Monday, July 07, 2008

NFB and on Accessibility

Last year, the National Federation of the Blind took on about the accessibility of their website, which NFB felt at one time had been quite accessible, but which had declined in accessibility. My impression was that this advocacy was linked to the Target department store lawsuit, because Amazon does the technical work behind the Target website, which has been inaccessible.

NFB got them to commit to work on accessibility. So, someone came from to speak about this at this years' NFB Convention in Dallas.
Craig Woods of at a podium that says NFB
Craig Woods started by telling the big rocks, gravel, sand, water story, the one where after filling the jar with rocks, there's still room to add gravel, and then sand and finally water. The moral of the story is that if you want to work on your big priorities, you have to get them in your jar first, because otherwise the small stuff will keep you from getting to them.

The speech itself was pretty basic: Amazon cares about its customers above all else, and so accessibility is important. Dr. Mauer, president of the NFB, challenged Craig at the end to confirm that accessibility was a "big rock" for a major priority. And, he did!
Man reading a Kindle ebook reader, holding it close to his eyes.
That's good, because has to work not only on website accessibility, but also on access to digital books. The Kindle is very exciting: I own one and like it a lot. I saw a man with low vision using a Kindle at NFB. But, the majority of the blind cannot use it at all. And, Amazon hasn't made any indication I'm aware of to address this problem. So, I'm sure NFB will keep pushing: that's an essential role of strong advocates!

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