Helping State Governments Improve IT Accessibility

State CIOs, working alongside state procurement officials, can change the current accessibility landscape to better benefit the citizens they serve with the help of a new brief from NASCIO.

by / July 30, 2015

To celebrate 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) released on July 30 a brief designed to help state governments improve IT accessibility. The brief, called Accessibility in IT Procurement, is the first in a series of two documents that outlines an approach to increased IT accessibility called Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA). NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said this document endeavors to fill a longstanding gap.

“This has been a topic of discussion for a long time,” Robinson said. “The recognition here is that state governments really have not had a focused plan or approach to address accessiblity requirements as part of IT procurement. It’s been isolated and not done universally. We want to use this as an opportunity to connect the dots between enterprise architecture, PDAA and procurement done in a strategic way.”

This announcement serves both to inform state government that this is an area of need, Robinson said, but also to drive accessibility in the marketplace.

The four-page brief outlines the problem facing accessibility in IT, explains that PDAA provides a framework for including accessibility in IT planning and explains why IT accessibility is important. About 19 percent of the population has disabilities, the report states, meaning that IT resources not conforming to accessibility standards may be inaccessible to millions of users. The report also outlines challenges state government will face in their approach of PDAA.

The second part of the brief, to be released in August, will describe the components of PDAA and explore case studies of states that have experience using the approach.

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.