[Nfbk] Letter to Members Concerning Section 508 Refresh and Comments

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Sat Jun 19 02:55:56 UTC 2010

Dear Federationists:

As many of you may have already heard, the U.S. Access Board has 
asked the public for feedback on some proposed changes to the ADA 
Accessibility Guidelines, Rehabilitation Act, and Telecommunications 
Act.  Specifically, the Access Board plans to update the standards 
and accessibility guidelines for electronic and information 
technology, as well as add kiosks to the ADA Accessibility 
Guidelines.  We urge you to make your voices heard and e-mail, fax, 
or post on <http://www.regulations.gov/>www.regulations.gov your 
comments to these changes, as they have an enormous impact on a blind 
person's ability to access information.  With a deadline of midnight 
on Monday, June 21, time is running out for us to influence the board.

The National Federation of the Blind has been heavily involved with 
the formulation of these proposed standards and guidelines, but our 
role is not finished.  It is important that we applaud the Access 
Board for the changes we support so they are not compromised, and 
that we highlight where the changes have not gone far enough to 
ensure full accessibility.  More specifically, we have many concerns 
regarding both the definition of a "kiosk" and the kiosks that are 
exempted in the proposal.

In the current proposal, the definition of "kiosk" is limiting.  A 
kiosk is defined as a self-service unit used only for transportation 
(ticketing, seat assignments, boarding passes, etc.) or for ordering 
food.  This definition should be expanded to include other types of 
services not mentioned, as kiosks are increasingly replacing customer 
service personnel in a wide range of services, including voting, jury 
service payments, and health care.  The current definition is silent 
on whether a unit used for these services would be considered a 
kiosk, and also does not include visual display systems that are used 
solely for displaying information to users.  Kiosks should have a 
comprehensive definition that leaves room for innovative ways kiosks 
may be incorporated into our society and eliminates any future debate 
over whether a different service is covered under the law and what 
standards may apply.

In addition, the two exemptions for kiosks in the proposal will not 
ensure total accessibility.  First, closed systems are exempted to 
comply with 302.  This means a closed system does not have to provide 
spoken output, since it would not be required to be usable with "only 
the attachment of a personal headset."  Under this assumption, there 
is no requirement for these systems to be accessible.  Second, 
drive-up kiosks are exempted.  Although people with certain 
disabilities are not drivers, they are all passengers who may 
encounter a drive-up kiosk; and exempting drive-up units is 
discriminatory to a disabled passenger.  The NFB encourages the board 
to ensure that all kiosks be required to be accessible.

These comments and others were compiled and formally submitted by the 
NFB to the Access Board.  Now it is time for our members to make a 
statement and emphasize our concerns regarding kiosks.  Your comments 
can be short--the act of sending in feedback is more important than 
the length of your remarks.  You could say something as simple as "I 
think the definition of kiosks is too limited.  Please expand the 
definition and remove the exemptions."  You could also say "I think 
the definition of kiosks should be expanded and all exemptions 
removed to ensure full accessibility."  You can call Tim Creagan at 
(202) 272-0016, e-mail your thoughts to 
<mailto:ictrule at access-board.gov>ictrule at access-board.gov with 
"2010-1" in the subject line, fax to (202) 272-0081, or post your 
comments on <http://www.regulations.gov/>www.regulations.gov.  To 
view the full draft, visit 

If you need more information, please contact Lauren McLarney at (410) 
659-9314, extension 2207.


Joanne Wilson
Executive Director, Affiliate Action
jwilson at nfb.org

                         David Andrews:  dandrews at visi.com
Follow me on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/dandrews920
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