SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


Web Site Accessibility Awards Announced

San Francisco State is among four winners


SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2008 – San Francisco State University is among the first winners of the California Digital Inclusion Awards, which celebrate companies and organizations that are making their Web sites accessible to people with disabilities. University officials will receive the award at a ceremony on November 18.

"This is an exciting project, and we are gratified to support an endeavor that will impact the lives of 6 million Californians with disabilities and the millions more who will benefit as their sight and mobility decline," said President and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund Sunne Wright McPeak. "This award celebrates an important component of making the Internet usable by people with disabilities: web sites that are accessible and usable by people in this community."

San Francisco State’s Web site is being recognized for its ease of use and accessibility for all users. SF State's Web site has been recognized specifically for its home page design which features an expandable menu of links making it easier for visitors using assistive technology such as screen readers to navigate the site. In addition the Web site offers a "skip navigation" function which allows users to skip directly to the main content of each Web page. Without this tool, visitors using screen readers would have to listen to a long list of links before reaching the main content. Similarly keyboard-only users would have to tab through these links before reaching the main content.

SF State's use of expandable links and skip navigation is unique in that these tools are made accessible to all users -- those using assistive technology and those who are not.

The Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley developed the California Digital Inclusion Celebration as a way of bringing together companies and organizations that are working on improving access to websites. The Center provides consulting on web site accessibility, and works to enhance awareness of the issue of web site accessibility.

"By creating this program, we are celebrating the companies that are providing access for web users with disabilities," said Dmitri Belser, Executive Director of the Center for Accessible Technology. "We’re also getting other organizations interested in the issue, and providing no-cost consulting services to participants in the Program." Funded by the California Emerging Technology Fund, an awards ceremony will take place Tuesday, November 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Oakland Marriott.

In addition to San Francisco State University, this year’s winners include The California State University, Gap Inc., and SeamlessWeb.

The Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT) provides access to assistive technology solutions for children and adults with disabilities. CforAT works directly with clients, consults with school districts on accommodations for children with disabilities, provides job accommodations for adults with disabilities, offers consulting services on accessible websites, user testing by people with disabilities and product testing services. For more information, visit www.cforat.org.

The mission of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) is to close the Digital Divide and ensure that California is a global leader in the use of broadband technology (high-speed access to the Internet). The California Public Utilities Commission directed the establishment of CETF in approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI in 2005. AT&T and Verizon are contributing a total of $60 million in seed capital to advance broadband deployment and adoption. CETF is a non-profit public-benefit corporation. For more information, visit www.cetfund.org.

San Francisco State University is the only master’s-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls more than 30,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University’s more than 140,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.

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