The AccessAbility SIG serves as a focal point both to help members with special needs achieve their potential and to help ensure the accessibility of technical communication products to end users with special needs. We accomplish this by researching and publishing information about products, services, and literature that can assist technical communicators with disabilities in their career activities and to assist all technical communicators in developing products that are fully accessible to users with disabilities.
Examples of "special needs" include speech recognition software, Braille keyboards, improved wheelchair access, a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) business line, and Section 508-compliant Web site design.
Managers and instructors are often unaware of resources that can help those with special needs. Additionally, they may be unaware of ethical guidelines that are also important in such cases. The AccessAbility SIG is the first STC-supported endeavor to address these gaps. AccessAbility SIG activities include:
- publishing Achieve! (the SIG's quarterly newsletter)
- surveying SIG members about their special needs
- maintaining a discussion list
- publishing findings and recommendations
- conducting a chapter-level outreach initiative
- researching telecommunication as a career enabler for communicators with special needs such as mobility restrictions, and exploring usability issues
Accessibility of technical communication products (for example, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act) is also a major focus of professional development and academic research.
- Name: Karen Mardahl