TEITAC Invites Input on Standards Change

By Jared Smith

The Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) is a federal advisory committee providing recommendations for updates of accessibility standards issued under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and guidelines under section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. It was formed in July 2006 by the U.S. Access Board to review accessibility standards and guidelines and to recommend changes. The committee's membership includes representatives from industry, disability groups, standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and government agencies, among others.

TEITAC is currently comprised of 8 subcommittees - General Interface Accessibility, Web and Software, Telecommunications, Audio Video, Self contained/closed, Desktops/Portable, Sub-part A, and Documentation and technical support. These subcommittees are reviewing existing federal guidelines, analyzing other international accessibility standards, and are formulating new guidelines for recommendation to the full TEITAC committee.

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) is a member of TEITAC and is represented by Jared Smith and Cyndi Rowland. NCDAE has been a central member of several subcommittees and has contributed greatly to the main TEITAC committee. NCDAE is playing a central role in the formulation of the new accessibility guidelines by supporting the technology needs of the Access Board. NCDAE has devoted time and technology to provide web hosting, development, and support of the TEITAC web site and collaboration tools - NCDAE staff have provided a wiki for online collaboration and document creation, mailing lists for e-mail discussions, an online calendar, and a hand-raising utility for facilitating teleconference calls. These tools have been invaluable resources for the committee and all participants. NCDAE staff also provided training to the TEITAC committee on the use of these tools at the November meeting in Washington, D.C.

All TEITAC activities are open to the public and anyone can contribute and participate in subcommittee work. You can begin participating by going to the TEITAC web site at http://teitac.org.