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Sherri Vanyek (non-member)'s picture

2013 Annual Conference Registration -- Accessibility


FYI, Mary Ghikas just sent this email message out. 

To:         Mike Marlin – mike.marlin@library.ca.gov

               Simon Healey – sy_max_guy@msn.com

               Adam Szczepaniak – aszczepaniak@njstate.lib.org

               Tiffany Bradford-Oldham – tbradford@aph.org

               Marybeth Wise – mbwise1@aol.com

CC:         Sherri Vanyek, svanyek@ala.org; Louise Gruenberg (lgruenberg@ala.org), Jenny Levine (jlevine@ala.org), Paul Graller (pgraller@ala.org), Alicia Babcock (ababcock@ala.org)


om:    Mary W. Ghikas, mghikas@ala.org


As you likely already know, we are opening registration (including housing reservations) for the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.  We are  utilizing new registration and housing companies – for generally good business and technical reasons.  However, in bringing up the new systems, we have encountered some issues related to accessibility and I wanted make you aware of the issues, our process for addressing them and the interim work-around. 

 (1)    There are some remaining accessibility issues with the registration site itself.  ALA (particularly Louise Gruenberg) has done extensive usability testing; we have a list of problems that we are currently addressing.  We do not believe they will all have been satisfactorily addressed by Monday morning, but we will be continuing to work on them.  A phone number to call if you encounter a problem is on the site and on the ALA Annual Conference website. The number is also included at the end of this message, for your convenience.  We ask that if you encounter a problem, you also let us know; the most helpful step would be to send a brief email to Louise Gruenberg (lgruenberg@ala.org) telling her what the issue was.

(2)    We know that the housing site is NOT accessible and will not be until we open for the 2014 Midwinter meeting in fall 2013.  The vendor involved does have an accessible site, but an internal (ALA) decision was made to use a different (not accessible) version because of issues with browser compatibility.  This is a consequence of A and B not communicating clearly – and we will correct this prior to opening for Midwinter 2014.  There is a complex interface between registration and housing – and we simply do not have the capacity to redo that in time for Annual 2013 registration opening.  As a result, a message at the end of registration will direct individuals using screen readers to call the phone number provided to complete the housing reservation process.  Again, that number is also at the end of this message, for your convenience.

(3)    Housing information – hotel names, locations, rates and amenities – is available on the website.  It has been a complex information package to put together.  We are reviewing that data to check that it is all in accessible formats.

 We are contacting you in advance because (1) we do not want you surprised , (2) we need your assistance in working through this both by making colleagues who use screen readers aware of the problem and by communicating directly with us so we can move as quickly as our resources permit to address any issues.  Thank you for your assistance and your patience.   Please feel free to contact me at any point – 800-545-2433 x2518.  Sherri Vanyek, Louise Gruenberg and Jenny Levine in ALA ITTS are copied on this message, as are Paul Graller and Alicia Babcock in ALA Conference Services.

 Telephone numbers:  For problems with registration – 866-513-0760

                                        For housing – 800-584-9047


Aaron Dobbs's picture

Thanks for sharing this with WAC...

This seems like one of those things that WAC should discuss to recommend policy and practice? Is there something WAC can do, or say to the decision-makers, which will prioritize accessibility for all web-applications?

This seems to short-change the people who already have challenges with various web interfaces while prioritizing the sighted version(s) of the registration process.

If the vendor had an accessible interface, it should have been selected (imho) over the one with browser incompatibility issues.



"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

Sherri Vanyek (non-member)'s picture

ITTS agrees with your assessment.  We are adding a section on the WAC report to provide some additional information about this situation.  Conference Services made the decision to select the older not fully accessible version of housing software because many libraries, and thus members, do not always have the latest browser versions available to them. They’ve taken heat over browser compatibility in the past.

It was our understanding that the registration system was accessible, but ITTS uncovered several issues during the testing phase and are currently working with the vendor and our member accessibility community to resolve them.

The vendors have committed to make the registration and housing systems fully accessible for Midwinter 2014, which will open in September 2013. We could use help from WAC members and the ALA Accessibility Assembly to assist us with accessibility testing.