Amazon and NFB reach agreement (Posted 26 April 2007)
A Cooperation Agreement between Amazon.com and the National Federation of the Blind ( NFB) was signed on March, 28, 2007. NFB and Amazon have been in negotiations for over a year regarding the accessibility of Amazon.com.
The basic idea of the agreement is that Amazon will work to make its web site meet accessibility requirements by the end of 2007, and continue to bring accessibility enhancements to third party sites tightly connected to Amazon (through hosting, services or technology) by the middle of 2008.
The parties agreed to work together to develop and promote commercially reasonable technologies that improve web accessibility for the blind with coordination on the NFB side by the Director of NFB's International Braille and Technology Center and with yours truly available for consulting.
This agreement is very important because Amazon is (one of the) world's largest internet retailers and one without a corresponding bricks-and-morter presence. I think Amazon will set the tone from the commercial side (as opposed to the advocates side) - that accessibility is good business.
I should have written here about this agreement before now and I admit to having been prompted to do so by a typically caustic and speculative blog posting by Joe Clark.
Though of much concern to Joe, it really should not be surprising to anyone that the National Federation of the Blind advocates for access by the blind and seeks an agreement which meets their goals and addresses the areas where they have understanding and technical expertise. That they have done - and good for them.