In September 1997, leaders from Maine State government, business, education, and the non-profit community gathered for the conference, Maximizing Economic Potential. They set out to explore how Maine can develop the information technologies the state needs to be globally competitive. Sponsored by the Maine CITE Coordinating Center and the Maine Department of Education, the conference looked at how government and education can lead the way in ensuring that information technologies accommodate differing needs and provide access for everyone.
The following Guiding Principles are a result of that conference:
- All citizens have a right to access Maine's information resources. To achieve and maintain independence in a changing world, every citizen needs information that is usable, understandable, and affordable.
- Maine State government's facilities, technologies, and services that are sources of information must be designed to provide universal access. By incorporating universal design, information systems can accommodate the many different individuals see, hear, talk, move, and think.
- Universal design of Maine's information resources has the potential to benefits all citizens.
- An information system that is accessible to everyone is essential for Maine to be globally competitive. Universal access gives all citizens the opportunity to participate in the economy.
- Universal access is essential for Maine to reach its goals of higher academic achievement, as established in Maine's Learning Results, for all K-12 students and for higher graduation rates for secondary and post-secondary students.
- To be fully accessible to everyone, Maine's information systems must be planned, designed and implemented with the active participation of people with disabilities and other individuals with special needs.
- Awareness and understanding of universal design and universal access should be integral to all aspects of Maine's community life.
- Maine's State government should be a national model and leader in providing universal access.
- Universal access to information resources requires a coordinated, cooperative effort by Maine State government, education, business, and communities, crossing all organizational boundaries. Achieving universal access will be an evolutionary process, requiring compromise and choices.
- Universal access must be a value in all of Maine's information-related activities and policies. Maine should reward innovation in universal design and universal access.