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GSA INTRODUCES NEW ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION DIRECTORY

 GSA INTRODUCES NEW ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION DIRECTORY
 WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Administrator Richard G.


Austin of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today unveiled an innovative, touchscreen electronic building directory designed to help visitors easily find their way around GSA's headquarters.
 This state-of-the-art, computerized directory is believed to be the first of its kind in a federal office building. It serves the general public, Austin said, but the directory has special features -- it speaks, for example -- that make it readily accessible and helpful to people with disabilities.
 Austin said the directory's development highlights GSA's ongoing initiatives to eliminate access barriers to federal facilities by people with disabilities.
 The touchscreen talking computer is housed in a kiosk in the main lobby where anyone entering GSA's central office building -- including those with vision, hearing, reading or mobility limitations -- can use it to find the right person, office or meeting room. The locations of offices, meeting rooms and facilities on any floor of the building can be graphically displayed at a touch of the screen and may be accompanied by computer-spoken directions.
 The directory can be configured to accommodate multilingual needs and has speech synthesis capabilities -- machine-spoken output of information shown on the screen. Magnified screen displays accommodate visually impaired individuals who are unable to use currently available information touchscreens. The computer display has been installed at a height that accommodates wheelchair users.
 The directory was developed by the Graphic Design branch at GSA's Atlanta regional office working with the GSA Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation.
 A prototype directory was tested at the Atlanta office. Richard Kimberling, branch chief, says there is virtually no limit to the information that can be included in the kiosk system.
 The directory of locations and phone numbers can be updated easily, Kimberling said, and added that the system can be customized to any agency site. The system also supports rapid updating of text maps and screen graphics which can be accomplished by floppy disk, direct connect, modem or in-house network.
 Development of the touchscreen directory with enhancements to serve persons with disabilities has attracted interest of the Smithsonian Institution, Architect of the Capitol, Georgia Tech Olympic '96 planners and Disney World, Kimberling said.
 Other agencies can procure a touchscreen directory system through GSA's Atlanta Graphics Design Branch.
 -0- 10/30/92
 /CONTACT: U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Media Relations, 202-501-1231/ CO: U.S. General Services Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: CPR SU:


TW -- DC008 -- 7095 10/30/92 12:09 EST
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Date:Oct 30, 1992
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