A GTA-led initiative to ensure the accessibility of the state’s enterprise web platform to Georgians with a wide range of disabilities has been named as a finalist in the 28th Annual State IT Recognition Awards. The awards are sponsored by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) to honor outstanding technology achievements in the public sector.

The state’s enterprise web platform is managed by GTA’s GeorgiaGov Interactive team and includes the state’s web portal, www.georgia.gov, along with 78 state agency websites. Collaborating with GTA on the Accessible Platform Initiative were the AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech and the state’s ADA Coordinator’s Office.

Because government has a special responsibility to ensure its services are readily available to everyone, the GeorgiaGov Interactive team made universal accessibility one of its top priorities in 2015.

“While it may take just a few seconds for a sighted person to find the right link on a government website, it could take an agonizingly long time for someone with a visual impairment who’s using a screen reader on a website that isn’t designed for universal accessibility,” said GeorgiaGov Interactive Director Nikhil Deshpande. “Far too often, people with disabilities are the constituency who need online self-service more than anyone else.”

The GeorgiaGov Interactive team implemented 24 enhancements to the enterprise web platform and updated all 16 design themes for greater color contrast and font legibility. Improvements to functionality make it easier to access online content using assistive tools. The initiative required significant research, planning, testing, and countless hours of code enhancement, and it resulted in compliance with widely recognized standards for accessibility.

“Once again Georgia is receiving nationwide recognition as a leader in using technology to make government services more accessible,” said State CIO and GTA Executive Director Calvin Rhodes. “I want to extend my congratulations to Nikhil and his entire team for their achievement and their commitment to public service.”

NASCIO is the nation’s leading resource for state CIOs and a prominent advocate for technology policy at all government levels. Its State IT Recognition Awards are widely considered the most prestigious and sought-after awards presented to state government IT executives.

For a list of all NASCIO State IT Recognition Award finalists, go to: http://nascio.org/Newsroom/ArtMID/484/ArticleID/403/NASCIO-Recognizes-Outstanding-Achievements-in-State-IT-Finalists-Announced-for-2016-NASCIO-State-IT-Recognition-Awards.