Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Self-service for the visual and hearing impaired

When the New York Times writes, we listen:

"New technologies, including airport check-in kiosks and Web-based reservations systems, have been heavily promoted by the travel industry as conveniences for customers. Unfortunately, they are not convenient for all customers.

"Self-service airline terminals can be difficult or impossible to use for people with mobility, visual or hearing impairments. The same goes for hotel kiosks. And Web sites that are not carefully coded can be rendered useless to blind travelers who are using special screen readers to get access.

"These shortcomings shut out more travelers than commonly thought. The latest census reported that one in five Americans have a 'long-lasting condition or disability,' including 9.3 million people with sight or hearing loss.
"The California Legislature is considering a bill that would require all self-service kiosks installed or renovated after Jan. 1, 2010, to be fully accessible to the blind, but it is encountering opposition from the lodging industry, which claims the law would be too expensive to implement. Southwest Airlines recently prevailed in a case that would have required it to make its Web site more accessible to the visually impaired."

You can read the whole article here (registration required)

No comments: