Test your Site for Accessibility with Cynthia Says ™

Picture of Cynthia Waddell

Cynthia Waddell Juris Doctor

cynthia.waddell@icdri.org 

Cynthia Waddell is a well-known advocate for fair and equal treatment of people with disabilities under the law. She has spoken in many places on the subject of the Internet and the fair and accessible presentation of information for everyone.

Internationally recognized as an expert in the accessible design of electronic and information technology as well as employment and construction, Cynthia Waddell is Executive Director of ICDRI. 

Below is a collection of selected papers, presentations and legal resources on the subject of access to electronic and information technology. Of particular interest is the seminal paper "The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation" which was commissioned by the U.S. government for the first national conference on the impact of the digital economy in May 1999. 

In addition, our collection of selected presentations include those given at the request of U.S. State and Federal officials, private sector interests and the international community. Significant legal resource links include the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Letters of Resolution as well as the 1996 U.S. Department of Justice Policy Ruling that the ADA "effective communication" requirement applies equally to web sites of covered businesses and governmental entities.

Lastly, in addition to providing links to legal resources, relevant legal developments in this field are tracked on this page, such as the Section 508 rulemaking by the U.S. Access Board.

Table of Contents

Biography

Blog

Interviews

Speaking Schedule

Keynote Addresses

ADA Friend of the Court Briefs Filed for Access Now v. Southwest Airlines

Commentary

DMCA Issues

National Council on Disability - USA

News

Papers

Presentations

Section 508 Compliance Letters

U.S. Access Board

U.S. Copyright Law

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Letters of Resolution 

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

U.S. Department of Justice Policy Ruling on Accessibility and Web Sites

California IT Accessibility Initiatives

City of San José  Wins Helen Putnam Award

City of San Jose World Wide Web Disability Access Design Standards

City of San José Access Instructions

Policy Projects and Reports on Accessibility - Takes you to separate page

Press Releases

Presidential Actions 

Articles 

State Activity Regarding Section 508 And Accessibility Laws

Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities

Global Policy Initiatives


Blog for the United Nations

See Cynthia Waddell's Blog for the United Nations  at http://g3ict.com/zones/government_services


Interviews

March 2009 ehousestudio interviews Cynthia Waddell for its Blog

December 2007 Interview by Business Week Magazine

November 2006 Waddell Interview by i4d India Technology Magazine

Link to PDFVersion  - this may not be accessible to everyone - Link to download PDF reader

HTML Version


Speaking Schedule

Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2011 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2010 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2009 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2008 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2007 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2006 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2005 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2004 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2003 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2002 Speaking Schedule

Cynthia Waddell's 2001 Speaking Schedule

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Keynote Addresses

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Commissioned Paper Meeting Information and Communications Technology Access and Service Needs for People with Disabilities: Major Issues for Development and Implementation of Successful Policies and Strategies( Document #5 )  September 17, 2007

English

French

Spanish

The above links are to files in .doc format they are also available in PDF format  under Document #5 at http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/study_groups/SGP_2006-2010/events/2007/Workshops/documents.html.

United Nations and International Treaty on Rights of Persons
with Disabilities June 17, 2003

"Critical Issues from a Disability Perspective: Accessibility" presented at United Nations in New York for the Ad Hoc Committee Charged with the Development of a New International Treaty on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Posted at the United Nations at:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/panelcwaddell.htm.

European Day of Disabled People 3 December 2001 Brussels

"Design by All - The Need for Legislation" in Brussels, Belgium at the invitation of the European Commission and the European Disability Forum celebrating European Day of Disabled People 3 December 2001

Gettysburg  Section 508 Coordinator Training for Federal IT Accessibility Initiative 

Florida ADA Conference Keynote on August 16, 2001

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ADA Friend of the Court Briefs Filed for Access Now v. Southwest Airlines

W3C Amicus Brief Filed March 17, 2003
Disability Community Amicus Brief filed in support of plaintiffs/appellants on March 17, 2003 by American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, National Association of the Deaf, National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, and National Federation of the Blind.

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Commentary

Questions about Electronic Signature Bill: Will Everyone Be Able to Participate?

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DMCA Issues

Digital Millennium Copyright Act Copyright Exemption Ruling for Accessibility - October 28 2003

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National Council on Disability - USA

WHEN THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT GOES ONLINE:
Application of the ADA to the Internet and the Worldwide Web

National Council on Disability Recommends Legislative Fixes for Disability Policies at State Department and USAID

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News

Letter to the Editor Regarding the Southwest Airlines Accessible Web Case

A thoughtful response to an article in  E-Access about the Southwest Airlines accessible web case.

National Council on Disability Releases New Paper The Accessible Future.

A new paper by the National Council on Disability, released on June 21, cites the work of Cynthia Waddell....

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Papers:

Report of International Telecommunication Union activities on ICT Accessibility Activities and ICDRI Participation

Published June 10, 2008

Accessible Electronic and Information Technology: Legal Obligations of Higher Education and Section 508

Published 2007 in ATHEN E-Journal (Access Technologists Higher Education Network)

ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS: US ACCESSIBILITY LAWS & ISSUES

Paper presented at the March 2004 CSUN Conference in Los Angeles, CA

Critical Issues from a Disability Perspective: Accessibility

Presented by Cynthia D. Waddell at 2003 UN Meeting Developing Treaty on Rights of People with Disabilities

ADA Transit Case Seeks Accessible Web Remedy

Published in the Disability Compliance Bulletin® and National Disability Law Reporter® Volume 24, Issue 8, October 31, 2002.

Universal Design for the Internet

This membership briefing paper was co-authored by Michael Burks and Cynthia Waddell in August 2001 at the request of The Internet Society. It was written as a two page introductory paper on the evolution of accessible web design as a best practice. Topical headings include definition, background, technical issues, implications and ISOC position and resources. http://www.isoc.org/briefings/002/ 

Applying the ADA to the Internet - A Web Accessibility Standard

This paper was requested by the American Bar Association for their national summit on disability rights for the development of a blueprint for the new century. Written June 1998. Since its publication, the paper has been cited frequently both in the U.S. and abroad. For example, please see the June 2001 National Council on Disability report entitled "The Accessible Future" at http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/01publications.html

The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation in the Digital Economy 

Chinese Version

This paper was commissioned by the US government for the first national conference on the impact of the digital economy in May 1999.  It is the sole paper on the impact for persons with disabilities.  It was selected for re-publication in two significant forums: 

1)    It was selected for re-publication by the World Economic Development Congress for the World Bank/IMF Summit in 1999; and

2)    In 2000, Cynthia Waddell also gave permission for the re-publication of the paper as part of the official business and technology briefings of the United Nations Forum on Electronic Commerce for Transition Economies in the Digital Age.  Organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Committee for Trade, Industry & Enterprise Development.  Event was televised on BBC, CNN, CNBC and covered by all major businesses and information technology press.

Electronic Curbcuts - Universal Access for Everyone

This paper was requested by and published in iMP: The Magazine for Information Impacts, a publication of the Center for Information Strategy and Policy, an affiliated organization of the Association of Computer Machinery Digital Library. It is a short update on the previous paper and has information on international impacts. Written 12/99.

Electronic Curbcuts - The ADA in Cyberspace 

Published in Human Rights, Volume 27, Number 1, Winter 2000, an American Bar Association Magazine for the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities. Written 12/99.

Electronic Textbooks

Although access to textbooks for students who are blind or who have other print disabilities is a civil right in the U.S., the availability of accessible electronic textbooks continues to be a challenge in both traditional learning environments and in long-distance learning.

Will the National Federation of the Blind Renew Their ADA Web Complaint Against AOL? 

Published on page 9 of Disability Compliance Bulletin and National Disability Law Reporter Volume 18, Issue 5, August 24, 2000

The National Federation of the Blind Sues AOL

Will the National Federation of the Blind Renew Their ADA Web Complaint Against AOL?  published in the Human Rights magazine above. Written 12/99. 

Suit Targets Cyberspace for ADA Compliance

Published in the National Disability Law Reporter, Highlights, Volume 16, Issue 5, December 16, 1999.

Is Your Site ADA-Compliant . . . or a Lawsuit-in-Waiting?

published in the Internet Lawyer, Issue 4.11, November 1998 

Electronic Curbcuts for Government Web Sites: Making Your Web Site Accessible 

published in ADA Update, a quarterly publication of the ADA Training Project for State and Local Governments, National League of Cities. Written Fall 1997.

Electronic Curbcuts: How to Build an Accessible Web Site

co-authored by Leslie M. Campbell and Cynthia D. Waddell, CAPED Communiqué, California Association of Post-Secondary Education on Disability, Spring 1997.  . Presented at Sixth International World Wide Web Conference in April 1997 (launch of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative) http://decweb.ethz.ch/WWW6/Access/ACC238.html and at the International Leadership Forum For Women with Disabilities in June 1997 http://www.prodworks.com/ilf/w5bcw.htm

Treble Damages & Attorney's Fees in California: Remedies for Access Under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Written for the 34th Annual Convention of the Consumer Attorneys of California, November 1995.

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Presentations:

CSUN Presentations March 2010

Update on Accessible Web & Electronic Book Litigation

Update: Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities & Proposed World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty

Internet Governance Forum 12 November 2007

Intersection of Open Standards, Development and Public Policy - November 12, 2007

Overview of US Law & Policy  for IT Accessibility

Technology and Persons with Disabilities, California State University, Northridge
March 21-24, 2001 

California E-Government Blueprint Initiative:
Accessibility of Electronic & Information Technology Briefing

Presentation made at the request of the Governor's Office of Innovation for State Chief Information Officers, senior technical managers, legal and legislative staff at the Sacramento State Capitol, Governor's Council Room on May 2, 2000.

CSUN International U.S. Legal Issues- Access to Electronic & Information Technology

Technology and Persons with Disabilities, California State University, Northridge
March 20-25, 2000 

Electronic Curbcuts Legal Requirements for Cyberspace

The Association for Women in Computing National Capital Chapter & the D.C. Association of Internet Professionals
February 16, 2000

Accessible Web Design: Legal Update &Implementation at City of San Jose

InterLab 99, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University
November 3 - 5, 1999

Why Develop Technologies that Everyone Can Access

Keynote presentation for the State government of Washington: "Why Develop Technologies that Everyone Can Access" at Achieving Website Accessibility in State Government conference in Tumwater, Washington, on June 7, 1999. See http://aware.hwg.org/learning/wa_1999-06-07.html  for announcement. State of Washington website accessibility resources is found at: http://www.aasa.dshs.wa.gov/access/ 
June 7, 1999

Information Technology Changes, Civil Rights Do Not

Afternoon legal presentation for the State government of Washington: "Information Technology Changes, Civil Rights Do Not" at Achieving Website
Accessibility in State Government conference in Tumwater, Washington, on
June 7, 1999.

The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation

Presentation of U.S. commissioned law and policy paper, "The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation," at the Understanding the Digitial Economy: Data, Tools and Research conference on May 25 and 26, 1999 at the U.S. Department of Commerce; see http://www.digitaleconomy.gov   This was the first national conference on the impact of the digital economy. The purpose of the conference was to review recent research and examine the agenda for future research, including the need for and possible sources of new data, indicators, and tools.
May 25 and 26, 1999 

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Section 508 Compliance Letters

CA Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Legal Opinion M 01-17

CA Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Legal Opinion M 01-17, Dated June 11, 2001 from Ralph Black, General Counsel

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State Activity Regarding Section 508 Accessibility Laws

Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC), Report on State Information Accessibility Laws

Resna Policy Information Pipeline: State Activity Regarding Section 508
http://www.resna.org/taproject/policy/initiatives/508/508Stateactions.htm

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U.S. Access Board

U.S. Access Board, Standards for Electronic and Information Technology

"On March 31, 2000, the Access Board published proposed standards for electronic and information technology that are available for public comment for 60 days." Quoted from Web Site

Federal/State Issue Alert Regarding Information Technology

"The purpose of this Federal/State Issues Alert on accessibility is to direct attention to recent legislation that may affect a small but significant part of the workforce whose needs are often ignored (people with disabilities). The series of Federal/State Issue Alerts are intended to assist busy managers who need to know about emerging and hot topics in the dynamic field of intergovernmental management." Quoted from the web page.

U.S. Attorney General Report to the President April 2000: Information Technology and People with Disabilities: The Current State of Federal Accessibility

This is the first self-evaluation report on the degree of accessibility of current federal electronic and information technology under the 1998 amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The scope of the report includes federal Web sites, telecommunications, software, hardware, printers, fax machines, copiers, and information kiosks. In August 2001 and every two years thereafter, the U.S. Attorney General is required to provide updated reports on the state of accessibility and will also report on the resolution of section 508 complaints filed against federal agencies. 

Related DOJ Press Release

April 18, 2000 

"WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Today, Attorney General Janet Reno announced the release of the Department of Justice's first report under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, "Information Technology and People with Disabilities: The Current State of Federal Accessibility." The Attorney General made this announcement at FOSE, an exposition of information technology aimed at federal agencies, at which she presented a keynote address. Ms. Reno addressed the federal government's efforts to make its information technology accessible to people with disabilities. "  Quoted from the press release

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U.S. Copyright Law

U.S. Copyright Exemption for Producing Alternate Formats

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U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Letters of Resolution 

OCR Home Page 

North Carolina State University, OCR Case Nos. 11-98-2046, 11-99-2055, 11-99-2142

North Carolina State University Agreement to Resolve OCR Complaints Number 11-98-2046, 11-99-2055 and 11-99-2142

California Community Colleges - Docket No. 09-97-6001

San Jose State University - Docket No. 09-95-2206

California State University, Los Angeles - Docket No. 09-97-2002

California State University, Long Beach - Docket No. 09-99-2041

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US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Disabilities Rights Office (DRO) home page 

Disabilities Rights Office (DRO) home page at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - Headline News

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U.S. Department of Justice Policy Rulings on Accessibility and Web Sites 

USDOJ Appellant Brief arguing that the ADA Applies to Internet Commercial Businesses: Hooks. v. Okbridge, Inc., on appeal in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas June 2000
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/briefs/hooks.htm 

DOJ Ruling on Accessibility of Web Sites 
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/foia/tal712.txt

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California IT Accessibility Initiatives

California Community Colleges Long Distance Learning Guidelines, August 1999

Instructional and Alternate Media Guidelines, April 2000

Chancellor's Cover Letter Forwarding Guidelines

California Statute Requiring School Textbooks in Electronic Format

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City of San José  Wins Helen Putnam Award

San José Wins Helen Putnam Award

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City of San José  World Wide Web Disability Access Design Standards

City of San José  World Wide Web Page Disability Access Design Standards, March 1997

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City of San José Access Instructions

Access Instructions for the City of San José 

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Press Releases

July 3, 2000 ICDRI in Support of ISOC-ISTF Position on Digital Signature Law

Boosting the Net Economy
2000 UK Press Release Quotes Waddell, Think Tank Participant

Boosting the Net 2000 Report selected recommendations addressing accessible web pages.

W3C Press Release re Web Accessibility Guidelines

http://www.w3.org:80/Press/1998/WAI-Guide 

Election.com Embraces Accessibility

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Presidential Actions 

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

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Articles 

The Carrot and the Stick

Activists for the disabled want Web sites to be easier to access. The Americans With Disabilities Act may prove a useful weapon.
By Aaron Pressman

The Industry Standard
May 1, 2000

"Wheelchair ramps, curb cuts and Braille instructions have sprouted across the United States, thanks in large measure to the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act." Quoted from article at: http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,14544,00.html 

Ensuring accessibility

IT can help disabled users escape technology's constraints
By David Raths

Infoworld 
October 26, 1998 (Vol. 20, Issue 43

"When Harry Stathos, chief financial officer at Northwest Permanente, in Portland, Ore., suffered a stroke that left him temporarily unable to read, his employer paid $4,000 for a scanner and two pieces of software that read documents and his e-mail to him." Quoted from article at: 

http://archive.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayArchive.pl?/98/43/z02-43.103.htm

Disabled issues confront Web sites 

By Matt Beer

Examiner.com
Nov 12, 1998 

' "Like a knife stuck in my head." Randy Tamez still winces when he recalls the pain from a tumor that left him legally blind 12 years ago. '

' It's a disability that has now put Tamez at the edge of the World Wide Web's next frontier: government-mandated cyberspace access for disabled.' citizens. Quoted from article at: http://www.examiner.com/981112/1112blindscreen.shtml

City worker ensures Web is accessible to everyone

By Katherine Thornberry

Bizjournals.com/sanjose
Week of October 27, 1997

"Two years ago, Cynthia Waddell couldn't define terms like "PDF file," "HTML," or "links." And to her, surfing was something people did in Santa Cruz. "

" Today, she's versed in World Wide Web and Internet lingo, and surfs the Web as easily as she changes stations on her TV set. "  Quoted from article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/1997/10/27/focus3.html

"Willing and Able: Online Learning and Students with Disabilities."

Canadian Article on Distance Learning in French and English quoting Cynthia Waddell and Dr. Norm Coombs. 

 http://laurence.canlearn.ca/Francais/cafe/aucourant/issue_1/index.cfm  -French 
http://laurence.canlearn.ca/english/cafe/insider/issue_1/index.cfm  - English

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State Activity Regarding Section 508

Resna Policy Information Pipeline: State Activity Regarding Section 508

http://www.resna.org/taproject/policy/initiatives/508/508Stateactions.htm 

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Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites
to People with Disabilities

U. S. Department of Justice web page on accessibility of state and local government web sites.
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/websites2.htm

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Global Legal and Policy Initiatives

ICDRI Accessibility Policy Projects and Reports

Listing of reports on policy projects that ICDRI is working on that are related to Accessibility for People with Disabilities. 

Global Legal and Policy Resources

This link leads to legal and policy initiatives on a worldwide scale.

Below are links to Global Initiatives citing Cynthia Waddell's works.

Australia

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in Australia has cited Cynthia in  "Working paper for e-commerce reference: web  accessibility." This paper is the result of the reference given to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission by the Attorney-General on access by older Australians and people with a disability to electronic commerce and new information and service technologies. They cite directly out of her Digital Divide paper
http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/current_inquiries/ecom/Webworking_
paper.htm
 

Digital Divide Paper to be published by the UN.

Cynthia Waddell has given permission for the republication of my paper, "The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation" for the upcoming United Nations Forum on Electronic Commerce. 

It will be published in the Official Business and Technology Briefings for the "Forum on Electronic Commerce for Transition Economies in the Digital Age"; 19-20 June, 2000, Palais des Nations, Geneva - Organised by the Committee for Trade, Industry and Enterprise Development of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
http://www.wmrc.com/busbriefing/BusBriefing/mediapacks/elcommp.html 

ISOC Presentation to UNESCO

Global Trends that will Impact Universal Access to Information Resources  Submitted to UNESCO on July 15th, 2000, by Christine Maxwell, Editor, On behalf of: The Internet Society http://www.isoc.org 

Japanese Policy
The plan to assist the use of the information and communication technology, and secure the web accessibility for elderly and disabled individuals

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