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Team honored for disabled access technology

Vanderheiden observes kiosk in use

Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Gregg C. Vanderheiden (standing) watches Neal Ewers demonstrate a flexible computer interface designed to make job searching easier for people with disabilities. (large image)

The National Partnership for Reinventing Government recently presented the coveted Hammer Award to a team led by the Department of Education, which included three people from UW-Madison's Trace Research and Development Center -- Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Gregg C. Vanderheiden, the center's director, and staff members Neal Ewers and Mark Novak.

Following closely on President Clinton's commitment to make the federal government "a model user of assistive technology," the award recognizes the team's effort to produce comprehensive requirements for accessible software design.

Vice President Al Gore introduced the Hammer Award in 1993 to recognize teams of federal employees, state and local employees, and citizens, who are making government work better and cost less. Created as a direct response to the $400 hammers uncovered in government budgets by federal auditors, the Hammer Award consists of a $6 carpenters hammer, a ribbon and a note from the vice president, all in an aluminum frame. Team members were presented individual Hammer Awards at a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Education's Assistive Technology Team established the requirements for accessibility software design to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities to individuals with disabilities. The guidelines are also used widely by federal agencies.