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State of Michigan Accessibility Resource GuideThe State of Michigan Accessibility Resource Guide offers department coordinators, managers, and directors information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, ensures that all citizens have access to:
The Accessibility Resource Guide helps departments provide employees, applicants, program participants, and the public with these accommodations. It also offers design and formatting guidelines for the Internet, intranet, and electronic and information technology resources.
Much of the Accessibility Resource Guide is presented in .pdf (portable document file) format. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view and print. A free copy of this software may be downloaded from Adobe. The sample policies and procedures found in the Guide are in Microsoft Word document formats to allow customization to each department's needs.
Due to its large file size, the Accessibility Resource Guide is broken up into small sections for easy searching and downloading. Please use the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Purpose. This section summarizes federal and state accessibility acts and offers examples that departments may use in developing policies and procedures.
Printed Materials and Documents (Alternate Formats). Information in this section helps staff ensure that printed materials can be reconfigured in alternate formats such as audio recordings, braille, electronic formats, and large print and for use with readers and other assistive technology.
Meetings and Events. This section helps staff prepare for accessible conferences, educational and training sessions, press conferences, staff meetings, and other events. Every attendee should be able to participate in all activities at meetings or events.
Video and Other Media Production. This section discusses how media such as audiotapes, videos, and DVDs can be produced or used in ways that are accessible to all employees and the public. It also explains how preproduction planning is the most affordable method of providing accessibility.
Electronic and Information Technology. This section offers guidance on information disseminated on the Internet and the State of Michigan intranet as well as accessibility software and electronic office equipment.
Departments should consider drafting an accessibility policy or individual policies and procedures on printed materials and documents, meetings and events, video and other media production, and electronic and information technology. The links below are to sample policies, procedures, and checklists that may be used as guides.
Sample Accessible Printed Materials and Documents Policy
ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments teaches how to identify and fix problems that prevent people with disabilities from gaining equal access to state and local government programs, services, and activities. The tool kit is being developed in stages. The current sections include ADA Basics, Notice and Grievance Procedures, Effective Communications Requirements, Emergency Procedures and 9-1-1, Website Accessibility, and Curb Ramps and Pedestrian Crossings plus checklists for most of these topics.
Printed Materials and Documents (Alternate Formats)
If a department cannot provide an electronic version, it may request that an electronic copy be created by the Department of Management and Budget's (DMB) Printing Services Group at 517-322-1889.
Departments should also indicate in their printed materials and documents that the documents are available in alternative formats and how and whom to contact. People need to know that they can make an alternative format request.
Reader programs. Reader programs are special software used by individuals who are visually impaired or blind which read out loud text (.txt) documents created with Microsoft Word or WordPerfect or .pdf documents created with Adobe Acrobat version 7.0 or higher. Older versions of Adobe may cause technical problems for reader programs. Adobe Acrobat version 7.0 or higher can check the .pdf document and indicate if a reader program will encounter problems. The portion of the document with any problem is indicated. All .pdf documents should be run through the Adobe Acrobat check before being provided to the requestor or placed on an internet or intranet site.
Most problems encountered by reader programs originate in the printed material or document formatting before being converted to a .pdf or .txt format. Reader programs read from left to right across the entire page and then down to the next line. When reader programs encounter columns similar to those in a newsletter or newspaper they read across all columns and then go down to the next line. An author can use several means so that the reader program can properly function.
One method is to use a table because the columns in a table are treated like a page (the reader program will read down the table column to the bottom and then proceed to the top of the next column).
Another method is to convert the document to .html format which both Microsoft Word and WordPerfect programs can do.
When converting Microsoft Word or WordPerfect documents to .txt format, all printed material should be left justified, with complete punctuation, no tab indents, and line breaks between paragraphs.
Tables and Forms are an area where reader programs encounter difficulty unless documents are properly designed. When designing a form or table, the Department of Information Technology, e-Michigan Web Development group should be contacted for technical guidance.
Other areas of concern encountered by reader programs are images, pictures, photographs, and graphics. These visual images require "alternative text" or a caption to describe the image. Images such as maps illustrating demographics need to be accompanied by some form of database.
The use of electronic distribution systems for the disseminatio of materials in electronic formats, especially time-sensitive materials such as regulations is a viable means of helping ot meet access needs and requirements. With an electronic copy, Departments are able to create an accessible formatted version of the printed material that can be accessed by employees and the public if requested. the electronic copy may be used as an email attachemnt or copied to a CD, DVD, or other electronic format to forward to the requesting person.
Providing printed materials in electronic format may not meet the needs of every person with a disability. The department must determine if it can provide general access for the requesting person. The printed material does not always have to be in the format requested by the person, if another format will allow the person access.
Printed materials and documents may be produced in alternate formats. The cost of providing an alternate format may not be charged to an employee or the public.
Braille. A reading system used by some people who are blind is braille, a system of raised dots which are read through touch. Several versions of braille are available.
Grade 1 Braille, also known as uncontracted braille, is in full spelling and consists of the letters of the alphabet, punctuation, numbers, and a number of composition signs which are special to braille.
Meetings and Events
Communications (i.e., press releases, advertisements, or publications) regarding meetings and events, especially those aimed at those outside the department, require an "Access Statement" similar to the following:
"The meeting site is accessible, including handicapped parking. Individuals attending the meeting are requested to refrain from using heavily scented personal care products* in order to enhance accessibility for everyone.
"Persons with disabilities, who need mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance for effective participation should indicate such needs. All such requests should be received at least ____ business days before the date of the meeting."
The "Access Statement" should be followed with contact information.
* Note: Refraining from the use of heavily scented personal care products is not covered by the ADA and is not enforceable. It should only be used as a request.
A person or applicant should be asked when they are contacted by the department if they need an accommodation to participate in the interview or meeting.
Video and Other Media Production.
Several organizations can provide detailed guidance and information on video and other media production.
Electronic and Information Technology
In addition, the state conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) regarding ADA accessibility and compliance. The Web Accessibility Initiative contains strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.
The state requires all website content and applications to meet Conformance Level "A" Priority 1 checkpoints. The state uses the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 for all references to accessibility. The Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 can assist developers in verifying that they have complied with all Priority 1 State of Michigan intentions.
EWD has a text version of the Michigan.gov website. Any webpage on the site can be displayed in a text-only format. A [Text Version] link appears directly under the top navigation links. Clicking on the [Text Version] link will replicate the web page in a text-only format, eliminating all graphic images. People who use assistive technologies and adaptive strategies may benefit from a text-only website, making it easier to navigate the site. In addition, text-only web pages are useful for access over low-bandwidth connections, eliminating the need to wait for images to download. They also promote easier navigation for web devices with text-only browsers, such as Web TV, Interactive TX, WAP phones, and wireless devices.
For more guidance on electronic and information technology, contact
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