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UMaine strives to make Web sites compliant

To help meet Web accessibility standards, the University of Maine has deployed a software solution that repairs, monitors and enforces Web content, quality and regulatory compliance. The solution enables content developers to work collaboratively to manage Web standards for accessibility, privacy, security and so on.

After evaluating potential solutions, the university chose HiSoftware's education package--which includes AccVerify, AccRepair and Hi-Caption Studio--to address accessibility issues mandated by the university and based on Section 508 guidelines of the Rehabilitation Act. The solution helps the university's Web office meet accessibility compliance for hundreds of Web sites managed by staff and faculty across all departments.

"Before using [the new system], we did not have a fast and easy way to test pages for accessibility," says Alan Parks, coordinator of dissemination and technology at the University of Maine's Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. "With the implementation, we now have a tool that provides us with consistent review and analysis of our Web pages, as well as a standard and easy-to-understand format for identifying any issues."

Using AccVerify, reports can be generated that identify accessibility issues in a Web site, HiSoftware reports. A Web development committee or others involved in ensuring accessibility compliance can then post the reports on a secure Web site for reference and discussion. Problems such as missing ALT tags behind images can be corrected automatically using AccRepair, which uses a library that "learns" as repairs are made, so corrections need to be made only once. The corrected information is stored in the library to automatically repair instances of the same issue throughout the Web site. That enables the university to fix problems much more quickly than in a manual process.

HiSoftware President and CEO Kurt A. Mueffelmann says, "As more and more educational institutions are dealing with complaints and lawsuits resulting from Web sites that do not meet specific state and government-mandated compliance guidelines, the University of Maine is committed to ensuring that its Web site is accessible to everyone."

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