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Re: AOL drops e-mail address for accessibility

From: Kelly Pierce <kpierce2000@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 22:59:51 -0600
Message-ID: <034201c413b8$56a9df20$0b0110ac@y7o1m8>
To: "Andrew Kirkpatrick" <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

From: "Andrew Kirkpatrick" <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 11:43 AM

I know from my contact at AOL that
> they are aware of the issue that you raise and I'm cc'ing them on this
> message so they can contact you directly.


> Keyboard and screen reader control of embedded media players is uniformly
> poor, and this version of the aol media player is no exception.

**My observation is that Access to imbedded anything, whether it is media
players, e-mail or instant messaging clients, or anti-virus software, is
poor.  Separate, stand alone applications are nearly always preferable.

but no embedded player gives
> the same level of control as the standalone version of the same player.


> I know AOL will be interested in hearing your observations and wishes, but
> you might also want to raise the issue with the radio station that is
> the player and ask that they provide a link to open the stream in a
> standalone player.

**I have not heard from AOL if WXRT radio can be listened to using its stand
alone player so I don't know if this is an actual possibility.  I could
indeed write to the radio station but where would they turn to for support?
Their partner AOL?  It seems that AOL provided no suggestion or information
about accessibility to its AOL radio partners.  Further, AOL provides no
information in its help file about accessibility whatsoever.

By contrast, the BBC radio player offers a link for those having trouble
listening to the broadcast.  When this link is selected, Real Player is
launched as a separate application and the audio stream is now controlled
from the stand alone Real Player rather than the imbedded BBC media player.
Obviously,controls are accessible from the stand alone Real Player.

> I agree that this is an issue that should be addressed, and the fact that
> other embedded players doesn't provide justification for the
> of the media player, but I don't think that a blanket dismissal of AOL's
> accessibility efforts is appropriate.

**let's see what some of the problems have been in the last few days:

*e-mail bounces from highly publicized address specifically established for

*No telephone contact on access issues if e-mail is inoperative

*Highly publicized AOL accessibility website that speaks mostly about the
AOL online service and not other products such as AIM or the AOL Radio
product or AOL media player.

*AOL Media Player help file that says nothing about accessibility.

Taken together, these items represent something more than an isolated and
specific issue.  considering the enormous resources of Time Warner, the
world's largest media and entertainment company of which AOL is a part, we
should have a more coordinated and comprehensive response to accessibility.

Received on Saturday, 27 March 2004 00:00:16 UTC

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