I wanted to share this, since accessibility is the big topic lately. Read the article (with link to complaint) over at the NFB site
But, I also ride the rail on this stuff. I am always bothered by the way groups go about this, for example:
"The number and scope of the accessibility problems at Penn State demonstrate the institution’s blatant—and unlawful—lack of regard for
the equal education of its blind students and failure to accommodate its
blind faculty members and employees."
No, that's not what it demonstrates. It demonstrates how effing hard it is to make stuff "universally" accessible. They say it like Penn State is out to cut blind people off at the knees, no pun intended. No doubt some issues could be solved with a little consideration, but at the same time these groups need to understand how much effort it takes, and how we are equipped to deal with that.
"Penn State utilizes the ANGEL course management system. ANGEL is an integral part of the learning and teaching experience at Penn State that
allows students and professors to interact with each other online and
perform various course-related functions. This course management
software is almost completely inaccessible to blind users."
I find that interesting, since we use ANGEL, and I know it has a "508 mode." But, that's beside the point. I really think there's an important accessibility question the government needs to answer, and that's how far are we supposed to disadvantage everyone else for the sake of the special needs? Example: we stream commencement, as do many of you. But we will not be live captioning it. We're simply in no way equipped to do that. But why should we be expected to deny access to the service to everyone if we can't also offer it to an extremely small portion of our audience?
I'm not making excuses, as many will tell you I'm a HUGE #a11y proponent. Penn State likely took some shortcuts that they'll need to answer for. At the same time, I wish the other side had a bit more understanding. What do you think? Have you talked with your state officials at all about these kinds of issues? We are actively documenting our issues and what is being done to solve them (or in most cases, why we're not). Is "we don't have the resources to solve problems X, Y, and Z" a valid excuse? Should we all be shutting down our ANGELs and Blackboards? I think the obvious answer is no, but it would seem to be leaving us open for lawsuit, does it not?