DOJ Delays Web Accessibility Regulations

Earlier this month the United States Department of Justice admitted what many of us have suspected: we will not be seeing web accessibility regulations in the United States for commercial and public entities any time soon. Some time in 2013 at the earliest. In July, 2010, the Department issued what is called an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making indicating that it was planning to issue regulations about web accessibility. The step after an “Advanced Notice” is a “Notice of Proposed Rule Making” (NPRM). After that is the rule itself. In its semi-annual regulatory agenda for Spring 2011, however, the DOJ called the NPRM for Web Accessibility a “Long Term Item” not expected until December, 2012. That’s well over a year from now. And it is close to two years after the public comment period on the Advanced Notice closed, and almost two and one half years after the DOJ announced the possible regulations in July, 2010. Read more…

Proposed Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines (Finally) Coming July 26

The United States Access Board has announced that it will (finally) publish proposed Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines on July 26 – the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidelines will address access to sidewalks and streets by people with disabilities, including accessible pedestrian signals, crosswalks, roundabouts, curb ramps, street furnishings, parking, and other components of public rights-of-way. Technical specifications on these issues will be welcomed, but it is important to remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act has required such access for more than twenty years. Read more…

Wells Fargo and Department of Justice: Claims Filing Information for the Blind Community

The United States Department of Justice is now taking claims from individuals with disabilities who believe that they have been discriminated against by Wells Fargo or Wachovia because of their disability. Claims must be filed by January 29, 2012. In this post you can find resources regarding the claims filing process, and learn more about the issues affecting people with visual impairments that may give rise to a claim. Under the settlement, individuals with disabilities may file claims for monetary payment based on Americans with Disabilities Act violations by Wells Fargo and Wachovia. The amount of payment each person can receive is not specified, but there is a total pot of up to 16 million dollars. Read more…

Court to Hear Argument in JetBlue Accessibility Case

On July 22, 2011, there will be a hearing in the federal court house in San Francisco in the disability access case against JetBlue Airways. JetBlue is asking United States District Court Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero to dismiss the case. The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. at 450 Golden Gate Avenue in Court Room A on the 15th Floor. The hearing is open to the public. The case, brought by the California Council of the Blind and three blind JetBlue customers, is about access barriers on JetBlue’s website and the inaccessibility of JetBlue’s airport check-in kiosks to people with visual impairments. Read more…

American Cancer Society Information in Braille, Large Print, Audio Formats and Accessible On-Line

Last month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced a comprehensive initiative to improve access to its materials by people with visual impairments. Using the alternative dispute resolution method known as Structured Negotiations, ACS worked with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) to improve the accessibility of its website and to develop a pilot program for providing accessible information. As described in this post, print information is now available in Braille, Large Print, mp3, audio CD and accessible electronic formats. Access to information is a civil right and is key to full inclusion of people with disabilities into modern society. Please share this post and help spread the word about the availability of cancer-related information in formats that people who are blind and visually impaired can read. Read more…

Spring 2011 Conference Presentations

In the Spring of 2011 Lainey Feingold will be speaking at three technology and disability conferences: the 2011 International Technology and People with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) in San Diego, the Conference on Employment and Visual Impairment sponsored by the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College in New York City, and the John Slatin AccessU 2011 sponsored by Knowbility in Austin, Texas. In this post you can read about and find links to each of these conferences. Read more…

American Cancer Society Accessible Website and Alternative Formats Agreement

The ground breaking agreement posted here recognizes the growing importance of accessible health care information to people with visual impairments. Working with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) in the Structured Negotiations process, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has agreed to design and generate its website in accordance to well accepted web accessibility standards. ACS has also agreed to undertake a pilot program for making its print materials available in alternative formats including Braille, Large Print, audio and electronic formats. Read more…

American Cancer Society Accessible Web and Alternative Formats Press Release

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. Read more…

New Web Regulations Should Avoid “Do Not Enter” Signs for People with Disabilities

On January 10, 2011, Lainey Feingold testified at the San Francisco Public Hearing on the Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to Revise the ADA Implementing Regulations. The hearing was the last of three held in conjunction with proposed rules on web accessibility and other issues. In her comments, posted here, Lainey urged the Department not to re-invent the wheel, and not to make any rule that would be a “Do Not Enter” sign on the information highway. Read more…

World Braille Day Question: Is your Information Accessible?

January 4, 2011 marks the 202d birthday of Louis Braille. The milestone is celebrated throughout the world: World Braille Day across the globe, National Braille Week in the UK, National Braille Literacy Month in the United States. In an era when access to information grows increasingly important, the birth of the founder of Braille is certainly worth celebrating. But thinking about Braille is also sobering. Despite strong civil rights laws guaranteeing effective communication to people with visual impairments, too much critical information is not available in Braille for those who need it. Read more…