Update, 7/5/2014, 4:02 PM CDT: Members of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) have just passed Resolution 2014-12 at their annual national convention. The resolution calls upon Apple to work with the NFB to develop standards and policies to ensure the accessibility of all iOS apps. The full text of the resolution, as well as our original blog post, is below.
Earlier this week, a resolution was proposed at the National Federation of the Blind (a United States organization of and led by blind people) annual convention that would urge Apple to adopt and enforce requirements to ensure that all iOS apps be fully accessible to VoiceOver users.
The proposed resolution, Resolution 2014-12, calls upon Apple to "work with the National Federation of the Blind to create and enforce policies, standards, and procedures to ensure the accessibility of all apps, including core apps distributed by Apple in the base iOS distribution, and to ensure that accessibility is not lost when an app is updated."
The full text of the proposed resolution, which will be voted on this weekend, is below:
"Resolution 2014-12 Regarding Policies, Standards, and Procedures to Ensure and Maintain Accessibility of Apple Inc. Apps
WHEREAS, Apple Inc. has made VoiceOver, a free and powerful screen-access program, an integral part of many of its products, including the Apple Inc. Macintosh, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Inc. TV, and iPad; and
WHEREAS, although VoiceOver has the ability to enable nonvisual access to hundreds of thousands of applications that are available today through these platforms, such access cannot be achieved unless the applications are written to provide VoiceOver with the information it needs to tell the blind user what he or she needs to know; and
WHEREAS, through presentations at developer conferences, specific guidance issued in programming guides, and application programming interfaces that are simple to implement, Apple Inc. has made it easy for application developers to incorporate accessibility features for VoiceOver users into their programs; and
WHEREAS, despite Apple Inc.'s efforts to encourage accessibility, too many applications are still not accessible to VoiceOver users because buttons are not properly labeled, images of text cannot be interpreted, and other display elements cannot even be detected by VoiceOver; and
WHEREAS, although Apple Inc. has given VoiceOver users the tools to assign labels to unlabeled elements on their own, a growing number of applications that have been released cannot be made accessible using these tools; and
WHEREAS, even if the current version of an application is accessible to a blind VoiceOver user, Apple Inc. has no policy, procedure, or mechanism in place to ensure that this accessibility will be maintained when a subsequent version is released; and
WHEREAS, not only are inaccessible applications inconvenient for the blind VoiceOver user, but they can also prevent a blind person from independently performing the duties of his/her job; and
WHEREAS, Apple Inc. is not reluctant to place requirements and prohibitions on application developers, but has not seen fit to require that applications be accessible to VoiceOver users; and
WHEREAS, making products accessible to users of VoiceOver should be as important as any other requirement imposed on application developers: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon Apple Inc. to work with the National Federation of the Blind to create and enforce policies, standards, and procedures to ensure the accessibility of all apps, including core apps distributed by Apple in the base iOS distribution, and to ensure that accessibility is not lost when an app is updated."
A very similar resolution was adopted by the NFB convention in 2011, Resolution 2011-03.
What are your thoughts on this proposed resolution? Let us know in the comments!