IDRC - Celebrating 25 Years

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New Contract Between the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre and the Public Service Commission

For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 28, 1996



Contact:

Linda Petty, Assistant Manager
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
(416) 978-0734
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Toronto -- The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre recently negotiated a contract to partner with the Diversity Management Directorate (DMD) of the Federal Public Service Commission on exploring the usage of World Wide Web (WWWWWW using identified adaptive technologies in conjunction with a representative sample of WWW browsers.



The results of this examination will be documented in the form of a final research report, as well as a practical on-line "How To" tool designed to provide users with disabilities with information and choices on accessing the WWW using adaptive technology. Finally, results will also be distributed to users, and adaptive technology and browser developers and manufacturers via the WWW and other mechanisms.

Specifically, the ATRC will:

  • document the strengths and weaknesses in controlling browser functions using various types of access technologies and various identified browsers
  • document what necessary customizations various pieces of adaptive technology require in order for them to work the most effectively with the identified web browsers
  • inform the manufacturers of each piece of adaptive technology tested of the results of the research on their product, encouraging their feedback, and making any necessary modifications before finalizing results
  • prepare a final report explaining what tools were used, what methodology, what results were found, and what customizations will be of most help
  • summarize the research results in a set of "How To" guidelines targeted to users with disabilities
  • deliver the testing form(s), research report and "How To" guidelines as products that can be converted into HTML for posting on the WWW for access by consumers, researchers and developers
  • along with the DMD, provide the browser and alternative access product developers with these results, highlighting product areas that might be changed to improve accessibility

In awarding the sole source contract to the ATRC, the DMD gave the following rationale:

"The Diversity Management Directorate believes the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto possesses a rare combination of skills and experience that uniquely qualifies it for an adaptive technologies/web browsers evaluation project. This project demands the contractor to evaluate various types of adaptive computer technologies with representative World Wide Web browsers. The ATRC has a wide range of experience in the subject areas of:
  • adaptive computer technologies,
  • accessibility to the World Wide Web (WWW) for persons with disabilities, and
  • providing accommodations for persons with disabilities.
The Centre is also on the leading edge of enabling the WWW for persons with disabilities through its development of a WWW browser that is fully accessible.The ATRC already has many of the tools this project demands including various types of adaptive technologies and web browsers. It has a facility that can accommodate this combination of technologies easily. It has experienced and professional staff who are able to complete the work, and a base of computer users with disabilities who can perform some testing and provide results to the project. In summary, DMDATRC has the expertise, tools and resources that are uniquely available for this project, and are not to be found elsewhere." believes that the

This contract was envisioned following discussion with Peter Field of the Diversity Management Directorate in early January, 1996. Peter presented with Linda Petty, Assistant Manager of the ATRC, at an Internet World pre-conference workshop. A tour of the ATRC and a meeting there with Jutta Treviranus, ATRC Manager, and Linda Petty followed the workshop, and led to the plan to contract the ATRC for work needed on the DMD Internet Pilot Project.