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Re: Amazon.com Web Accessibility Agreement

From: Bruce Lawson <bruce@brucelawson.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 20:00:55 +0100
To: "Horacio Soares" <horacio.soares@gmail.com>,cynthia.waddell@icdri.org
Cc: "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1HXioh-0005jO-0y@aji.w3.org>

>But I have question: wy this exclusive focus on the visual deficiency?
>What about the others? And the usability and Web Standards problem?#

Indeed. I had much the same questions when I 
posted on the web standards project web site this 

It would be a terrrble shame, and a hugely 
squandered opportunity, if Amazon merely kludged 
their existing code so that it worked passably 
well in Jaws, and forgot about every other disability or valid code.

Anyone know anything about the track record of 
the NFB developers? The code on their site is a 
bit grim; font tags and tables, and invalid even 
though the doctype is html transitional.

Bruce Lawson

>Horácio Pastor Soares
>INTERNATIVA - Artigos e Negócios
>On 3/30/07, Cynthia Waddell <cynthia.waddell@icdri.org> wrote:
>>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:
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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.
>>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
>>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
>>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:
>>For Immediate Release
>>DAISY Consortium Adopts Modular Math Extension
>>New MathML-based extension will make math accessible to students with
>>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
>>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
>>For further information, see also the DAISY Consortium Press Release at
>>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
>>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
>>Design Science, Inc.
>>140 Pine Avenue, 4th Floor
>>Long Beach, CA 90802

Bruce Lawson

travellers tales, music, middle-aged grumblings at www.brucelawson.co.uk
Received on Saturday, 31 March 2007 19:00:59 UTC

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