American Cancer Society Accessible Web and Alternative Formats Press Release

American Cancer Society

The joint American Cancer Society and American Council of the Blind press release posted here announces the collaboration between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the blind community to make ACS’s website and print information accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. The American Council of the Blind worked with ACS in the Structured Negotiations process to improve accessibility the ACS website and to launch a pilot program for providing print information in Braille, Large Print, audio format (mp3 and CD) and electronic format (by email or CD). Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian were the lawyers for ACB in the Structured Negotiations.

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American Cancer Society’s New Website Designed for Enhanced Accessibility

Blind Community Leaders Praise ACS Initiative; Alternative Format Pilot Program Also Underway

Atlanta (February 23, 2011)– The American Cancer Society (ACS), in collaboration with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), has taken affirmative steps to make its newly redesigned cancer.org website and other information accessible to people with visual impairments. The American Cancer Society’s new website provides an improved experience for anyone looking for information, help or ways to fight back against cancer. The new cancer.org is divided into four main sections – Stay Healthy, Find Support & Treatment, Explore Research and Get Involved – that reflect the primary ways the American Cancer Society helps save lives from cancer.

“When the American Cancer Society launched its newly redesigned cancer.org website, we were able to offer an improved experience for anyone looking for online cancer information,” said Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer for the American Cancer Society. “We are pleased that we can also make our content easily accessible to people with visual impairments through our collaboration with the American Council of the Blind.”

We are thrilled with American Cancer Society’s commitment to make its website accessible to people with visual impairments. Today’s announcement is part of the Society’s on-going effort to meet the needs of the visually impaired. The website will provide critical information to those in our community touched by cancer, as well as family and friends.— Mitch Pomerantz, President of ACB.

Website Accessibility

The American Cancer Society’s new website is designed to meet guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (www.w3.org/wai). The guidelines, which do not affect the content or look and feel of a web site, ensure that sites are accessible to persons with visual and other disabilities. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen reader voice output or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse for navigation.

Web site accessibility is of great importance to both the blind community and to people with disabilities generally. Today’s announcement is an important milestone in the blind community’s quest for independent access to health information. — ACB First Vice President Kim Charlson

Alternative Format Pilot Program

The Society’s accessible website is part of a broader initiative to ensure the availability of cancer information to people who are blind and visually impaired. As part of that initiative, the Society has worked with ACB to develop a pilot program that will offer certain ACS materials in Braille, Large Print and Audio Formats to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from reading standard print.
Details of the information available in alternative formats can be found on the Accessibility Information Page on the ACS website. Members of the public with visual impairments may call 1-800-227-2345 for more information and to request materials in other formats.

About American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About American Council of the Blind (ACB)

American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country, with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. ACB is dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Its members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB can be found by visiting www.acb.org.

Media Contacts

American Cancer Society

Claire Greenwell
American Cancer Society
Phone: (404) 417- 5883
Email: claire [dot]greenwell [at] cancer.org

American Council of the Blind

Mitch Pomerantz
American Council of the Blind
Phone: 626-372-5150
Email: mitch [dot]pomerantz [at] earthlink.net

If you are a member of the press, please use the Contact Page on this website to obtain a list of ACB members who are cancer survivors who are available to talk about this press release.

Additional Resources

Simplified Summary

This document is the press release about the collaboration between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Council of the Blind. ACS agreed to make changes to its website to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use the site. ACS also agreed to provide print information in braille, large print and audio formats.Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian were the lawyers for the blind community. No lawsuit was filed. Instead, a formal process known as Structured Negotiations was used. Visit the American Cancer Society’s on-line accessibility information page [Back to American Cancer Society Press Release.]