Nov. 12, 2002 --
Visitors to the new disabilityinfo.gov website will find this Oct. 15 message from Pres. George W. Bush:
"Welcome to DisabilityInfo.gov, the comprehensive Federal website of disability-related government resources. My Administration remains committed to ensuring that the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities learn and develop skills, find meaningful work, and realize the promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act. . . . This website is an important step in our work to build an America where all individuals are celebrated for their abilities and encouraged to achieve their dreams."
The site, a one-stop portal of information on government disability resources, was conceived in late August when Pres. Bush issued an executive memorandum asking Federal agencies to work with the Department of Labor to create what the administration termed a "specialized portal" and announced it was part of his New Freedom Initiative.
Although many of its internal pages still lack a great deal of content, the structure does indeed offer web surfers a good starting point for getting specific information about programs and benefits, and the site is easily navigable, with links that make intuitive sense to first-time visitors. Prominently-displayed tabs take visitors to pages on employment, education, housing, transportation, health, income support, technology, community life and civil rights -- pages with consumer-friendly information about government programs, initiatives and benefits, and offer contact information for specific agency programs. The information seems comprehensive and well-thought out.
In remarks inaugurating the website, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said disabilityinfo.gov was a way of "empowering Americans with disabilities to become a greater part of the 21st century workforce."
The site's developer, Arlington, Va.-based devIS (http://www.devis.com) says the site is fully accessible "and provides multiple interfaces, including a default graphical view and a High Contrast option for users with low vision." The website development company works with many. Federal agencies, and says it focuses on "creating sites that are not only technically accessible but that provide a rich interface for all disabled users.
More on the New Freedom Initiative can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/newfreedom/