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NFB’s Accessible Convention Broadcasts Highlight the Organization’s Responsiveness

July 7, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

On Sunday, we reported the inaccessibility of the live convention broadcasts of the National Federation of the Blind. A new, accessible streaming option was released by the organization Monday morning.

“You’re 100 percent correct about the inaccessibility of Silverlight. The first time we realized the company who donated the streaming to us used Silverlight was when we saw your blog post,” said Chris Danielsen, NFB’s Director of Public Relations. “The NFB will never purposely launch an inaccessible technology. We make every effort to make sure we’re practicing what we preach. In this situation, we screwed up. But we rectified it immediately.”

We jumped the gun by writing the story without giving NFB officials a chance to remedy the issue.

“You could argue we should have been aware of it, but we weren’t. As soon as we found out about it from you, we rectified it. I wish an e-mail had come to us before the blog post. I wish you would’ve confirmed this before blogging,” Danielsen said. “In the future, please talk to us before calling us out.”

“The fact that the organization was able to remedy the situation very early on when few staff are in their offices is promising,” said Angie Matney, a blind law school graduate and NFB member. “It demonstrates that NFB is committed to ensuring the best possible convention listening experience for all who were unable to attend.”

One opinion on “NFB’s Accessible Convention Broadcasts Highlight the Organization’s Responsiveness

  1. Hello,

    I was just forwarded this link. I'm on the Silverlight team at Microsoft, focusing on our technical strategy for video and audio.

    Silverlight as a platform is capable of a variety of accessibility modes.

    We've built captioning support into the Silverlight media players that come with Expression Encoder 3. An example is here:

    Our Sean Hayes has created an accessible player template for Silverlight that is availble here, including source code:

    And here's an example of an accessible Silverlight player that can use descriptive audio, captioning, and ASL interpretation:

    And this article by Make Rideout from Code magazine goes into detail on building accessible media players in Silverlight:

    We'd be happy to work with your service provider to help them integrate accessible features into your player.

    We see accessibility as a critical feature of Silverlight, and welcome opportunities to demonstrate great accessible applications, and find out where we can further improve.

    -Ben Waggoner

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