An overview of Nebraska's popular equipment reutilization platform from Program Coordinator Barbara Schultz
Our Web site address evokes our mission statement--assistive technology 4 all ages, disabilities, and locations in Nebraska--but our impact has gone beyond state lines. AT4ALL.com was developed in 2005 to help Nebraska achieve its statewide mission by providing an easy online tool for individuals with disabilities and others to learn about and locate assistive technology. Today 12 additional states have adopted the platform, customized for their own use.
AT4ALL's structure is popular because its database is integrated. The site allows users to search for equipment available for demonstration, short-term loan, or reuse (sale or donation) in just one step, utilizing one search box. Users may also list equipment to sell or give away, or they may post "want ads" for items they cannot find. Visitors exploring the site to learn about AT by category are also directed to find what is available to try from those pages. In short, the site quickly takes visitors from learning and exploration to the opportunity "try before they buy."
Benefits for consumers and professionals
- Visitors to the site can browse recent listings and search for equipment by name, category, zip code, price or whether an item is free, for sale, loan or demonstration. Photos and links to the manufacturers are included and items can be bookmarked for future reference.
- Persons who do not have access to the internet can call for assistance to access the equipment available on the website.
- In Nebraska, in-state partners utilize the site to share their equipment, including the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Centers for Independent Living, schools, and non-profit organizations.
Benefits for administrators
- Streamlines federal reporting. The site tracks inventory and activity (equipment loaned, reused, exchanged, as well as demonstrations), generates a variety of reports, and uses a federal auditing tool developed by Nebraska (to flag issues that need addressing).
- Provides tools for managing site activity. This includes automatic email reminders/overdue equipment notices and a Loan Agreement Form. The form printed for transactions includes the device's Web site ID number, its value, and the borrower's information. Terms, a liability statement, and the user's signature are also included, along with the required federal satisfaction survey.
- Includes a Quick Start Guide for users and a resource manual for managers.
✓The database template is adaptable and expandable as states' needs change or federal reporting requirements shift.
✓ Expanded usage across states assures usability with emerging technologies and 508 compliance.
For the states in this consortium, the relationship is "win-win." Each state program shares in the cost of hosting the Web site and votes on annual upgrades. Three additional states are considering the database to manage their program in 2012.
Interested? For more information contact me:
(402) 471-1301 firstname.lastname@example.org