The simple fact is, we have between fifteen and twenty
applications under development right now using Notes as the
development kit. I guarantee that some aspects of these
applications will be accessible, but I can assure all of you
that many aspects, and important workflow related ones, will
not be accessible. I personally had to drop out of two big
information-gathering projects, because the data input was
Notes-based, and these applications were
inaccessible to the point where I couldn't keep up. Let me
assure you that I am quite computer literate, and if I
couldn't figure out how to do it, the average blind user
would have a real hard time using these applications.
I don't want to ramble here, but the bottom line for me, is
that the issues here go way beyond what is happening at the
Department of Education. Fact is, whatever happens with
Notes in my office, I doubt if I'll lose my job because
Notes isn't accessible, because my job isn't solely reliant
upon these applications -- at least, not now.
But think of this, every single corporation, federal, state,
and local agency which uses Notes or inaccessible
applications like it, just closes the door a little further
to employing blind folk like us.
The Department is doing some really great things in terms of
developing criteria to be put into future contracts, and I
am proud to be a part of that work, and proud to be at the
Department. But, if just one large agency had saidto
another giant like Lotus, "we just cannot purchase your
product until you build in some specific accessibility
features, the magic would happen, and happen fast. So
before you pick Janina's letter appart, just be sure that
the objections you raise are of more consequence than the
issues she raises.
Janina and the folks who wrote that letter don't even work
at Education, but they've taken on an issue that has been
long overdue in working through.
We blind employees at Federal agencies are trying too, but
sometimes it takes outsiders to shake things up a bit, and
get things on track.
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