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RNIB press release

From: Julie Howell <JHOWELL@rnib.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 16:21:52 +0000
Message-Id: <s9411a1b.001@rnib.org.uk>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
This news from RNIB may be of interest to people on the WAI
EOWG list as it regards accessible Web design and refers to
WAI.

9 June, 2000

RNIB CONGRATULATES DOT COM HEROES

Julie Howell, the Royal National Institute for the Blind's (RNIB)
Access to Digital Information Campaigns Officer is a finalist for a
prestigious Yell Award.

The UK Yell Web Awards 2000, organised annually by Yellow
Pages, have selected two Websites designed by disabled
people as finalists in the "Best Personal Website" category.

Julie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) nine years
ago.  "When I was diagnosed, I didn't know anything about MS
or anyone else who had it. It was a scary and lonely time", Julie
explains. "I created Jooly's Joint, an on-line community of
people with MS, so people living with the disease can get to
know other 'Msers' around the world, to share experiences and
give each other support."

The Yell Awards have also recognised a person with a dual
sensory impairment. James Gallagher's Website "A to Z of
Deafblindness" is a comprehensive guide to the condition,
aimed at deafblind people as well as anyone interested in
learning more about Deafblindness.  James, who lives in
Glasgow, hopes to make visitors to his site more aware of the
issues faced by people living without sight or hearing.

"I think this is a great opportunity to make Web designers aware
of RNIB's campaign for accessible Web design", says James. 
"I am deafblind, but this doesn't prevent me from using the
computers and the Internet or from designing my own Website.  I
find it very frustrating when I try to use a Website that has not
followed the simple guidelines for "design for all" as set out by
The "Web Accessibility Initiative" (WAI) .  I hope designers will
begin to realise the power of the Internet for people who cannot
read the screen in the conventional way, and start creating sites
that we can all use."

Julie Howell has also had her outstanding campaigning work on
behalf of the RNIB recognised in a new book. "Heroes.com: the
names and faces behind the dot com era", sold in aid of The
ITV Year of Promise,  is a collection of interviews with pioneers
of the Internet age.

Phil Jenkins, RNIB Communication Officer, and a blind web
user, says, "All too often when surfing the web using my talking
computer I am met with silence because a site is badly
designed.  I often want to buy something on-line, such as music,
or do my supermarket shopping from the comfort of my home. 
But too many sites will not work easily or at all with speech or
braille output.  RNIB would like to congratulate both James and
Julie for their work which shows just how much the web can
benefit everyone!"

For further information please contact Phil Jenkins or Becca
Bryant in the RNIB Press Office on 0207 391 2223 (out of hours
mobile 07968 482812) ref 061 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1	The UK Yell Web Awards 2000 are the "people's choice"
of the best of the Net.  Now in its fifth year, the Yell Awards
continues to recognise and promote the wealth of creativity and
originality within the UK Web industry. 
http://www.yell.co.uk/awards 

2 	"Heroes.com: the names and faces behind the dot com
era" by Louise Proddow of Sun Microsystems is published by
Hodder and Stoughton (http://www.dotcomheroes.com). The
book is to be sold in aid of the charity 'ITV Year of Promise'
(http://www.itv.yearofpromise.co.uk/)

3	Jooly's Joint: people with MS supporting each other
(http://www.mswebpals.org)

4 	A-Z of Deafblindness (http://www.deafblind.com/)

5 	The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Web Content
Authoring Guidelines are available online at
http://www.w3.org/WAI

6 Further information about RNIB's Campaign for Better Web
design is available online at http://www.rnib.org.uk/digital

7	RNIB's Technology Service provides a wide range of
information on the use of technology by blind and partially
sighted people. The service helps sighted and visually
impaired people such as employers, those in work or seeking
work, students, teachers, parents, and educational and
employment professionals.  RNIB Technology Information
Service can be contacted at: www.rnib.org.uk/technology or
telephone 024 7636 9555 or email technology@rnib.org.uk

8		RNIB is the leading charity working on behalf of the
1.7 million people with a serious sight problem in the UK,
providing over 60 services including benefits advice, education,
leisure, health and employment. For further details ring the RNIB
Helpline on 0845 766 9999.		
Received on Friday, 9 June 2000 11:24:11 GMT

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