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Photo: Frances Smith

Frances Smith

United States Forest Service (USFS) | KS

Frances Smith is a Visual Information Specialist (VIS) for the United States Forest Service (FS) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She has been in the graphic design arena for over 20 years where she first started working for government at Kansas Rehabilitation Services. In 2001, she was introduced to Section 508, one of the first individuals to be certified in Section 508 requirements from the University of Boston, and instrumental in the creation of the Web Accessibility Subcommittee for the State of Kansas which was tasked to create, implement, and train state government agency employees on Section 508 law and the steps necessary to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Since then, Frances has gained a Masters in Education which has increased her effectiveness in teaching topics related to Section 508 including various How-To sessions. Her experience with virtual learning showed her where accessibility standards were lacking thus shifting her focus from web to electronic media accessibility which has become one of her passions. Her passionate attitude and philosophy on everyone having access comes through in her various documents and training curriculum she has created around Section 508 compliance. She believes in doing it right the first time and not just doing the bare minimum to meet the standards. There are other electronic document parameters to consideration, which are not covered by the standards, that she includes especially when training.

She is currently the Point of Contact (POC) for her region on Section 508 electronic media accessibility, and continues to develop materials and provide training on request. She is a member of the USDA Section 508 Taskforce specializing in accessible electronic media. She is the creator and moderator for the VIS Community of Practice group where Forest Service staff can ask questions and get instructions on how to make their documents accessible. She still lives in Kansas with her veteran husband and her children, Samson and Sadie – two AKC registered Siberian Huskies. Weather permitting, she loves to garden, and enjoys making it homemade from cooking to crafts.

Frances's Contributions

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