery knew that this process needed to be brought online, and wanted to do so in a way that would benefit all constituents.

In searching for a government-focused form solution, Montgomery found SeamlessGov at the forefront of providing accessible, and 508 and ADA compliant solutions. The SeamlessGov platform allows governments to build fully compliant web forms from scratch and convert existing PDF forms into online services, with eSignatures, payments, attachments, and workflow. With drag-and-drop capabilities, our Form Solution empowers staff with no technical experience to quickly and easily transform cumbersome paper processes into robust digital versions, while optimizing accessibility for all users. 
In this session, we will be co-presenting with Kimberly Wright, the Webmaster in Montgomery, AL, who is working with us to bring the City’s paper forms online. Together, we will showcase the SeamlessGov-enabled online services that Montgomery provides for its constituents, and discuss the importance of developing services for citizens with accessibility in mind.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. 508/ADA compliance are becoming the new standard for governments nationwide.
  2. Most existing form processes do not adhere to the accessibility guidelines in place.
  3. SeamlessGov is partnering with governments (such as Montgomery, AL) to transform paper-based forms processes into accessible, compliant online services.
     

Conference event time: 

  • 1 to 2:15 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Venue: 

  • Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Andrew Liebelt

Success Manager, SeamlessGov
Andrew Liebelt, Success Manager, SeamlessGov

Andrew works with municipalities across the nation to bring their paper-based forms processes online. Once a government signs on to SeamlessGov, Andrew serves as their dedicated Success Manager throughout the partnership. He offers ongoing support via phone, chat, and email, and runs weekly training courses to facilitate governments' paperless transformation. Andrew has been working with Montgomery, AL for over a year, and has helped the City bring dozens of forms online.

Sessions: 

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