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NFB Streams 2009 Convention Using Inaccessible Silverlight Technology

July 5, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In an overwhelming display of hypocrisy, the National Federation of the Blind, claiming to be the representative voice of all blind people in America, has chosen to stream its 2009 national convention using inaccessible Silverlight technology.

While blind people can listen, they can’t control the volume, mute or use any of the player’s controls. While NFB is the primary actor in a lawsuit against Arizona State University over inaccessible textbooks, the organization delivers a listening experience to blind people that is inferior to that provided to the sighted for the purpose of hearing their own convention broadcast live on the net! Shame on the National Federation of the Blind for insisting that others be accessible while failing to practice the very message they claim to preach!

In contrast to NFB’s poor example, The American Council of the Blind is broadcasting their convention coverage live through its long-established ACB Radio outlet using fully accessible technology. We urge all of you to enjoy the ACB convention and use the feedback option, one of the few accessible elements on the NFB’s convention streaming site, to tell the organization’s leadership exactly what you think about their blatant discrimination against the blind community they claim to serve. Choose accessible!

8 opinions on “NFB Streams 2009 Convention Using Inaccessible Silverlight Technology

  1. I think this is simply deplorable. How can NFB complain about the rest of the world when they don't Practice what they preach?

  2. Agreed. This is discrimination, plain and simple. The NFB should stream their convention using plain old Shoutcast, so people can listen using the method and player of their choice.

  3. hmmm… maybe they want people to use their speaker's cvolume control and all that to get the thing controlled? weird, because we all well know the screen reader will follow the changes and not everyone has a braille display.

  4. I can listen using Windows Media Player; maybe this is because I was given a direct link…I'm not sure. GO ACB! though! *smile*

  5. I believe a much more strongly worded and direct apology is called for after that blatent attack. Such vicious name calling and baseless accusations are uncalled for without knowing all the facts. A technology expert like yourself should very well know that a busy organization like this will often outsource their streaming operations. They knew of a company with a good reputation who offered to stream the convention. What's more, they used this same company last year with no problems. They had no reason to think it would be different. That incredible jump to conclusions deserves an apology that is just as strongly worded as the attack.

  6. Wow, sounds to me that you are full of sour grapes. It is a shame to have such negativity about another organization that is out there helping the blind as the NFB does. Have you ever attended one of our Conventions, or are you just an angry blogger? Maybe you ought to look at that which the NFB does, and know how to access the streams before you jump off the deep end of the pool.

    Your post is a fine example of what the ACB does and how it attacks other blind organizations instead of working with to work for a common cause. Shame on you and your one sided diatribe.

    Fairbanks Alaska NFB

  7. I doubt very much that it was the Silverlight technology that made the presentation inaccessible but the implementation of it. It would be trivial to provide volumne and forward and backward controls on the Silverlight app that would respond to keyboard input. Blame the site developer, not the underlying technology.

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