Friday, October 17, 2014

Upcoming Event - Storytelling Plain and Simple - Thursday, October 30

Posted: October 17, 2014 by FCN Leadership Team

Think you can't be a creative government writer? Think again. Writing is challenging, whether it is for a 140-character Twitter message, a 400-word blog or a 500-page report. You want to catch a reader and keep their attention. We are saturated with communications from every direction. Don’t let your message get lost in the headlines. Find out how to make sure your words can help your readers understand what you mean and do what you need them to do.

A no cost training event hosted by the Federal Communicators Network.

What: Storytelling Plain and Simple
When: 1pm-4:30pm on Thursday, October 30, 2014

Where: the Department of Defense Mark Center in Alexandria, easily accessible from Pentagon Metro via the 7M shuttle bus

Register today!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thanks for joining us at Accessibility for Government Communicators event

Posted By: Britt Ehrhardt, Federal Communicators Network Co-Chair

Exciting to see the huge turnout at the Federal Communicators Network event earlier this week. More than 630 people joined us for Accessibility for Gov Communicators: Tactics and Techniques You Can Use Today to Keep Your Projects on the Right Side of Section 508 Rules. This was our first event in collaboration with the U.S. Access Board and the Federal CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice. And to my knowledge, it was FCN's most widely attended event EVER. What a win for everyone involved!

If you were online with us--thanks for joining, and thanks for all of your great questions. If you missed out, you can catch up by watching the archived webinar. The event description and materials are available here.

The amazing Bernetta Reese from FirstNet, the First Responder Network Authority, kicked things off with some key lessons from her experience as a 508 Coordinator at USDA and now with FirstNet, starting up a new agency.

Matt Harmon of DHS HQ described where communications projects often encounter 508 issues, with this helpful slide, and also discussed DHS's extraordinary Trusted Tester program, a model for in-depth training of web authors and communicators on Section 508 best practices.

Slide reads, Images: Provide a meaningful text equivalent for every image (alt text); descriptions that explain what the image is conveying or adding to the page content (not just describing what is seen on the image).  Multimedia Presentations: Audio only: provide transcript Video only: provide a synchronized text description of the action taking place in the video, including any text that appears Audio + Video: both synchronized captioning and audio description of action required  Color: Color should not be the only way that information is conveyed; contrast between foreground and background is sufficient  Data Tables: Define a table’s row and column headers.  Use tables only for data and not for layout  Text-only equivalents: Do not create text-only pages as an alternative to non-compliant pages.  Make your pages compliant from the start.

Dick Stapleton gave a great overview of how HHS is achieving compliance on 2 million webpages.

And, Don Barrett wrapped things up by discussing the Accessible Documents community of practice that he helps to lead, along with many useful resources. Others shared great resources too.

Moderator Tim Creagan of the U.S. Access Board did an excellent job managing the session and sifting through the many, many questions submitted by attendees. Great job, and thanks, Tim! Along with HHS's Debby Kaplan and myself, Tim co-organized the session and greatly contributed to its success.

And our live sign language interpreters, including the amazing Rachel Kuch, were also critical to the success of the event.

So communicators, be sure you know who your 508 coordinator is, and loop that person in early on your communications projects.