Over the past week, I have heard from several blind people concerning recent changes made to sports related web sites, including the American Hockey League, that resulted in their becoming largely useless to blind web surfers. I decided to do some basic initial advocacy by writing a letter to Infinity Pro Sports, the designers of the AHL web site, asking them to consider making accessibility enhancements to their sites and providing resources and suggestions for getting started effectively. In less than a day’s time, I received a note from Uri Geva, President of Infinity Pro Sports, indicating a commitment on the company’s part to make the American Hockey League and other web sites they develop accessible in the very near future. I responded with a nice, short thank-you note.
We’ll be watching for improved accessibility to the American Hockey League and other sports related web sites very soon. Like our sighted peers, many blind and visually impaired people enjoy participating in or watching sports. This includes all the associated online activities. It stands to reason that all possible attempts should be made to insure our ability to participate on terms of equality with the sighted when it comes to sports related web sites, and we hope this commitment by Infinity Pro Sports represents just one of many more steps in the right direction.
It’s interesting how often, just emailing a site to point out its inaccessibility to the blind, and offering some suggestions on how they can make the site accessible, is enough to do the job. In my web surfing, I’ve emailed quite a few sites, and 9 times out of 10, the response I got back was something like, “Wow, I never knew that, I’ll see what I can do.” I’m happy to report that of the positive replies I received, many of those sites did become accessible soon after. There’s no need to quote the law or take the high and mighty approach; just constructively tell them that their site is not accessible, and offer suggestions on ways they can make it so.