ACB MEMBERS AND STRUCTURED NEGOTIATIONS MAKE THE WEB MORE ACCESSIBLE:
HOW ACB MEMBERS CAN HELP
by Lainey Feingold

For more than 15 years, the American Council of the Blind, the California Council of the Blind, and other state affiliates have been working to make the Internet more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Everyone reading this article can participate in this effort.

Many of the largest companies in the United States have signed web accessibility agreements using the structured negotiations process. An important part of those agreements is providing feedback to the companies about how accessibility enhancements are working and what areas of the site may still need improvement.

Below is a list of some of the web sites that ACB and its lawyers are monitoring. Please try to spend some time on these sites in the next month and let us know what you think (Contact information for ACB's structured negotiations lawyers is at bottom of this article). If you can, register on a site and let us know about the registration process. Or look up some information or purchase an item. All feedback, both positive and negative, helps improve access and lets the companies know that the blind community needs, and cares about, an accessible Internet.

Here are the web sites:

(1) CVS: The web address for CVS is www.cvs.com. The company has posted an accessibility page with a link to provide feedback on accessibility. You can find the accessibility page link at the very bottom on the CVS home page or you can use this shortened URL: www.tinyurl.com/yjmcmw5.

(2) Rite Aid: You can find Rite Aid on line at www.riteaid.com. The company has posted an accessibility statement on its site specifically mentioning the ACB and CCB. It states: "As part of its ongoing efforts to better serve its customers with disabilities, Rite Aid has worked with American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, and California Council of the Blind to improve the accessibility of riteaid.com by visitors who are blind or visually impaired. Questions or comments should be directed to [email protected]"

(3) Staples: The web address for Staples is www.staples.com. By the time you are reading this article, there should be an accessibility link on the bottom of the home page. The Staples web initiative was part of structured negotiations with the Bay State Council, ACB, CCB and AFB.

(4) Radio Shack: The web address for Radio Shack is www.radioshack.com. The company has posted an accessibility statement stating in part that "Radio Shack is committed to making our website accessible to individuals with disabilities. We are making continuous efforts to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. If any information on the RadioShack.com website is not accessible to you due to a disability, please contact us via e-mail." The dedicated e-mail address for sending accessibility feedback to Radio Shack is [email protected]

(5) Bank of America: In 2000, Bank of America was the first bank in the country to sign an agreement to make its web site accessible. Since that time, the bank has worked with the CCB and with ACB members around the country to ensure that its web site generally, and on-line banking specifically, is as accessible and usable as possible. We continue to monitor the Bank of America agreement, and welcome feedback on www.bankofamerica.com and the services offered on the site.

(6) On-line credit reports: Accessible on-line credit reports are available through www.annualcreditreport.com. Please read the article in this month's Forum for more information about credit report access.

Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian are monitoring the accessible web site agreements for ACB and its affiliates. If you encounter any problems on any of these sites, or want to report positive experiences, please contact them by e-mail at [email protected], or through the toll-free telephone number at Linda's office, 1-800-822-5000.

A short summary of all the web site agreements that have been negotiated with the structured negotiations process are posted on Lainey's web site at: www.lflegal.com/category/settlements/web-accessibility-settlements/. You can read all the press releases about these agreements on Lainey's web site by using this shortened URL: www.tinyurl.com/yej3tzt.


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