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Travis County Launches Enhanced Web Site With Greater Accessibility for Citizens With Blindness or Vision Impairments

AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 08/02/2006 -- Travis County has selected Hamer Enterprises and IBM's (NYSE: IBM) Austin-based Human Ability and Accessibility Center to develop and deploy an enhanced county tax office Web site providing greater accessibility to on-line county services for more citizens, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

The Web site (www.traviscountytax.org), which goes live on August 14, enables users who are blind or visually impaired to gain access to more information on the Web, including on-line forms. Citizens with vision impairments, including the growing maturing population, can easily personalize their Web experience to meet their vision needs. With the enhanced site, citizens can more easily register to vote, track taxes, gather information and interact on their own behalf wherever and whenever they access the Internet.

The Travis County Tax Office Web site provides greater flexibility to enable citizens to personalize the presentation of their information, including the ability to change font sizes and eliminate graphics. New features will ensure that more citizens have access to information easier and faster than ever before.

"Every individual in this county is important," said Nelda Wells Spears, tax assessor/collector for Travis County. "Allowing all our citizens to interact with government with ease and speed on their own behalf is a goal attained."

"The 'digital divide' applies to more than minorities and lower income groups -- it also affects those with disabilities," said Frances West, director, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center. "We need more efforts like this so that the 750 million to 1 billion people with disabilities around the globe can fully participate in business and society. This is innovation that matters for the world."

People with disabilities comprise about 13% of the Travis County population, according to the US Census Bureau.

Accessibility is also important to the maturing population that acquires disabilities later in life. In the next 25 years, the population of Travis County citizens over 65 is expected to triple to an estimated 20% of the total population, according to the Texas State Data Center.

"At Hamer Enterprises we believe in being proactive. By utilizing IBM tools we have created a solution that embraces preferences. This Web site is not only a pilot for accessibility but an open door to the future where all users can have preferences in how they interact with the Internet," said William Hamer, CEO Hamer Enterprises, "Imagine, every individual or business being able to choose their own experience; that is the 'Beyond Compliance' vision."

For more information about the Travis County Web site, please visit www.traviscountytax.org.

More information about the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center and Hamer Enterprises can be found at http://www-03.ibm.com/able/.

Contacts:
Tina Morton
Travis County
(512) 854-9706
tina.morton@co.travis.tx.us

Lon Levitan
IBM(512) 823-0404
llevitan@us.ibm.com

Jodi Hamer
Hamer Enterprises
(956) 682-3466
msjodi@hecorp.com

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