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Amazon.com Web Accessibility Agreement

From: Cynthia Waddell <cynthia.waddell@icdri.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 12:03:26 -0700
To: "'wai-ig list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004401c772fe$24c74fd0$0701000a@CWD>

Everyone-
Partly in response to the NFB v. Target lawsuit advocacy, the announcement
below has been made regarding the Amazon.com website.  The International
Center for Disability Resources on the Internet is posting both the
agreement and the press release at our website at www.icdri.org.

The NFB and Amazon Agreement in particular states in part:
PART 3 - ACCESSIBILITY TIME TABLE 

A.       Amazon commits to work to provide Full and Equal Access on
Amazon.com and Syndicated Store Web Sites, to the extent such access is not
already available, by no later than December 31,2007 and continuing
thereafter. 

B.       Amazon commits to work to implement technical measures, to the
extent any are necessary, no later than June 30, 2008 and continuing
thereafter, so as to ensure that third parties to whom Amazon delivers
e-commerce services are not prevented by Amazon-supplied technology from
providing Full and Equal Access on their Merchant.com Web Sites. 

C.       Given the complexity and scope of the Subject Web Sites, the
Parties recognize that the changes required to meet this timetable may
encounter unforeseen complications and entail solutions not yet developed.
Should such complications occur, NFB shall not unreasonably refuse to
consent to any request by Amazon for an extension of the time table set
forth above up to an additional six months. Amazon will inform NFB as soon
as practicable if circumstances arise requiring it to request any further
extensions. 

Best regards,
Cynthia Waddell
Executive Director

-----Original Message-----
From: Region V ADA Information [mailto:GREATLAKES@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU]On
Behalf Of Robin Jones
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:52 PM
To: GREATLAKES@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU
Subject: Press Release: Amazon.com and National Federation of the Blind
Join Forces to Develop and Promote Web Accessibility


The following information is forwarded to you by the DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA
Center (www.adagreatlakes.org) for your information:

Press Release:  National Federation of the Blind
March 28, 2007

Amazon.com and National Federation of the Blind Join Forces to Develop and
Promote Web Accessibility
 	
BALTIMORE, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind
(NFB) and Amazon.com announced today that they have agreed to work together
to promote and improve technology that enables blind people to access and
use the World Wide Web. In a cooperation agreement, Amazon.com pledged its
commitment to continue improving the accessibility of its Web site platform,
while the NFB committed to contribute its expertise in Web accessibility
technologies to help further Amazon.com's efforts.

"Amazon has always looked for ways to provide the most convenient and
easy-to-use shopping experience for all our customers, including those who
use screen access software," said Patty Smith, director of corporate
communications for Amazon.com. "By working directly with the NFB, which has
a wealth of accessible technology experience, we'll be able to make more
improvements for both our sighted customers and those customers who use
screen access software to browse and shop the Internet."

Blind persons access Web sites by using keyboards in conjunction with screen
access software, which vocalizes or translates into Braille the visual
information displayed on a computer screen by Web browsers and other
computer applications. If not designed properly, however, Web sites can
present barriers that do not allow the information contained on them to be
translated properly for blind users, and emerging Internet technologies are
presenting new accessibility challenges.

"The National Federation of the Blind has long been a center of expertise in
both developing and implementing access technology to provide the blind with
the information and tools we need to integrate successfully into society,"
said Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

"We have developed technologies like the Kurzweil-National Federation of the
Blind Reader and NFB-NEWSLINE(R) that provide the blind with unparalleled
access to information, and the staff of our International Braille and
Technology Center for the Blind has experience in making Web sites and other
technologies more accessible to blind computer users. We look forward to
working with the developers at Amazon.com, the leader in innovation in
online retail, to perfect techniques and technologies that will make the
Internet more accessible for users of assistive technology. We are pleased
that an industry leader like Amazon.com is committed to full and equal
access for the blind on its Web sites and throughout the e-commerce
industry. This cooperation agreement demonstrates to the world that the
blind are eager to work with leading Internet companies to improve the
online experience for everyone, and also that access for the blind goes hand
in hand with continued innovation in Internet technology."

About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the
largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the
United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy,
education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and
self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and
the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National
Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training
center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

Source:
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,81373.shtml

--------------------------------------------------
Cynthia D. Waddell, JD
Executive Director and
Law, Policy and Technology Consultant
International Center for Disability Resources
   on the Internet (ICDRI)
Phone:  (408) 691-6921
 
ICDRI is based in
Raleigh, North Carolina USA
www.icdri.org/CynthiaW/cynthia_waddell.htm
 
See My New Book!
Web Accessibility:  Web Standards and
Regulatory Compliance by Apress
at www.icdri.org/WSR_Book.htm
See also Constructing Accessible Web Sites
www.icdri.org/constructing_accessible_web_site.htm
 
Is your Web Site Accessible?
Find out now with Cynthia Says! www.cynthiasays.com
Endorsed by the American Council of the Blind,
the CynthiaSaysTM portal is a joint Education
and Outreach project of ICDRI, The Internet
Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter, 
and HiSoftware.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of David Poehlman
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 11:51 AM
To: wai-ig list
Subject: Fwd: DAISY Consortium adopts accessible math specification



from the web page:
http://www.dessci.com/en/company/press/releases/070321.htm

For Immediate Release

DAISY Consortium Adopts Modular Math Extension

New MathML-based extension will make math accessible to students with
disabilities

LONG BEACH, Calif. - March 21, 2007 - The DAISY Consortium, an
international industry standards organization, announced today that it
has formally adopted the Specification for a Digital Talking Book
Modular Extension for Mathematics. This development is a critical
element for integrating accessible mathematics into DAISY and
NIMAS-compliant digital content. Now that this specification has been
published, it is important for the education and accessibility
communities to begin incorporating it into textbook accessibility
requirements.

As an active member of the DAISY Consortium, Design Science, Inc. has
been instrumental in this development. "We're really pleased to be
leading the effort to make math accessible to everyone," said Neil
Soiffer, Chair of the DAISY MathML Modular Extension Working Group and a
Senior Scientist at Design Science. "Design Science is the leading
vendor for math authoring tools. Many of these can be used to create
DAISY content and we have developed new tools to assist in the process
of creating DAISY books."

"This is fantastic news for students and professionals with
disabilities," said Steve Noble, Director of Accessibility Policy for
Design Science. "Now that accessible math is part of the DAISY Standard,
the future is really bright for students who have been yearning to study
math and science subjects-and even make a career out of it-but have
always been hit hard by the absence of accessible materials. Now those
days are over."

Vendors are moving swiftly to support the new specification in DAISY
applications. The specification also provides for backward
compatibility, so older DAISY players will be able to use newer content,
albeit without being able to take advantage of all the new capabilities
of math materials written to the new standard.

Although the current DAISY/NISO Z39.86-2005 Digital Talking Book
Standard has been widely adopted by the accessibility community, the
only available method of integrating math content relied on using images
with alt text tags. Alt text tags for math equations provide only the
most limited level of accessibility and are very difficult to author in
a consistent manner. Using MathML allows all of the valuable features of
a digital talking book to work for math just as it does for literary
text, like support for large print, customizable speech, Braille,
navigation, and synchronized highlighting.

The Specification for a Digital Talking Book Modular Extension for
Mathematics is available on the DAISY website at
http://www.daisy.org/projects/mathml/mathml-in-daisy-spec.html

For further information, see also the DAISY Consortium Press Release at
http://www.daisy.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsId=296

About MathML
MathML is an XML-based language for representing mathematics that was
published as a Recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in
1998. Since MathML captures the meaning and structure of mathematics, it
enables a wide range of applications. In addition to making it possible
to have math spoken to print disabled readers, it also enables searching
for mathematical expressions within content and interoperability with
the growing number of computational applications that understand MathML.
For more information about MathML see http://www.w3.org/Math/

About the DAISY Consortium
The DAISY Consortium was founded in 1996 and consists of a growing
membership of organizations around the world committed to developing
equitable access to information for people who have a print disability.
DAISY's vision is that all published information, at time of release to
the general population, be available in an accessible, highly
functional, feature rich format and at no greater cost, to persons with
print disabilities. For more information about the DAISY Consortium see
http://www.daisy.org/

About Design Science, Inc.
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, California, Design
Science develops software used by educators, scientists and publishing
professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office,
WebEQ, MathFlow, MathPlayer and TeXaide, to communicate on the web and
in print.

###

Design Science staff available for interviews:
Steve Noble, Director of Accessibility Policy, steven@dessci.com
Neil Soiffer, Senior Scientist, neils@dessci.com

Press Contact:
Bruce Virga
Vice President, Sales
+1(800)827-0685
+1(562)432-2920
Design Science, Inc.
140 Pine Avenue, 4th Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802
USA
Received on Friday, 30 March 2007 19:04:09 GMT

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