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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 5, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 16
Is Your Web Information Usable by the Disabled?

Workshop on Web Accessibility Set for Jan. 22

For an estimated 30 million people in the United States, the Internet is a road not to enlightenment but to frustration. Many people cannot see graphics because of visual impairments; cannot hear the audio because of a hearing loss; have difficulty navigating sites because of poor organization, confusing directions or distracting images due to cognitive or neurological issues such as learning disabilities, ADHD, seizure disorders or other developmental problems; cannot use a mouse to navigate due to physical or visual disabilities; or cannot use handheld and wireless devices.

Such disabilities and functional limitations must be taken into account by anyone developing or using Web sites that promote information either to the public or in the classroom setting, according to Peggy Hayeslip, associate director for disability services in the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Programs.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination by entities receiving federal funds in services, facilities and programs and in the academic setting.

"In addition," Hayeslip said, "communication systems are covered under the ADA and include such programs and activities as Web sites, distance learning, computer labs and class workstations, e-mail systems, online services, library services such as catalog systems and business services such as ticketing."

On Thursday, Jan. 22, a free conference on Web accessibility will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Schafler Auditorium of the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, Homewood campus. The workshop is open to any university employee who is involved in the development of Web sites, contracts with others to develop them or who uses them to promote information to the public or in the classroom.

This workshop will address the issues of accessibility to communication systems, especially Web sites; explore the university's legal obligations; discuss models for implementing accessibility; and provide information regarding training and support.

The conference is sponsored by the Web Access Committee, comprised of representatives of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Programs, Human Resources, Student Technology Services, Library Digital Programs of the Sheridan Libraries and the School of Public Health.

To reserve a seat, register online at or call 410-516-8949 (TTY: 410-516-6225). To request accommodations, contact Disability Services at 410-516-8949 by Friday, Jan. 16.


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