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Macromedia & UsableNet Extension Checks Site for Federal Accessibility Compliance

Press release from the issuing company

San Francisco, California -May 14, 2001-Macromedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: MACR) and UsableNet, Inc. today announced the availability of an extension for Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 and Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 that checks Web content for compliance with federal accessibility guidelines. The extension is also available as part of the new "Macromedia Accessibility Starter Kit" that helps developers ensure that their existing and future Web content is both usable and accessible to people with disabilities. The kit is part of Macromedia's ongoing commitment to enable all users to access Web content and specifically addresses the issues raised by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (http://www.section508.gov/). Under this section, federal Web sites are required by law to make all content and programs offered on their Internet and intranet sites accessible by June 21, 2001. The free kit is available on the new Macromedia Government Resource Center (http://www.macromedia.com/resources/government/). "With looming federal deadlines to make government Web sites accessible, Macromedia created the resource center to address the issues of developers working toward compliance," said Pat Brogan, vice president of education and learning, Macromedia. "The accessibility kit contains the federal Section 508 guidelines, tutorials, trial software, design guidelines, and product extensions to assist developers in designing, diagnosing and retrofitting content." The Section 508 Accessibility Suite for Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 and Dreamweaver UltraDev 4, created by UsableNet, allows Web sites to be checked for accessibility in the same way a document is spell-checked. The extension, available for free on the Macromedia Exchange (http://www.macromedia.com/exchange/), helps ensure Web content meets Section 508 and Level 1 W3C/WAI guidelines and reports can be run on one page, a complete site, selected sections, or any folder. The extension can also connect users to an additional online service from UsableNet that allows tests to be automatically scheduled on live Web sites. QSS Group, Inc. a leading engineering and IT services firm in Maryland, provides support to multiple government agencies such as DOT, DOC, NASA, Census Bureau, FDIC, HUD, DoE and others. Their Webmasters have responsibility for hundreds of Government Web sites. By using the Dreamweaver extension, QSS can use more junior developers to post Web content, while ensuring their content is Section 508 compliant. "Macromedia Dreamweaver is used by a majority of the Webmasters in our organization, and this extension will remove the arduous task of manually reviewing Web sites for compliance -- page by page, image by image," said Vanessa Howle, Section 508 Information Officer for one of QSS' largest programs. "Early feedback from our team using the beta indicates that they were very pleased with the results. If all of our staff responsible for government Web site content use this tool to check their application of Section 508 rules, it will significantly reduce the burden on our Web teams." "Everyone and anyone doing business with or for the federal government is heavily involved in achieving Web accessibility compliance. In the last 60 days, we have been approached by more than 50 new clients including Fortune 500 companies, organizations, and government agencies," said Mike Paciello, founder and CTO, WebABLE, Inc., and author of 'Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities.' "The combination of the market presence of Macromedia Dreamweaver and the new UsableNet accessibility extension will build international awareness across the Web IT community, giving every Web designer a simple tool to integrate Web accessibility into their sites." For more information on usability, accessibility, and the federal Section 508 guidelines, visit the Macromedia Government Resource Center at http://www.macromedia.com/resources/government/.