ADA Kiosks – Eve Hill Senate Testimony on Federal Technology & Title III

ada kiosks

How To Improve Accessibility – Testimony by Eve Hill July 2022

Testimony of Eve Hill during Senate Hearing. She calls out the Social Security Administration intake kiosks, calls for enforcement tools among other things and ending the immunity of the federal government for its wide-ranging violations. Interesting point raised “if Access Board is given enforcement authority”. Many thanks to Bill Goren and Understanding the ADA

Thursday, July 28th, 2022</time
10:00am
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

“In a world in which digital communications and services happen at the speed of light, people with disabilities must not be left to rely on slow, obsolete, and expensive analog technologies,” Eve explained in written testimony. “If websites aren’t accessible to people who are blind or low-vision, if videos are not captioned for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and if kiosks are not built to communicate flexibly, people with disabilities are not just inconvenienced – they are shut out.”

On July 28th one of the leading disability rights attorneys, Eve Hill testified on accessible federal technology before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging during its hearing entitled “Click Here: Accessible Federal Technology for People with Disabilities, Older Americans, and Veterans.

About Eve Hill —  Partner at Brown Goldstein & Levy and was formerly a Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She has spent her career implementing the laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

During her testimony, Eve offered her insight on the meaning and history of technology accessibility law as it pertains to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires all federal agencies to make all their information technology accessible to people with disabilities. She also addressed areas where government oversight and accountability can be strengthened and best practices for achieving/maintaining web and technology accessibility in the federal government.

Excerpts from Testimony

  • If websites aren’t accessible to people who are blind or low-vision, if videos are not captioned for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and if kiosks are not built to communicate flexibly, people with disabilities are not just inconvenienced – they are shut out.
  • Many individuals with vision disabilities use screen reader software that can convert visually delivered Internet content into an audio or Braille form; however, the visually-delivered content must be properly formatted and structured for the screen reader to work effectively. For instance, a screen reader or similar assistive technology cannot “read” an image. Thus, when images appear on websites they must be paired with “alt-text” that describes the image for screen readers to read. In addition, individuals with vision and manual dexterity disabilities often cannot effectively use a mouse, so websites need to be coded to allow navigation using the keyboard.
  • As the Court in Robles v. Dominos Pizza, LLC, explained, “Defendant contends that its phone line is an acceptable accessibility substitute for its webpage and App. This is not true; it is undisputed that Plaintiff waited over forty-five minutes before hanging up on at least two occasions. No person who has ever waited on hold with customer service – or ever been hungry for a pizza – would find this to be an acceptable substitute for ordering from a website.
  • in February 2022, 96.8% of the top one million home pages still had accessibility barriers. Each page had an average of 50.8 accessibility errors. A user with a disability can expect to encounter one error in every 19 home page elements they use. And most of these errors are simple – low contrast text, missing alt-text for images, incorrectly labeled form inputs, empty links or buttons, and failure to identify the site’s language. If these accessible elements had been incorporated as a matter of course in the design of the site, they would have added nothing to the complexity or cost of the site. In fact, they would have made the sites work better for everyone. The WebAIM Million, The 2022 Report on the Accessibility of the Top 1,000,000 Home
    Pages, https://webaim.org/projects/million/.
  • While issuing digital accessibility regulations for federal, state, and local governments and agencies is a good first step, it is also critical to issue regulations addressing the web accessibility obligations of public accommodations under Title III of the ADA. Private entities, including retail stores, restaurants, medical professionals, entertainment, schools, gyms, and service providers, play significant roles in our lives. Now that they have mostly moved their goods and services online, people with disabilities cannot afford to wait for equal digital access.
  • in 2021, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that 30% of the most popular federal websites were not accessible and nearly half had access barriers on at least one of their most popular pages.
  • If this is the result for websites – the simplest form of information and communication technology to make accessible – one need not guess at the level of accessibility of other forms of technology, such as self-help kiosks, telehealth platforms, multimedia trainings, and office equipment
  • In fact, the accessibility of those types of technology is dismal. Clients of my firm,  alone, are currently dealing with trainings required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that are totally unusable by screen readers, and intake kiosks used by the Social Security Administration that are not usable by blind people. In each case, people with disabilities are being forced to rely on third parties, and even to reveal private information to strangers, such as security guards, in order to receive service at all.
  • The Social Security Administration has also, as a policy matter, refused to adopt accessible technology at all. For example, it insists on wet-ink signatures on various documents required to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, in spite of the wide availability, security, and accessibility of electronic signature programs. Although the agency began accepting e-signatures temporarily as a result of litigation during the pandemic, and did so successfully for nearly 18 months, it has refused to change its policy on a permanent basis.
  • For Section 508 to be effective, the federal government needs to stop the inflow of inaccessible technology into its agencies. This requires agencies to pay attention to accessibility at the beginning of a procurement or development. Agencies often rely on Voluntary Accessibility Product Template forms or other statements from vendors made during the procurement process to support their assumptions that selected products meet the Section 508 standards. Unfortunately, these statements are often aspirational, misleading, or confusing and too often do not ensure accessibility. This is particularly problematic when agencies such as the Treasury Department or GSA purchase technology that is then used across the government.
  • If the Access Board is given enforcement responsibility, it must also be given appropriate authority to respond to complaints, to conduct compliance reviews, to engage in informal enforcement activities, such as public notices of violation, and to engage in formal enforcement, such as administrative compliance orders. Of course, with a staff of fewer than 30, the Access Board does not currently have the resources to meet its current responsibilities and add responsibility for oversight of federal government digital offerings.
  • Congress should amend Section 508 to make clear that both taxpayers and federal employees have a private right of action to enforce the law. In addition, Congress should explicitly waive the government’s sovereign immunity to such suits – another argument that has been raised by the government but not decided by the
    courts.
  • Congress should ensure that agencies have strong tools to hold their vendors accountable – including contract recission, liquidated damages, indemnification, and specific performance. Congress should insist that agencies actually use those tools and requiring regular reporting on technology products that were found to be inaccessible, the vendor responsible, and the action taken to remedy the breach.

More Testimony

Anil Lewis Executive Director for Blindness Initiatives

National Federation of the Blind
Atlanta, GA
Excerpt:
The Social Security Administration offers good and bad examples of providing equal access. In one instance, the introduction of technology has made it more difficult for a blind person to access SSA services. Formerly, I would go into a Social Security office, pull a number and wait an indefinite time alongside other citizens. This was frustrating, but equal. With the implementation of the new Social Security kiosks, which are inaccessible to the blind, I am confronted with the option of coordinating my visit with a sighted friend or family member, or asking a complete stranger to enter my Social Security number into the inaccessible kiosk to be added to the service cue. In another instance SSA has demonstrated the benefit of accessibility through the creation of one of the most accessible websites within the federal government. At one time, it was extremely easy to use my screen reader to access the information provided at https://www.ssa.gov/. Unfortunately, this was only as long as the individuals familiar with the technology were on staff. The access continues to diminish as the trained staff retires, or leaves for other employment.

Telehealth Accessibility Guidelines from HHS

telehealth accessibility

Telehealth Accessibility

As we commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are partnering to publish guidance on the protections in federal nondiscrimination laws, including the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requiring that telehealth be accessible to people with disabilities and limited English proficient persons. These laws work in tandem to prohibit discrimination and protect access to health care. The guidance is available here on the Justice Department website.  The guidance is also available here on the HHS website.

“Telehealth has become an evolving and common pathway for accessing healthcare, particularly as our society becomes increasingly digitized,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “It is critical to ensure that telehealth care is accessible to all, including patients with disabilities, those with limited English proficiency and people of all races and national origins. Federal civil rights laws protect patients from discrimination regardless of whether they are receiving health care online or at the doctor’s office. The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce the ADA and other civil rights laws to ensure that health care providers offering telehealth services are doing so free from discrimination.”

“We have seen important expansions in health care technologies, such as telehealth, that provide great convenience and help for people seeking care,” said Acting Director Melanie Fontes Rainer of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights. “This guidance makes clear that there is a legal obligation to ensure that all people receive full access to needed health care and can connect to telehealth services, free of discriminatory barriers. While we celebrate the progress of the ADA, we know how important it remains to uphold the rights of people with disabilities and other protected individuals to make our country accessible and inclusive for all. That work has been a priority of this Administration from day one, and President Biden’s Executive Order on advancing equity explicitly includes people with disabilities in its call for comprehensive action.”

Technological developments and the COVID-19 public health emergency have increased the importance of providing telehealth and greatly expanded its use. Telehealth can take many forms, including communication between a patient and a health care provider via video, phone or other electronic means. While telehealth has many benefits, including making health care more available and convenient, certain populations may face discrimination or other barriers in accessing care provided via telehealth. For example:

  • A person who is blind or has limited vision may find that the web-based platform their doctor uses for telehealth appointments does not support screen reader software.
  • A person who is deaf and communicates with a sign language interpreter may find that the video conferencing program their provider uses does not allow an interpreter to join the appointment from a separate location.
  • A limited English proficient person may need instructions in a language other than English about how to set up a telehealth appointment.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division have collaborated to provide this new guidance to help health care providers better understand their nondiscrimination obligations and patients better understand their rights under federal law in this area. The guidance provides examples of actions that may be discriminatory and describes steps that providers may need to take to ensure that health care offered via telehealth is accessible. The guidance also provides a list of resources that providers and patients may wish to consult for additional information about telehealth and civil rights protections.

If you believe that you or someone else has been discriminated against because of your race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex or religion in programs or activities that HHS directly operates or to which HHS provides federal financial assistance, you may file a complaint with the HHS Office for Civil Rights at: https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/index.html.

If you believe that a telehealth provider has violated your or another person’s civil rights, you may file a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division at: https://civilrights.justice.gov/#report-a-violation.

Related Posts

Point CounterPoint – Nobody Likes Self-Checkout CNN

Walmart Self-Checkout

Self-Checkout?

CNN ran an article on “Nobody likes self-checkout”. It made some good points albeit short on any backfill data to support. We talked about it as the only way to make something better is to collect feedback of all sorts. CNN editors are driven by serving audience segments and in the self-service industry we have had to deal with the usual anti-automation, “replaces workers”, and a long list of other complaints.  Automation is scary sometimes to many people. For more information email [email protected]

In Brief

  • Audio can be irritating — maybe but for the disabled customer the lack of audio can result in very poor outcomes with the “helpful” staff.  Imagine you are disabled and getting assistance with the cash back function.  That requires trust.
  • Survey says “67% experienced a failure” at SCO lanes — there is no source quoted or linked.  It appears to be from digital signage firm.
  • Disadvantages for stores listed are expensive to install, often break down and lead to customers purchasing fewer items. They incure higher losses and more shoplifting at self-checkout. — not sure where all that data comes from but other sources such as Oliver POS, Capgemini, NCR say otherwise.
    • According to Civic Science’s recent U.S. survey, 46% of respondents aged 18-34 prefer using self-service over service with a cashier. Likewise, the NCR states that the main reason customers like self-checkout is the convenience. 
  • Self-Checkout is still growing. 29% of transactions at food retailers were processed through self-checkout, up from 23% the year prior, according to the latest data from food industry association FMI. — this is a data stat from FMI on supermarkets for sure.
  • Why is an unloved technology still proliferating?  — Not sure that premise is true.  Having multiple ways to checkout for multiple circumstances, while raising number of transactions and lowering cost, seems clear to us. It isn’t generally a one solution fits all given the supermarket shoppers.  Aldi and others have developed a focus on those customers wanting quick and fast. They don’t deal with the slow and problematic. A bit unfair but surely optimized.
  • The writer calls out CheckRobot as first installed at several Kroger Stores — the real pioneer in the space was Optimal Robotics. In 2001 they hit the 5000 units mark at Kroger. No wonder that Fujitsu bought them in 2004.
    • 2004 — IHL’s market study also reported that shipments of self-checkout systems will grow by about 95 percent in 2004, with the market exceeding $1.3 billion in 2005. Greg Buzek, president of IHL, estimates that 95 percent of the supermarket chains in North America will have some degree of self-checkout by 2006.  “Self-checkout is an absolute necessity, as supermarkets face pressure from Wal-Mart,” Buzek said. “It allows them to shift employees to higher-profit areas of the store, and it gives them a competitive advantage.”
  • Although self-checkout counters eliminated some of the tasks of traditional cashiers, they still needed to be staffed and created a need for higher wage IT jobs, he said. Self-checkout, Andrews added, “delivers none of what it promises.” — — The intent was not to reduce employees. Hybrid checkouts are complex and of course come with support and maintenance. NCR has an entire building in Bentonville just for self-checkout support staff.  Even “just walk out” stores have people, just not in the usual roles and places.
  • Despite all of these “shortcomings”, self-checkout is only expanding.
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) and the “arms race” drives stores — there is some basis in that but self-checkout was slated to be installed of 95% of stores in 2004 according to IHL Group, who is a smart research firm.  We are checking Buzek for comments.

Excerpt

New York (CNN Business)“Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

“Please place item in the bag.”
“Please wait for assistance.”
If you’ve encountered these irritating alerts at the self-checkout machine, you’re not alone.
According to a survey last year of 1,000 shoppers, 67% said they’d experienced a failure at the self-checkout lane. Errors at the kiosks are so common that they have even spawned dozens of memes and TikTok videos.
“We’re in 2022. One would expect the self-checkout experience to be flawless. We’re not there at all,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia who has researched self-checkout.
Customers aren’t the only ones frustrated with the self-checkout experience. Stores have challenges with it, too.
Comments
It was interesting how they spoke about these things coming about because the cost cutting measures vs. it being something cool for the customer. I think most things come about as cost cutting when you get down to it. Or if it is customer experience then its done for other reasons. Sort of like Santa Claus in the mall or ice skating etc… Done as a draw to get people in the door to spend money. Clearly a self-checkout kiosk does not fall into that category.

I am intrigued though on how to make it a better experience. I’ve found that I’m getting much better at the Fujitsu units at my local grocery store. I’m pretty proficient with them and choose to use it whenever I have only a few items. It gets me on my way much quicker. But how to make it fun or pleasurable and not like pumping gas. That is a thought.

Other links

Problem Areas

Produce —

Self-checkout can be a pain point for shoppers buying produce. More than three in 10 shoppers steer clear of fresh produce when using self-checkout, the Food Industry Association noted in a recent report.

Instead of having to remember the four-digit item code or search through the menu of products to find it, companies like Extenda Retail, KanduAI and Toshiba are looking to make the process simpler and faster with produce recognition solutions. Arigi of Kroger said during NRF that produce recognition software is of keen interest to the grocery chain as it looks to further innovate in self-checkout.

KanduAI, a technology company started in 2018 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to recognize fruits and vegetables and provide a short list of possibilities to consumers. Shoppers can select if the item is organic or not.

From Grocery Dive

Airline Disable Passengers Bill of Rights

Disabled Passengers Airline Bill of Rights

Airlines Bill Of Rights Department of Transportation

This Bill of Rights describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation, 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 382.  For more information email [email protected]

The Bill of Rights consists of:

  1. The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.
  2. The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations.
  3. The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format.
  4. The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities.
  5. The Right to Assistance at Airports.
  6. The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft.
  7. The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal.
  8. The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations.
  9. The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features.
  10. The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue.

Click on any of the rights above to be linked to an explanation of that right in this document. The Bill of Rights does not expand or restrict the rights of air travelers with disabilities. Rather, it provides a convenient summary of existing law. Because the explanations in this document may not be as precise as the regulations themselves, the explanations link to the actual regulatory text for your reference.

The full pdf is located here.

Comments

By Craig Keefner (ex-programmer for Northwest Airlines)

I remember back in early 2000s there were several incidents regarding passengers suffering due to airline mishaps. Being stranded on the tarmac for 10 hours.  NWA (later bought by Delta) instituted a bill of rights for passengers back then called Customers First. You can still view it out on the Wayback Machine. Worth noting that Delta has an Accessibility page geared towards usage of website. Delta even has a Advisory Board on Disabilities. Doing a Fast Pass with Edge on accessibility of the Delta homepage yields double-digit failed instances which is surprising.  Maybe there is some differential between the WCAG engines.

By Sheri Byrne-Haber (disabled) on LinkedIn

I am thrilled that the US Department of Transportation has published an “Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights.” It is way past time something like this existed since airlines have repeatedly indicated through their actions that they don’t particularly care about their customers with disabilities, though they are happy to take our money and claim they care about us when something negative happens

There are a few things that I am definitely not thrilled about. This post is going to address the gender and race bias that appears in the cover image.

1) The only Black-appearing individual on the cover image is a female-appearing person in a safety vest pushing a wheelchair being used by a White-appearing male.

2) All the service staff appear to be women

3) All the people with visible disabilities appear to be male.

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me that in this modern era that people continually have to bring stuff like this up *after* something is published. There is exactly one way to prevent this, and it is actually quite easy.

Have as many underrepresented groups as possible review the document in advance of publication and LISTEN to what they have to say.

Pete Buttigieg – you can do better than this!

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ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel Sponsor

EV Charging Stations

The Kiosk Manufacturer Association announces that it is an Associate Partner sponsor of the ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel with a link to the EVSP landing page EV Standards Panel.  We are also signed up for a Working Group (twice a month call). If you are interested in becoming a participating sponsor and/or signing up for Working Group you email [email protected]

You can find us listed here.

Overview

The ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP) is a cross-sector coordinating body whose objective is to foster coordination and collaboration on standardization matters among public- and private-sector stakeholders to enable the safe, mass deployment of electric vehicles and associated infrastructure in the United States with international coordination, adaptability, and engagement. Outputs of the EVSP in the 2011-2014 timeframe included a Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles (Version 2.0, May 2013), a Progress Report (November 2014) against same, and a Standards Compendium. Though the priorities have shifted in many respects with the new focus on [email protected], aspects of the earlier EVSP work may be drawn upon as needed.

Call For Participation

Contact: Susanah Doucet
(212) 642-4931
[email protected]

Calling All Stakeholders: ANSI to Develop Roadmap of Standards and Codes for Electric Vehicles at Scale

Sign Up for a Working Group. Register for June 15 Kick-off Event. Consider Becoming a Sponsor.

New York, June 8, 2022: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced today the launch of an initiative to develop a roadmap of standards and codes for electric vehicles (EVs) at scale. The ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP) will serve as the forum for development of the document.

In furtherance of the Biden Administration’s goal for a clean energy future, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) issued a June 2021 lab call funding opportunity announcement. The lab call included a pillar on codes and standards with the goal to “identify and address challenges and barriers to the integration of [email protected] charging with the grid created by uncoordinated development of codes and standards and the rapid advances in vehicle and charging technologies.” The [email protected] lab consortium formed in response committed to develop a 2022 roadmap like the earlier ANSI EV standards roadmap.

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) is the lead lab for the codes and standards pillar, supported by consortium members National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The [email protected] initiative supports federal and state funding associated with deploying EV charging infrastructure nationwide.

The priorities of the codes and standards effort will be to identify the most critical standards for EVs at scale, including for standards to address high-power DC charging, storage (i.e., microgrid, distributed energy resource management systems) integrated with DC charging, vehicle grid integration, high-power scalable/interoperable wireless charging, and vehicle-oriented systems. Subject-matter experts interested in participating are invited to review the panel architecture and sign up for one or more working groups. A one-hour virtual kick-off event providing more details will be held June 15, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern. Register here. It is envisioned that the working groups will hold virtual meetings, twice per month, over the course of the coming year. A draft roadmap is targeted for mid-February 2023, which will then undergo public review before being finalized by mid-May 2023. Participation is open to EV stakeholders that have operations in the United States.

The ANSI EVSP is a cross-sector coordinating body whose objective is to foster coordination and collaboration on standardization matters among public- and private-sector stakeholders to enable the safe, mass deployment of electric vehicles and associated infrastructure in the United States with international coordination, adaptability, and engagement. Outputs of the EVSP in the 2011-2014 timeframe included a Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles (Version 2.0, May 2013), a Progress Report (November 2014) against same, and a Standards Compendium. Though the priorities have shifted in many respects with the new focus on [email protected], aspects of the earlier EVSP work may be drawn upon as needed.

ANSI’s facilitation of this initiative is supported in part by VTO/Argonne National Laboratory. Additional, exclusive sponsorship opportunities with appropriate recognition benefits are invited from industry and other directly affected stakeholders to help offset ANSI’s costs of operating the EVSP.

Calling All Stakeholders: ANSI to Develop Roadmap of Standards and Codes for Electric Vehicles at Scale

Page 2

“ANSI is pleased to once again offer its services as a neutral facilitator and bring together interested stakeholders to identify the latest standards and conformance needs and challenges associated with the deployment of electric vehicles,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO.

For more information, visit ANSI’s EVSP webpage.

About ANSI

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations.

The Institute represents and serves the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International  Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). For more information, visit //www.ansi.org.

Regulatory News – ADA POS, & EV Charging

ADA FAQ

Updated Regulatory Information for Kiosks, POS and EV Charging – June 2022

The big news is that the U.S. Access Board has announced its next session which include EV Charging Stations, Kiosks and POS. Not quite sure of the difference between information transaction machines and kiosks but we will find out.

  • It’s also very important (cannot be overstressed) that not only manufacturers but users need to comment.
  • Once it is closed for comments you cannot insert a single word. During the comment phase all comments are taken, recorded and considered.
  • For POS we think reach may be addressed as well as Audio

It is worth noting too that ANSI has taken a strong interest in EV Charging. The Kiosk Association is an Associate Partner sponsor of the ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel and is signed up to participate on working group

In Brief

  • US Access Board Session EV Charging — EV Charging Stations. According to the Agenda, the Access Board will be issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in September 2022 to set standards for accessible EV charging stations with the intent that the DOJ will eventually incorporate those guidelines in the current ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The rulemaking responds to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s allocation of $7.5 billion to construct a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide.
  • US Access Board Session Transaction Machines — Fixed Self-service Transaction Machines. With the proliferation of self-service machines at public accommodations in the past few years, it is no surprise that the Access Board will be working on standards for accessible self-service kiosks, information transaction machines, and point-of-sale devices. The Agenda states that an NPRM will be issued in August 2022. It is very important for manufacturers of these machines, as well as the businesses that use them (e.g. retailers, rental car companies, lodging facilities, health care providers, banks, parking facilities, restaurants) to file comments on the Access Board’s forthcoming proposed guidelines because, once finalized, they are not likely to change in DOJ’s rulemaking process to make them enforceable standards.
  • Maryland Launches Assistive Technology Loan Program — Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Assistive technology allows individuals with disabilities to carry out activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, etc.), participate in the workforce, communicate, learn, and enjoy recreational activities.
  • Has The Time Come Finally for Accessibility and Digital Menus For Restaurants? — That’s why we’re asking the question: should restaurant accessibility standards include digital menus?  Article reprinted from Keyser, a major provider of  displays and digital menu boards.
  • Comments by Seyfarth — While the rulemaking process can take years, we predict the DOJ will work hard to get all of these new standards finalized before the end of the Biden Administration because a regime change will most certainly halt all regulatory activity, yet again.
  • Disability Inclusion in the Workplace Interview — interview of CraigK
  • DOJ Goes All in on ADA is a Nondelegable Duty — In the Statement of Interest, the DOJ goes all in on the ADA being a nondelegable duty. That the ADA is a nondelegable duty should not surprise readers of this blog because we previously discussed that here, and I return to the concept frequently.
  • Canada CSA Group — we (KMA) submitted technology considerations for next CSA session.
  • Canada ADA groups — three groups in Canada have applied to join ADA Committee
  • EV Charging Expected Overall Regulations
    • guidance doc
    • EV charging stations will need to comply with ADA and Section 504 requirements and be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including those using wheelchairs or other assistive equipment. Key considerations include safety and ease of use. Specifically, designs for EV charging stations must ensure adequate space for exiting and entering the vehicle, unobstructed access to the EV charging stations, free movement around the EV charging stations and connection point on the vehicle, and clear paths and close proximity to any building entrances.
    • NEVI funds can be used to retrofit existing non-ADA compliant stations to ADA compliant
    • Revenue from retrofitted or new chargers (advertising?) will be deducted from funding received. The State DOT will likely have input on partnerships.
    • Title 3 will apply no doubt
    • 40% to disadvantage communities (underserved, underbanked)
    • Useful links for State DOT — For example, FHWA’s guide, Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decisionmaking, provides examples of public engagement best practices and illustrates how meaningful public engagement entails more than simply holding public events, but also incorporating public comments and feedback into decisionmaking. Additional suggested resources include:
    • • Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decisionmaking (FHWA) – Public Involvement
      Techniques – Publications – Public Involvement – Planning – FHWA (dot.gov)
      • Virtual Public Involvement (FHWA) – EDC-6: Virtual Public Involvement | Federal Highway
      Administration (dot.gov)
      • How to Engage Low-Literacy and Limited-English-Proficiency Populations in Transportation
      Decision Making (FHWA) – Low Limited – Publications – Planning – FHWA (dot.gov)
      • Every Place Counts Leadership Academy Transportation Toolkit (FHWA) – Every Place Counts
      Leadership Academy (transportation.gov)

 

Canada Accessibility Plans

ADA kiosks

Canada has requirements regarding “accessibility plans. This was first published in December 2021. Here is the main link.

In Brief

  • Only federal agencies affected (retailers are not for example)
  • These guidance modules are intended for those to whom the Accessible Canada Act applies, including:
    • Government of Canada entities, including departments and agencies
      crown corporations
    • every portion of the federal public administration designated under subsection 7(3) of the ACA
    • the Canadian Forces
    • parliamentary entities
    • federally regulated private sector entities
  • The regulations set different deadlines for the publication of different entities’ first accessibility plans:
    • government entities, including departments, agencies, Crown corporations, or government-related entities such as the Canadian Forces or Parliamentary entities: December 31, 2022
    • large federally regulated private sector entities with an average of 100 or more employees: June 1, 2023
    • small federally regulated private sector entities with an average of between 10 and 99 employees: June 1, 2024
    • Read sections 1 and 2 of the regulations to learn which entities may be exempt from these requirements.

 

Sample Accessibility Plan Template

The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and the Accessible Canada Regulations (regulations) require that federally regulated entities prepare and publish accessibility plans. This template is not mandatory, and is provided as a sample that can be used to prepare your organization’s accessibility plan.

The template clearly indicates all of the required content. For example, your plan must include certain headings (“General,” headings respecting the areas described in section 5 of the ACA, and “Consultations”).

The template also includes content that is recommended, but not required. You can adapt this content to reflect your organization’s needs and resources.

You may also be required to include additional content in your plan if your organization is regulated under the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, or the Canada Transportation Act. For more information on these requirements, read sections 42 through 68 of the ACA.

“General” (required heading)

This section must include the position title of the person designated by your organization to receive feedback on barriers and your accessibility plans. It must also include the mailing address of your organization’s publicly accessible place of business, a telephone number, and an email address.

Executive summary (recommended subheading)

You could include a short (1 page or less) summary of your accessibility plan. It could give an overview of the major barriers you identified, the steps you will take to remove and prevent them, and a summary of your consultations with people with disabilities.

Accessibility statement (recommended subheading)

You could include a short (1 page or less) statement describing how accessibility fits into your organization’s operations and activities. It should reflect the current regulations and your organization’s long-term goals.

Areas described under section 5 of the ACA (required headings)

You must include a heading for each of the areas described under section 5 of the ACA:

  • employment
  • the built environment
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • communication, other than ICT
  • the procurement of goods, services and facilities
  • the design and delivery of programs and services
  • transportation

The ACA requires the publication of an accessibility plan respecting your organization’s policies, programs, practices and services in relation to the identification and removal of barriers, and the prevention of new barriers, in the areas listed above. If you cannot identify any barriers in one of the areas, or if that area is not relevant to your operations, you can note this under the heading. You can also use your consultations with persons with disabilities to ask for advice about barriers within these areas.

It is recommended that you cover the following topics under each area:

  • barriers: barriers in each area as identified by employees, clients, consultation participants, or others
  • actions: concrete steps you have taken or will take to remove and/or prevent those barriers, including:
  • timelines
  • roles and responsibilities
  • determining and tracking intended outcomes

“Consultations” (required heading)

You must set out the manner in which your organization consulted persons with disabilities in the preparation of your accessibility plan. While maintaining respect for consultation participants’ right to privacy, we recommend that you describe how you consulted (in-person or virtual meetings, surveys, or other means), whom you consulted (individuals, experts, and organizations), and what comments or data you received. You could include more details about your consultations in an annex. ESDC will publish additional guidance on consulting persons with disabilities.

Additional headings (recommended)

Glossary (recommended heading)

You could include definitions of words or expressions in your plan with which people may not be familiar. The definitions should be written in simple, clear, and concise language.

Budget and resource allocation (recommended heading)

You could include a description of the money and resources your organization plans to allocate for accessibility improvements.

Training (recommended heading)

You could include training that you will provide to your staff, such as training about accessibility and about communicating with people with different types of disabilities. You could also include training about intersectionality and unconscious biases.

Areas other than those identified under section 5 of the ACA (recommended heading)

Your organization may identify, remove, or prevent barriers in areas that are not listed in the ACA. You can include headings for these areas, and cover the same topics that are listed above: consultations, barrier descriptions, and actions.

Related guides and help

U.S. Access Board News – Alison Levy New Director

US Access Board ADA voting

ADA Kiosk & U.S. Access Board News

Access Board Alison Levy” src=”https://kma.global/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/alison-levy.png” alt=”U.S. Access Board Alison Levy” width=”153″ height=”201″ /> U.S. Access Board Alison Levy

Alison Levy has been named the new Director of the Office of Technical and Information Services (OTIS) at the U.S. Access Board. She succeeds Dave Yanchulis who retired in April after 36 years with the Board. In this role, Levy will manage and establish program goals and operations for OTIS, including those related to accessibility guidelines and standards, technical assistance and guidance, training, and research. OTIS is responsible for the development of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines for buildings, facilities, and transportation vehicles, Standards and Guidelines for Accessible Information and Communication Technology, and Standards for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment.

“I am excited to have Alison join our team of dedicated experts in the accessibility space.” Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran said. “She will be leading a team of experts that plays a vital role in advancing our accessibility standards and guidelines in advancing equal access for all.”

Full Text

Alison Levy has been named the new Director of the Office of Technical and Information Services (OTIS) at the U.S. Access Board. She succeeds Dave Yanchulis who retired in April after 36 years with the Board. In this role, Levy will manage and establish program goals and operations for OTIS, including those related to accessibility guidelines and standards, technical assistance and guidance, training, and research. OTIS is responsible for the development of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards, standards and guidelines for accessible information and communication technology, and standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment.

“I am excited to have Alison join our team of dedicated experts in the accessibility space.” Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran said. “She will be leading a team of experts that plays a vital role in advancing our accessibility standards and guidelines and advancing equal access for all.”

Levy most recently served as the Manager of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC is a centrally funded office that supports internal supervisors and employees in creating an accessible and inclusive workplace through recruitment, hiring, outreach, education, and reasonable accommodations.

“Accessibility is a human right that ensures we all thrive together in society,” Levy remarked. “I look forward to working at the Access Board in broadening its capacity to better educate and obtain greater access for all.”

Previously, Levy served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), providing leadership over the recruitment, hiring, advancement, and retention of individuals with disabilities, including reasonable accommodations. She developed and implemented policies, procedures, and strategic plans, and facilitated programs through a diverse team of more than 50 contacts across USDA’s 34 mission areas, agencies, and staff offices. Her efforts with a team of diversity and inclusion colleagues yielded USDA’s six-level rise in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to #2 for Large Federal Agencies in Diversity Support.

Levy was one of the founding leaders of the Federal Disability Workforce Consortium (FDWC), a volunteer, interagency organization that grew from 20 to more than 900 federal points of contact with monthly webinars, meetings, and collaborations with the Office of Personnel Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

As a person with disabilities, and with over 30 years of experience in the disability profession, Levy has worked toward improving workplace attitudes and accessibility, and in providing equal opportunity in the post-secondary, public, and private sectors. Levy earned her B.A. in Public Communication from The American University and her Master’s in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in American Sign Language.

More Posts

What Drivers with Disabilities Need to Know

Driving Disability Stats

Disabilities and Driving  the EV Car

Nice article centered on Britain but applicable to all countries. Looking at all the ways that a person with some sort of disability must face when driving an electric car is a good source of insight, especially with EV Charging Stations.

We take readers through everything they need to know:

  1. The driving gap between adults with and without a disability
  2. Benefits of and barriers to driving an EV for someone with a disability
  3. How to make EVs more accessible
  4. Support that’s currently available for disabled EV drivers

We explore a whole range of stats and figures:

  • Adults with a pre-existing condition drive an average of 2,203 miles per year, about half the average distance driven by someone without a disability.
  • An EV can be a great financial choice. The Motability scheme helps disabled drivers lease cars with a large variety of expenses included. Plus, it’s already up to £756 cheaper a year to run an EV.
  • It’s unsurprising that only 25% of drivers with a disability feel comfortable driving in an electric vehicle. Promisingly, though, if changes were made to the infrastructure of the charging system, this figure would increase to 61%.
  • 10 million – total number of registered electric cars on the road globally (as of 2020)

Read the Nice article

More Posts

Website Accessibility – Intro By U.S. Access Board + Tips

An Introduction to Website Accessibility

We sat in on the Thursday, May 5, 2022 Session. Bruce Bailey of U.S. Access Board led the discussion and as usual provided the “kitchen sink” when it comes to website accessibility. Below are the materials from that session.

We have also included our personal tips for testing and providing website accessibility. We recommend getting on the mailing list for U.S. Access Board and continuing your education and learning regarding accessibility.

Description

Everyone needs access to digital information provided by the World Wide Web. However, many websites have subtle barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using content. Fortunately, accessibility is not difficult to implement, and most accessibility features do not require significant changes to the visual presentation. This session will review what web accessibility is, how people with disabilities use the web, how to quickly identify accessibility barriers, and what are some simple solutions. Access Board IT Specialist Bruce Bailey will also clarify common sources of confusion about web accessibility and provide key resources for learning more about website accessibility. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. This webinar will include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits.

 

Multimedia Archives

Playback Video
Note: No credit is available for reviewing the recorded session.
Power Point   PowerPoint-Website Accessibility 5-5-2022 (Power Point File)
PDF   Handout Web Accessibility 5-5-2022 2slides perpage (PDF File)
RTF   Handout Web Accessibility 5-5-2022 RTF (RTF File)

Speakers

Bruce Bailey IT Specialist, U.S. Access Board


Useful Tips for Testing, Implementing and Providing Website Accessibility

  • “Magic bullet” plugins for WordPress and other CMS web systems — Generally these are “accessibility theater”.  We have tested and tried many of these. It’s important to note that when we say “tested” we mean we have had disabled users of different tenors actually try the website and let us know what passed and what failed.
  • Generally tab stops, alt text for images, a readable base font of 16 (1 em is rule) and sufficient contrast ratios for text and hyperlinks is a good place to start’
  • Videos are becoming more commonplace. Accurate and understandable captions are required. Transcripts are nice for dialogue but they do not mitigate lack of captions in the actual video.  There are a variety of transcription services.
  • Running WordPress ourselves, we have considered activating plugin such as WAH Accessibility Pro.  It provides some nice control of text, zoom and even audio.  As a plugin it has a relatively light footprint when it comes to load factor.  A WP site with Google dev speed of 99 (e.g. kma.global) will drop to around 85 with the plugin fully configured.  You can mitigate load factor by utilizing CDN like Cloudflare (highly recommended). That should bring it back to around 95.
  • Checking your site
    • WCAG 2.1 Level AA is base reference
    • We like the new insights from Microsoft Edge browser — it has a fast check that catches stupid mistakes and then more in depth test
    • A great reference site and another testing tool is webaim
    • Don’t pay for a testing tool
web accessibility test by Edge

Click for full size — web accessibility test by Edge


Legal Actions regarding ADA

We maintain a chronology of regulatory “events” (aka lawyers in action) at kioskindustry Legal News. We often use the acronym “FOBS” which rhymes with sobs and stands for Fear of Being Sued. Going cheap not only costs more money, but it narrows your audience. The disabled community is 25 million or so and it is only increasing. Think of them as customers.  Japan does.. For reference, Japan is aging rapidly, those over 65 already constituted 27.7% of the total population in 2017. This figure is the highest in the world and is projected to grow continuously up to 38.4% in 2065.  These are trends that we will likely see in the U.S. and Europe for that matter.