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FYI - Newsbytes

From: <Lovey@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 17:26:17 EST
Message-ID: <31e8de6a.36fab809@aol.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Group Pushes Improved Web Access for Disabled                 
                         (Newsbytes; 03/25/99)                         

 TRENTON, NEW JERSEY, 1999 MAR 25 (Newsbytes) -- By Laura Randall, Newsbytes. 
Web sites should make themselves accessible to visually impaired people
before 
anti-discrimination challenges arise in conjunction with the Americans with 
Disabilities Act, warns a group that promotes access for people with 
disabilities.

  Trenton, N.J.-based Disabilities Information Resources (DINF) has stepped
up 
its campaign to encourage Web sites to use software designed to translate 
written content and graphics into speech for people who are blind or have 
dyslexia or other vision problems.

  "We like to think this is not intentional discrimination, but it would make 
more sense to address this before any problems arise," DINF spokesman Phil
Hall 
told Newsbytes.

  Web sites still appear to be cautious when it comes to implementing the 
accessibility tools that are available.

  "It s on our radar screen. It seems like something we would ethically
want to 
do," Jeff  Thomas, director of marketing at iSyndicate, a San Francisco-based 
content syndication service provider, told Newsbytes. "The short-term
answer is 
we aren t doing anything now. The long-term answer is it s definitely
something 
we d want to consider."

  The software is designed specifically to interact with the information on
the 
Web pages and translate the information into speech. The user may navigate 
through the structure of a document based on its contents, paragraphs and 
sentences, rather than having to deal with scrolling and interpreting a 
structured screen display.

  More information on accessibility can be found on http://www.prodworks.com, 
http://www.ibm.com and http://www.lynx.browser.org.

  The cost of pwWebSpeak Plus, a Web browser that translates content into 
speech, is $150.

  Other sites offering information on improving Web accessibility to the 
disabled are: the W3C HTML Validation Service at http://validator.w3.org, the 
Bobby accessibility rating tool at http://www.cast.org/bobby , and the W3C
Web 
Authoring Guidelines for Accessibility at http:/www.w3.org/TR-WD-WA1-PAGEAUTH.

  Reported by Newsbytes News Network, http://www.newsbytes.com
Received on Thursday, 25 March 1999 17:39:25 GMT

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