[Accessibleweb] Web sites agree to be accessible to blind

David Anderson andersdl at buffalo.edu
Fri Aug 20 12:36:51 PDT 2004


How deliciously ironic. NYS has had accessibility requirements for its own
websites that state agencies (and universities) can't be bothered to
follow. The policies were even recently updated and are available here:
<http://www.oft.state.ny.us/policy/p04-002/index.htm>

David Anderson
User Services
ASCIT
University at Buffalo

--On Friday, August 20, 2004 12:23 PM -0700 Rick Ells
<rells at u.washington.edu> wrote:


>

> Interesting article in the PI

>

> http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/aptech_story.asp?category=1700&slu

> g=Blind%20Web%20Sites

>

> In case you can't get the URL to work, here is the text:

>

> ----------------------

>

> Thursday, August 19, 2004 Last updated 4:53 p.m. PT

>

> Web sites agree to be accessible to blind

>

> By MICHAEL GORMLEY

> ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

>

> ALBANY, N.Y. -- In one of the first enforcement actions of the Americans

> with Disabilities Act on the Internet, two major travel services have

> agreed to make sites more accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

>

> Priceline.com and Ramada.com have agreed to changes that will allow users

> with "screen reader software" and other technology to navigate and listen

> to the text throughout their Web sites, according to New York Attorney

> General Eliot Spitzer.

>

> Although the software and other devices, including a vibrating mouse that

> lets the blind "feel" boxes and images on the computer screen, have been

> available for years, Web sites must have specific coding that allows the

> equipment to operate, Spitzer said.

>

> "This is a precedent-setting decision," said Carl Augusto, president and

> CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. "We hope it's going to be

> influencing other companies throughout the United States so that the 10

> million blind and visually impaired people can fully participate in our

> society at all levels."

>

> "It's the right thing to do, and it's good business," said Augusto, who is

> visually impaired.

>

> Spitzer's settlement follows investigations over the last two years to

> determine if Web sites conform to the federal act and state law that

> require all "places of public accommodation" and all "goods, services,

> facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" be accessible to

> the disabled.

>

> Priceline.com has already made the Web site accessible for the visually

> disabled to get airline tickets, said the firm's spokesman, Brian Ek. By

> the end of the year, the entire travel site will be accessible, he said.

>

> Ek said the firm encourages other firms to do the same. He said the firm

> isn't releasing the cost of making the entire site accessible for the

> visually disabled, but said it won't be enough to reduce earnings.

>

> A spokesman for Ramada.com didn't immediately respond to a request for

> comment.

>

> "Accessible Web sites are the wave of the future and the right thing to

> do." Spitzer said. "We applaud these companies for taking responsible and

> proper steps to make their Web sites accessible to the blind and visually

> impaired. We urge all companies who have not done so to follow their

> lead."

>

> Ramada.com and Priceline.com, which face no charges and make no admissions

> of guilt, will pay the state $40,000 and $37,500 to cover the

> investigation's cost. Spitzer said both firms were cooperative.

>

> ---

>

> On the Net:

>

> http://www.oag.state.ny.us

>

> http://www.priceline.com

>

> http://www.ramada.com

>

>

>

>

>

> |- Rick Ells - 543-2875 - rells at cac.washington.edu - Rm 011S MGH Bldg -|

> |- http://staff.washington.edu/rells/ -|

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>

>




David Anderson
User Services
ASCIT


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