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Re: FTP site opinion
From: Lynn Wehrman
Date: Feb 28, 2014 1:19PM
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The work I pioneered with the Minnesota DOT when working as their accessible document specialist, enabled us to streamline the process and use a team of individuals who were working as word processors as "master document converters" for legislative studies going out for public review as well as internal employee documents.
It is a great deal of extra work, however. I often compare it to having someone sew a shirt together incorrectly and then having to take a seam ripper and disassemble it and put it back together. The real solution, and the one our company, WeCo, partners with most companies regarding, is training document authors (such as project managers) to author their own documents from the start.
A key way we engage the people we train is by opening our sessions with a sensitivity segment including how people living with different disability types, some using devices/some not, interact with their documents. (Quote from our training services information.) "If people understand the 'why' behind accessibility, it's easier for them to retain the 'how' and feel motivated to act on it."
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From: <EMAIL REMOVED> < <EMAIL REMOVED> > on behalf of Chagnon | PubCom < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 1:37 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] FTP site opinion
Here are some key obstacles I've run into with US and state government
1. Managers and employees are scared. They've heard horror stories about how
difficult, time-consuming, and expensive it is to make a document
2. Managers don't know how to make documents accessible, so they choose to
either ignore the problem, hide the document behind a loophole in the law,
or hire an outside contractor to fix the mess. The last option is very
3. Agencies haven't yet examined their workflow and retooled it for the job
that needs to get done. Right now their workflow is:
Step 1. Make a Word, InDesign, or other document.
Step 2. Either place it online as is, or export it to PDF.
Step 3. Hand off the PDF to someone else who remediates it into compliance.
There are 2 major problems with this workflow; it's extremely difficult and
time-consuming to remediate a PDF, and most users of Word and InDesign don't
really know how to use the software correctly and instead use it by the seat
of their pants. In other words, they make poorly constructed documents which
then go on to become PDF nightmares.
No wonder accessible documents are so difficult and expensive to make!
Agencies are using an illogical, backwards workflow because they don't know
The solution is to educate the managers so that they understand how
accessible documents can easily be made by their staff, and then train the
users of MS Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe InDesign who create 90% of our
The accessibility problems start with the very first word that's written in
MS Word. Fix the problem there by training the document creators. Basic
training in how to use MS Word correctly solves more than 50% of the
problems and makes accessibility nearly cost-free.
Teaching a man to fish is a lot cheaper than supplying him with fish every
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I'm just looking for feedback (opinions) from others in this industry.
Here in Ontario, we are under the direction of the AODA (Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act) which stipulates our websites must be WCAG
A compliant, moving to WCAG AA. Of course, like any large organization we
are faced with resistance from certain departments whose material, while
posted to a public site, is not necessarily meant for true public
So my question is this. Are there times when an FTP site is an acceptable
practice for target audiences (thereby bypassing the "law" per se).
Removing my own personal opinion (I am on the side of making all documents
accessible..period, end of story) I am just looking for opinions from
others. Perhaps some of you have faced similar situations with 508.
Web Intermediate Systems Developer/Integrator (WCAG Compliance) Corporate
Accessibility Office City of Ottawa