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The visually impaired and internet access

This isnʻt much of a blog entry, but given the subject matter of this website I thought I would mention a brief news snippet I read in todayʻs Honolulu Star-Bulletin, it provides,

Blind man sues SBA over Web access

A blind business owner from Honolulu has filed a complaint against the U.S. Small Business Administration over access to its Web site.

Virgil Stinnett, owner of Good News HI, which provides military dining services, alleges that he was unable to apply for Section 8(a) certification because SBA's Web site is inaccessible to the blind. The suit alleges that SBA's Web site violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because it is inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen access technology or Braille displays.

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Comment by Ken Berkun on July 28, 2009 at 2:26pm
Exactly, Dan. We really don't have enough information to pass judgment at this point.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 28, 2009 at 11:52am
My sympathies lie with the reasonable :-) I hope Mr. Stinnett made his first phone call to the SBA and not his attorney. If he did, and they gave him the cold shoulder, then my sympathies are certainly with him.
Comment by Ken Berkun on July 28, 2009 at 11:05am
It is a federal law that all sites must meet standards for accesability. The national federation ofcthe blind had to sue Target to get them to fix their site. My sympathies lie with the blind. But it is too bad that lawsuits are sometimes necessary. My guess is the SBA bureauocracy made it hard to change the site and the locals had nothing to do with it.
Comment by Curtis J. Kropar on July 23, 2009 at 12:58pm
Not making an arguement in either direction.... here are a few links about the topic

http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/USA-States.html
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-962761.html
http://www.ada.gov/websites2.htm

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ada+blind+web+access
Comment by Derek on July 23, 2009 at 12:28pm
I completely agree Dan. I will be interesting to see what facts unfold. Such facts as those you asked about are important.

There are cheaper and more better ways to get the SBA to implement text-to-speech screen access technology.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 23, 2009 at 11:00am
I wonder if Mr. Stinnett tried simply calling them or walking into their office. All the people I've worked with at the SBA have been incredibly helpful. I bet they would have walked through the application with him on the spot.

We have become such a litigious society. A law suit should be the last resort when all attempts at resolution via civil discourse have been exhausted.

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