Jennifer Sheehy, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Dept. of Education, welcomed committee members, thanked them for their willingness to serve on the committee, and reminded them of the commitment of the U.S. Department of Education to accessibility.
Overview of Regulatory Assessment process:
Lisa Fairhall, Deputy General Counsel, Access Board, provided an overview of the regulatory assessment process, discussing how the Access Board must prepare the assessment as part of the rulemaking process.
Report from the States:
TEITAC members Deborah Buck (ATAP) and Dianne Golden (NASCIO) gave presentations on the state of accessibility standards at the state level, with an emphasis on explaining how standards are interpreted and implemented by various states. There was a presentation on varying approaches to conformance at the state level and how the work of the TEITAC may help the states in prioritizing requirements and ensuring some baseline level of accessibility at the state level.
Directed discussion by the full Committee: Topic: Themes:
The full committee engaged in a directed discussion, lead by co-chairs Jim Tobias and Mike Paciello, about the themes of the TEITAC: Cognitive Disability, Emerging Products and Components, External Standards by Reference, Harmonization, Maintaining and Updating the Standards, Testability, Economic Impact, Interoperability with AT, Usability of the Standards.
Report from the Communications Task Force:
TEITAC member Jared Smith, National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE), gave a presentation outling the various on-line tools available to the committee members. He demonstrated the TEITAC.org website, including Wiki and mailing lists. He then led a discussion of tools needed by TEITAC.
Status of government funded RERCs:
TEITAC member Gregg Vanderheiden (TRACE) gave a presentation on the status of government funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs). He summarized lessons learned, and spoke about a variety of different approaches to the development of standards, including “sufficient techniques.”
The subcommittees started by giving brief statements about the formation and leadership of their respective subcommittees, and a brief summary of issues discussed or identified as being important to the work of the subcommittee.
The report of the Audio Video subcommittee was given by subcommittee co-chair and TEITAC member Larry Goldberg, who mentioned some of the issues discussed by the subcommittee, including those involving digital television, such as the impact of FCC rules on the relevance of screen display sizes, captioning, and synchronization. Subcommittee co-chair Tony Jasionowski talked about common elements in definitions. There was then a discussion with members of the committee, where member Andrew Kirkpatrick raised the issue of how to distinguish between different committee subject areas. How were boundaries to be determined between the subject areas of the various subcommittees? Member Peter Korn suggested putting language describing the scope of the respective subcommittees on the home page for each subcommittee on the TEITAC.org website. The discussion was adjourned in the interest of time, but the members agreed that the issue deserved further discussion.
The Telecommunications subcommittee report was given by subcommittee co-chairs Mary Brooner and Brenda Battat. They reported that the subcommittee had had three conference calls as of the date of the current TEITAC meeting, and that the subcommittee was discussing different issues every week. The most recent issue under discussion was acoustic audio output. They also mentioned that there was recognition that some issue areas overlapped and that the Telecommunications subcommittee looked forward to working with other subcommittees, particularly in areas of perceived overlap, such as in software, when used for telecommunications versus software used for the World Wide Web.
Committee member Paul Michaelis raised the issue of how to determine which capabilities needed to be present in all phones, versus those features which could be added on as add-on module. Committee co-chair Jim Tobias noted that there was a need to move to “platform neutral” views of desktop phones, desktop TTYs and so forth. Member Peter Korn mentioned a completely Linux based phone that a user could download any desired features into.
Several members of the public in attendance made the following comments to the committee.
A suggestion was made that the web and software group needed information on contrast and luminescence. Committee member Brad Hodges noted that AFB was undertaking work on studying characteristics which improve visual access.
Voting standards were mentioned by Access Board public member Jim Elekes as an example of standards which contained recent work on visual access features. The Voluntary Voting Standards Guide (VVSG) was commended to the committee.
There were questions following up on member Gregg Vanderheiden’s presentation on sufficient techniques, as well as on Jared Smith’s presentation on the Wiki and the other committee tools available to all at www.teitac.org.
The first day’s meeting was then adjourned.
The subcommittees continued giving the reports which had started the previous day. As before, subcommittee co-chairs gave brief statements about the formation and leadership of their respective subcommittees, and a brief summary of issues discussed or identified as being important to the work of the subcommittee.
Committee member Michael Takemura reported on the work of the General Interface subcommittee, noting that the subcommittee had had three teleconferences to date. Among the issues the subcommittee had discussed were the need to map information on product categories from certain source documents, such as the original EITAAC. There was also a discussion of work done on functional performance criteria. It was mentioned that one of the issues facing the whole committee was whether the committee would or should recommend unified standards. It was agreed that the ultimate form of the standards was an important issue for further discussion by the whole committee.
The Self contained closed products subcommittee convener Mary Beth Janes reported that the subcommittee was happy to report that Debbie Cook had agreed to co-chair the subcommittee with her, and that one of the first issues the subcommittee would be discussing would be the definition of what is a “closed product.” There was some discussion within the subcommittee that perhaps the “self contained, closed” area would be better treated as a characteristic of products, rather than as a separate product category.
The Web and Software subcommittee co-chairs, Andi Snow-Weaver and Curtis Chong reported the formation of the subcommittee, and that internal discussions were taking place regarding the scope of the subcommittee. They raised several questions to the committee, including whether or not external standards could be adopted by the committee, or whether the language of a standard had to be incorporated into the text of an Access Board regulation. Although it was noted that there is a government preference for existing consensus standards, it was agreed that further discussion and clarification of the issue was needed.
David Capozzi of the Access Board commented on several of the questions raised, including the question about the incorporation of reference standards. He noted that there were various approaches to the use of such standards and that the Access Board staff would be willing to support the committee in obtaining more information on that topic. He briefly commented on various potential formats for the revised regulations which the committee could make. One possible format was a document containing three chapters, the first chapter of which would address scoping and application issues for telecommunications, the second chapter would address scoping and application issues for Section 508 and the third chapter would contain common technical material.
Committee member Peter Korn postulated a “fourth chapter”, and asked whether such a chapter would the issue of “sufficiency”. David Capozzi replied that an “advisory” chapter could be acceptable, as long as it was understood that such a chapter would be hortatory, that is, helpful in interpreting the material in the previous chapters of the document, but not mandatory. The discussion was tabled in the interest of time, but it was agreed that the committee would be addressing the issue in the future.
The Hardware subcommittee co-chairs, Rob Nerhood and Randy Marsden, reported that they had set up a weekly conference call on Fridays from 11-12 noon EST. They commended Tom Brett for his work in obtaining Federal Relay closed captioning for the teleconferences. The subcommittee noted the issue of how to address assistive technology in the standards, and raised the question as to whether or not there should be two sections to functional performance criteria; one with assistive technology and one without. There was also discussion about features that were “add-on” versus “built-in”.
The Subpart A subcommittee report was given by Laura Ruby, who mentioned that one of the issues the subcommittee had discussed was the meaning of certain language in the current standards, including the meaning of “best meets”.
The Documentation and Technical Support subcommittee discussed several issues, including the scope of the subcommittee and that documentation should include keyboard shortcuts.
The committee then addressed several administrative matters. They reviewed and approved the meeting minutes from the September 2006 meeting of the committee. The committee empowered co-chairs Mike Paciello and Jim Tobias to be liaisons with standards groups to assist in obtaining copies of standards.
The cost of teleconferences was discussed, and the committee asked for more information on possible funding for the teleconference calls. The committee agreed that a letter should be drafted and sent to the FCC, inviting the agency to attend and participate in the work of the committee, by providing feedback when needed.
Pursuant to the Federal Register Notice, time was set aside on the agenda to hear from three entities applying to be on the committee. After oral presentations by the applicants, and extensive questioning by the committee members, a vote was taken and none of the applicants were accepted to the committee. All applicants were invited to participate in the subcommittee work process.
It was proposed by member Laura Ruby and agreed by the committee, that a conference call be held in the month of November before Thanksgiving, to address some of the administrative issues which had been raised during the meeting.
Discussion was had on public outreach by the committee, and it was agreed to investigate possible presentations by members and/or Access Board staff at the upcoming ATIA conference in January 2007, and the CSUN Conference in March 2007.
Members of the public made the following comments:
It was recommended that the public comment periods during the meeting be broken up into two separate sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so as to allow for more timely comments on the discussion of the committee.
Receiving no more comments, the second TEITAC meeting was adjourned. The next face to face meeting of the full committee is scheduled for February 6, 7, 8, 2007.