“Smart design removes barriers”
Phone 714.968.0636 - Email tom [at] tomjewett [dot] com
On this site
Meet our "enablers"
Our team has worked together for over 15 years, on projects from a database textbook to courses in accessible web design. We were the "first response Web team" for the 23-campus CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, and have individually or co-authored numerous papers and presentations in this area.
tom [at] tomjewett [dot] com
wayneedick [at] gmail [dot] com
Why are we so passionate about accessibility?
This is a true story about a young guy who flunked out of college in his freshman year. Not remarkable, you say? Happens all the time. Maybe he didn't have the skills? Maybe he was just goofing off?
Nope. This was a very bright, very motivated guy who had a big problem: being partially sighted, he couldn't read a textbook! The following year, he found out that the university would provide him with a human reader to assist. Tough way to go, though—human readers aren't on call 24/7, and what happens when you have to do that last-minute review before an exam?
A happy ending
Our young guy stuck it out. In fact, he stuck it out all the way through a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Meet Dr. Wayne Dick, Professor of Computer Science for over 30 years now, former Chair of his Department and Chair of his university's Academic Senate, and an internationally-recognized authority on accessible technology.
That was then, this is now
If Wayne were a freshman this year, he'd be able to read many of his course syllabi and assignments online, in a form that he could adapt to his own visual requirements. He'd also have some textbooks available in an electronic format that would be just as accessible for him as for any other student. In an ideal world, his struggles of the past would be over.
There's a catch, though
This is not yet an ideal world. Many of the course syllabi and assignments that are now online are not designed in a way that would permit Wayne—or other students with different disabilities—to use them effectively. Neither are important administrative pages at many universities. In fact, there is still no calculus textbook (the foundation of mathematics and science) that is available in an accessible format.
The goal is in sight
Technology is in place to make all information—whether it's classroom materials, books, or government and commercial content—accessible to all persons except those with the most severe combinations of disabilities. The even better news is that this technology usually provides faster development and substantial cost savings over old methods of providing content. But there is still a tremendous need for authors, developers and decision-makers to learn the technology, how to apply it, and how valuable it can be for them and their audiences. That's why we're in business, and that's why we love what we do.
The legal stuff
Copyright 2008, by Tom Jewett, tom [at] tomjewett [dot] com. Please see our home page for full legal notices.