Glenwood Springs is getting a head start on state’s new digital accessibility bill
The city of Glenwood Springs has been working to update its digital platforms to have more accessibility for residents.
The state of Colorado passed a bill for all government-run entities to update their digital accessibility by 2024, through the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
“It takes the ADA and expands on it to explicitly say that, as a government organization, we cannot discriminate against our community members with disabilities which is something that we would never want to do,” Bryana Starbuck, the city public information officer, said at a council meeting on March 2.
Digital accessibility does not only cover making the website more accessible, but the city has made all of their websites along with social media more accessible. This also extends to documents, forms and other aspects like writing out acronyms and titles and offering Spanish translations.
“Of all the jurisdictions I work in, Glenwood is really leading on this issue,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon said. “This is a state mandated change that we need to make.”
He added that most other areas he works in have not taken it as seriously as Glenwood.
The best example of some of these changes is on the city’s website. At the bottom left corner of the screen look for an icon of a person, called an accessibility module. That icon can adjust the text to help those who have dyslexia or add a guiding line for people who have ADHD.
“Because disability comes in many different shapes and forms, this is a way for folks to be able to modify the user experience to be tailored to their needs,” Starbuck said.
It can also help with spacing, text size, cursor size, contrast, animation and more.
“Every single web page, every single document, every single form that we are creating, we are doing our best to meet those accessibility standards, while also providing a pathway for folks to be able to reach out to us if they need assistance,” Starbuck said.
There has also been a lot of training internally with staff, and Councilor Ingrid Wussow requested training for council members too.
If people need interpretation or other alternatives, they are encouraged to reach out to Starbuck, Steve Frederick, the city’s recreation manager, or administrative assistant Sara Weigel, who are all part of the city’s ADA coordinator team.
“We want people to be able to participate because everyone being able to participate is a core tenet of civic life and we want that to be able to happen,” Starbuck said.
The staff does ask that if people request something like interpretation for an event, they do it 48 hours ahead of time so they can be sure to accommodate people as needed.
Even third party vendors who work with the city will eventually be required to be compliant with the statute.
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