NFB Adopts Resolution Urging Apple to Require All iOS Apps to Be Accessible

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

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!

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Comments

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thing is. this has gone through but will it truly make a difference? I doubt it.
We live in the sited world, yes some, some! stuff has been adapted for us, but most is sited bassed. next people will want blind friendly roads and blind friendly shops and blind friendly food. This is the truth and I'm not being whiny I'm just telling it how it is.
And if that happened to be honest I wouldn't go to them, because they'd not treat us as everyday people.

This is why I don't buy most blindy products. Oh I have some but not many, the most I have is a talking microwave, a jug, and talking scales that's it.

I'm not being negative here I'm just being real. Those that are treated as poor blind people will, when they grow up have no where to live apart from with there parents, no confidence to go out, nothing.
Take me for example. Now I'm 20 and looking for somewhere to move out to. But I'm going to need to learn how to cook clean and other things. Things a sited person learns at a young age.
I really feel that if we had a blind friendly world, I'd hate it.

Yes this is off topic but it doesn't matter because it's true.

If apple does something with this thing that is going through or has gone through, great but if not then it won't affect me personally.

Let's see what happens.

Submitted by Alexandria on Monday, July 7, 2014

Yeah, what's next braille on every product sold in the US? Come on for goodness sake! Learn to live in the real world!

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Well in the UK there is Braile on pill packages and on some other things too, so that's nice.
I'm not saying I don't like that I do, but everything blind friendly, it's not possible.

I will say this though, I don't know much about the NFB but. www.nfb.org seems quite interesting. I've signed up and like there chat boards. They're fun and interesting and helpful.
For example I found lodes of sites where I can learn Spanish. So yeah that's good.

Submitted by Octocorn on Monday, July 7, 2014

I really can't believe some things I've read.
Blind people are rude and ungrateful because they ask to be able to use the technology equal to the sighted folks??
Blind people shouldn't ask for more because big bad Apple could pull the plug on the accessibility???
So I suppose, blind people should just bow their heads and kneal before the master???
You must be kiddin' me. If you don't ask for something you won't get it. Apple doesn't employ mind readers, those are just folks with expertize in technology and if we don't tell them what we need they won't see it in the crystal ball.
Come on and get serious, please.

Submitted by burak on Monday, July 7, 2014

Hi, I totally agree with you, dude. We live on a World where the sighted people are majority, and they do what the majority wants. So no, apple shouldn't accept this policy.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, July 7, 2014

There is a difference between asking for something to be accessible that could use a few tweaks, and asking for something to be made accessible that can't be. If the NFB really wanted for this to work, what they should be doing is focusing on the companies who produce apps that are already somewhat accessible, but could use some help with some unlabeled buttons and such as that. If they get a group of developers together, explain how it works with VoiceOver and make some recommendations or suggestions as to how the apps can be made more accessible, I see nothing wrong with that. But asking that all apps be made accessible? That's what the resolution says folks, *all* apps. They ask the impossible.

Submitted by JDawg on Monday, July 7, 2014

If they really wanna make things totally "accessible," they should make there own phone/tablet company and design it the way they want. that way they can approve/disapprove any and or all apps they want that don't meet with there ridiculous demands!! also, they use "whereas," way too much in there resolution. how about a vowel Vanna? I mean, they have all sorts of grants from the government and the like, so why not? is it just me, or does the NFB's demands seem way too high on whatever they try and do? and if they don't get your way they'll sue ya. very mature guys very mature. and don't even get me started on the bias review of the mac in the june 2009 braille monitor? yeah they tried to fix it, but that's not the point! can ya tell the NFB really grinds my gears? making apps accessible that can be made so, good idea. all apps, unrealistic, stupid, ridiculous, unreasonable.

Submitted by Alexandria on Monday, July 7, 2014

The world doesn't owe you everything because you are blind NFB! Get over your mighter than thow selfish attitude! Its not the world's fault that you are blind! Stop the greed and selfishness! You already have tons of things others with they had like free college educations! There are veterans homeless and dying in the streets and all you can do is sit there and bitch about stupid Iphone apps! Be greatful you have an Iphone! There are much worse things like maybe being starving to worry about than stupid iphone apps! Grow the hell up!

Submitted by Octocorn on Monday, July 7, 2014

So the conclusion is to approach every single app developer individually and not Apple itself??? NFB should waste time and money and other resources on contacting the developers of hundreds or thousands of possibly useful apps each one of them separately???
One strict accessibility policy in the AppStore conditions could solve it all at once.

Submitted by Siobhan on Monday, July 7, 2014

In reply to by Octocorn

@Octocorn, you believe a once size fits all approach? Instead of writing developers individually, politely explaining what doesn't work, offering this community, along with your own feedback, getting a more then reasonable response, is logical. If you are not responded too, you've wasted, a minute of the precious time you have during the day? Asking for a policy like this is just going to create problems. As it is now, the approval process is already around a week long, perhaps longer depending on the depth of the app or the order it was submitted. So now, the developer has to jump through hoops to make sure it's accessible before submission, why is that reasonable? It will add to the wait times, for new and updated apps, it will most definitely frustrate the small market it needs to adhere to. Your opinion is just that, yours as mine is. Above, I stated just a few key behaviors, attitudes and such I saw at the recent convention. As long as people resist change and accept technology is always an everchanging field, we are little better off then we are at the moment in time. As i stated onreasonable, downright moronic, and truth be told, if the organization is so outdated, i'm more then happy to never be a part of it. My hope is Apple looks at the resolution, then goes back to really caring about the mainstream.

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My thoughts are that One, we live in a sighted world as others have stated. 2, we can't have *everything* on a silver platter. now, I've had note takers, the blind, non mainstream devices for years. However, when I got a Mac back in 2010, I'm actually using that exclusively for *all* of my note taking. Just my opinions on this issue. Also, @alexandria, sorry if I got the name wrong, but I completely agree with ya on your points. 100%! We need to accept that not *all* apps can be made accessible. If there is an accessibility bug or problem, then we should contact the debs and politely tell them what is going on with the issues and see if they can fix them in new releases. That's enough waffling from me on this!! I don't belong to any blindness organization here in US, and this is exactly why! No offense meant to anyone who is a member of any of the organizations, it's just my opinion that the NFB wines and complains and kinda bashes things a little too harshly.
Ok, guys, take care and have a good one!

Submitted by Sarah on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

There is no argument from me that we live in a sighted world. I don't ask for privileges, I just ask for the same access my sighted peers have. There is no shame in having "blindy" products, so long as the end-goal of becoming independent, employed and an active community member is met.
I object to the "all" apps being made accessible, but I think all that could should be. I've written to many developers: some I've gotten good results from, others don't reply to my requests, and most give lukewarm responses but make no commitment to change their app. It's exhausting and disheartening. Why not start from the top and get Apple on board? Not for clearly unusable apps, but for the majority that should be usable to all.
The nastiness I've seen today is sad. We as a community won't get anything done if we continue to be mean to each other. Discussion and debate is healthy; vitriole is not.
As for Apple's record, I'm grateful for what they've done, but I expect them not to become complacent regarding accessibility. I refuse to just be happy with what I have and not complain (constructively, of course), if things don't work.
Obviously other platforms should be addressed here; I hope this happens in due course.
As a final comment, if we won't advocate for ourselves and ask for what we want and need, how can we expect to get it?

Submitted by Vash Rein on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So this is impossible. Not long ago, having an accessible touch screen phone, computer, tablet, etc was impossible. Before that, Jaws for Windows was impossible. Before that, blind people reading was impossible. Before that, blind people being useful to society was impossible.

Please educate the rest of us who think it is impossible. What else is impossible? Maybe we should stop submitting bug reports when there are bugs. Maybe we should stop leaving the house because reading train schedules is not possible and we can't see the train.

honestly, the limits blind people put on themselves and others is utterly sickening. Be ashamed of yourselves for thinking impossible. Be ashamed of yourselves for thinking that we shouldn't be petitioning Companies including apple for more accessibility. They have given us so much because we are a market that they can profit from.

Submitted by Laszlo on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vash,

Why the hostility: “Be ashamed of yourselves for thinking impossible. Be ashamed of yourselves for thinking that we shouldn't be petitioning Companies including apple for more accessibility.”
Are you implying, sir, that those of us who do not agree with this resolution should be ashamed of ourselves? If so, you telling me, and others who agree with me, how to feel is either really laughable or really sad—depending on from whose perspective you look at it.

To answer your question as to why people should file bugs, etc: comparing bug-reporting to asking that Apple require all iOS apps to be accessible would be like comparing grapes to watermelons.

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I completely agree with the last comment. I think that apps should be accessible, but will they be? It's completely possible, but highly, scratch that, very highly unlikely. Not all apps can be made accessible. I used video game examples above because they are a prime example of inaccessible, but sometimes usable apps. And, we live in a sighted world, and there is nothing we can do about that. I'm sure some sighted people talk to developers s of apps if they don't like certain aspects. Making all apps accessible probably won't get us anywhere. It's up to the developer to implement voiceover support or if that can't be implemented, then possibly develop a type of spoken system or auditory thing or whatever works best! Ok, guys, have a good one and end rant or however ya wanna take it.

Submitted by DPinWI on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I certainly hope that some of the proponents of this resolution do not use the same tone of voice they use here when talking to Apple, developers, and other people they meet. The over the top rhetoric is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE. I refuse to engage with that form of discourse.

While sometimes I wish this place had an "ignore" filter, I'm glad it doesn't.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yeah, I agree with ya on that. seeing the different viewpoints of us can make a difference. I just don't like complaining about things. If it's not accessible, I just won't use the app and wait till it gets an update. If that breaks accessibility more, ah well. I'm just happy with my apps that I have currently. If they make "all apps" 100% accessible, great. If not, that's fine. I'm fine with how things are currently.

Submitted by Aleeha on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

All right, guys, I refuse to use this comment to call anyone anything but a person. No one here is stupid, whiny, or anything of the sort and it gets us no where to say such things.
The first thing I want to say is this: the resolution passed and, as such, it is a part of the NFB's policy. It is written like it is for a reason, each whereas having its own purpose. This is to make the resolution look and sound professional and has been happening for years.
Next, this resolution does not seek full accessibility of all apps It seeks to have a way to make sure that, at the very minimum, an accessible app that is updated does not break the accesibility. If you haven't noticed, you cannot downgrade to a previous version of an app, so does this not seem reasonable?
Games are a large part of the App store, bbut all we are asking for is a button to be labelled, for goodness sake. There are enough requirements for an app to enter the app store that one more, labbelled buttons and static images should not be a problem for Apple.
Now, my last point: other companies. The NFB is going after Google and Microsoft as well. If, by going after, you mean networking and having positive diiscussions. That is all this resolution seeks to do: start a positive discussion. There are no lawsuits threatened, no protests planned, so everyone just chill out a bit. I am in favor of this resolution and am glad that it passed. At the same time I am grateful for the many Apple products that i work with today to make my life as technologically connected as possible.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hi.
I'm glad it went through but if as a poster said apps aren't accessible or some apps get broken when it comes to accessibility, I'm happy with the apps i have.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

hi all, the NFB is at it again. take a look at this stupid article and let me know what you all think of it. I am sick of this org ruling and companies bowing down to their demands and threats. I would be interested in the comments. take note, the last app talked about in this article they falsely claim that buttons are not labeled, which is not true. happy commenting. http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/07/09/national-federation-of-the-bl…

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I had no idea. [smile] The title of this thread didn't give it away.

Submitted by Tree on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I can't believe this.
"Attorney Daniel Goldstein, who brought the suit against Apple in 2008 as counsel for the National Federation of the Blind, said the 2008 action could provide a model for a suit focused on apps." Now its important to say that is just one guy speaking and not the n f b. Come on N F b. You can pass your silly resolution that is probably not going to do any good in the first place. That is fine. but do not sue apple for what other companies are doing. I mean if you want to sue apple for something sue them for how terrible pdf's are on the mac. At least I could understand that. I mean that is totally apples fault and it is because of their own app, preview. but do not sue them because other people have not followed apples lead.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Absolutely. Couldn't have said it better myself. Apple is responsible for accessibility in their own apps, which they have done remarkably. They have also made it easy for other developers to find and use accessibility tools. They've done their part. I can't speak for PDFs because I've not tried to read PDFs on an Apple device yet.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Thursday, July 10, 2014

The more I read about this, the harder I find it to see how anyone could be against this. Is it possible to make *all* apps accessible? of course not. I would hope the NFB realizes that, but maybe they were thinking it's a place to start a negotiation. As for why iOS and nothing else? It's Apple's app store and it's the only place you can get iOS apps unless you jailbreak. It's also the most popular mobile platform among bline people. So I don't see why they couldn't have some kind of minimum standard for accessibility that apps have to meet, I.E. some kind of pop up warning when an app is being developed that tells the dev that their buttons aren't labelled. But people say that'll encourage devs to just do the bare minimum to get an app into the store. But maybe from there people could continue to tell devs how they can make their apps better.
As for people saying it's up to us to let the devs know about VO and how they can make their apps useable for us. Of course I agree with that, but what about the apps made by big companies, I.E. ESPN and Disney? Horribly inaccessible. I know there have been campains of the momth for stuff like that, but have they made a difference? Maybe and I just haven't heard about it.
I read something else this morning that was really interesting. Jonathan Mosen, who has been in the middle of some similar stuff, wrote another thought provoking blog post about why he supported the NFB resolution, albeit a long one. It made me wonder if Twitter and the Internet would've ben around in the 60s, would it have been full of of the same kind of harsh opposition to the civil rights movement in the US?
Maybe that didn't make sense. I don't generally agree with the NFB, but I'm with them on this one.
Just my two cents.

Submitted by Elena Brescacin on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hi
here in my country, we say: "give him a finger. He'll ask for your whole arm". It is said for people who receive a consistent help and then keep asking more and more.
Or, we also say, "if you want too much, you'll hold nothing"
I am very frustrated when i find inaccessible apps, this is true; some people here in this long thread wondered if, why don't they ask for jaws-compliance for all apps?
I may answer to this, simple, question: blinds do not ask more, because Windows operating systems do not contain a real screen reader themselves. Well, maybe windows8 has narrator in it but i do not know it enough to say if it is a good screen reader or not; apple has integrated a real screen reader instead, so they find it as a reason, a right, to ask more and more.
I am not so negative-thinking such as, apple may give up with accessibility for this association's fault; but, as I said before, NFB's approach, is not the good way to cooperate with a company which is already doing a lot for us.
But IMHO there's another matter to consider.
Apps needed for public transportation, mobile banking, health, phone and internet providers, on line buying. These apps are, let's say, publicly useful.
Here in italy we have a private company called Italo treno whose app is not usable with voiceover, the web site is inaccessible too; it's true we have Italo's phone number but if you want to travel by train using that company, you can't buy tickets as other people. You're forced to give the credit card numbers to operator talking on the phone, with risks we all know about. We gave them feedbacks on the need to make it accessible but we got nothing but a "i'm sorry".
If I was apple, I'd not approve the app: you are a company regarding transportation, you want to stay on my market? You make it accessible or I cut you off.
Same thing for mobile apps regarding public services, such as Poste italiane (the postal service) or those. We have the law, the Stanca act, which forces public entities to have their web sites accessible. But, but. Web sites may lose accessibility with restylings, verifications can fail, people engaged to verify sites can do it in the wrong way but they pass the verification.
But apps? Apps must pass through apple
And, if they do not approve apps which allow music download because piracy is illegal, why do they approve inaccessible apps made by companies which should have accessibility required by law?
I'd never, never, never dream for a world where all apps are accessible, where photo editings and graphic-based games are accessible. Not at all.
It would be good to have every game to be playable but a game is not essential for life; having less games does not worry too much, but having less services is very, very annoying.
I read this resolution involves also social network apps, well, I do not think it's so important to have facebook 100% accessible. I think now its' a 80 or 90%, or more, but it's not a tragedy.
Italo is a frustration instead

Submitted by Scott Davert on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by riyu12345 (not verified)

I know this is an apple site, but I have to make the following comments as they relate to the resolution.
As a deaf-blind user of technology, I have found the most mobile and even out of the box accessibility in Apple products in terms of braille support. I've written an article for another site about the state of braille support on Android, but to summarize it, a braille only user can't even read email or books. Why, then, given the braille literacy movement, can't that be a priority? It's good that people have talkback as an option, but it's not one for me. I'm also blind, in addition to my hearing impairment, so shouldn't that be an issue for them to address? Further, let's talk about Windows Phone which is not accessible at all. Does Microsoft get a pass on that one?
All of that said, they did pass several resolutions I do agree with, and I hope more focus will be placed on those, as this is just another version, though a bit more well written, than the one before it. Suing Apple will just turn them against the blindness community. How about suing the other 2 companies I mentioned? This Android and braille issue is a huge one. The Kindle HDX, the Blaze from HIMS, and a few other products that use a derivative of Android can't be made usable with braille, because it's not being developed or supported. This is not an anti-Google post, it is simply my posting the facts about the state of the tech available and the accessibility of that tech for braille users.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Thursday, July 10, 2014

So Apple is going to turn against the blind community? That made me smile.

What do you think? That Apple is a friend and will be offended by your behavior? Are you seriously? Only people who base their lives on fear are afraid to take steps forward.

How many of you realize that Apple is a company dedicated to making as much money as possible? The reason why there is accessibility is because their base code (unix) is written in such a way that accessibility can be possible. Android is much more difficult to make accessible because of the base code they use and how code is written overall.

Apple only cares about us buying their stuff to make more profit. Because the majority of blind users use Apple products these days, that is literally millions of dollars they are making. If they turned on us as some colorfully say, we would stop buying the product and they would lose out on money.

Them turning on us is like a pizza place saying they won't serve blind people. If they do it, people would be in an uproar.

A minimum of accessibility will go a long way especially in an industry where tech is constantly changing and evolving. So while you go on tinking Apple will turn on us, I will continue to laugh at you.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Thursday, July 10, 2014

PS: Have any of you heard of w3 compliance? It is why most of the websites on the web are accessible. If the internet has a minimum for making websites compliant, then why can't Apple adopt a minimum stance.

Submitted by synthesizer101 on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Android is also based on Unix, so the dropping of the term does not really mean anything. Yes, there are differences, but one of them is that Google has spent much less time on accessibility development. That is certainly their choice, but it is not the fault of the code, the system, or the users, but the fault of the people who chose to change their priorities.

Submitted by Chris Norman on Friday, July 11, 2014

Ask Apple Nicely to put a ratings thing into the app store, similar to the ones that say "Provides In-App Purchases" and "Rated 15+ for infrequent violence" or whatever.

Simply have something that says:

Supports users of screen-reading technology
Supports Users of switch controls
Supports alternative notification styles.

All of these could be something that developers check when they upload their apps, and they'd not be allowed the ratings unless the conditions were met etc.

The last one could be applicable if a developer has included preferences which allow combinations of visual, textual and audible notifications.

With all of this in place (possibly with amendments / additions), anyone could look at an app's description and know at a glance if they'd be good to use the app.

And if they brought Zombies VS Cheeseburgers because it advertised it's self as "Supports users of screen-reading technology", and it wasn't, they could get a refund.

Simple, but effective. Without annoying anyone, you've brought accessibility even more into the lime light, because developers can see when they submit their app that oh, actually, there's another box they could click to make their app look more appealing. Finally, if they don't know what screen reading technology is, they can click the "What is this?" button next to the tick box, and receive a brief explanation along with a link to Apple's accessibility documentation.

It would be nice if something changed, just to stop people having to run off to their various forums to check before shelling out money on a new app that hit the market, but I'm not sure that "demanding" a company who is already dedicated to accessibility is the right fix.

Have a wonderful day. And if this forum has you stressing out, feel free to relax with some nice easy listening music from my very own band:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/public-transport-ep/id896672255

Submitted by ftealucard on Saturday, July 12, 2014

The blogs I have browsed on the NFB website do not allow the posting of comments. Now I'm sure there are other blogs out there that do not but they are sometimes known for saying "It's the NFB way or the highway." With that being said, it is unfortunate that they do not allow comments so that readers may debate the authors opinions. Even if the comments were to be screened first which some blogs do, it would show willingness for discussion of other viewpoints besides their own. I would assume however that people can post to their twitter accounts, I wouldn't know because I am not following them at the moment.
I also find it interesting that whenever NFB wants to drive home their viewpoint (punn intended) they bring up that self driving car, even if it is completely off topic.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Saturday, July 12, 2014

This shouldn't be a discussion because you guys have already made up your minds. If Tim Cook tells you he isn't in it for the money, then you will believe him because you want to. Even though Steve Jobs is the one who originally pushed for it despite company reservations of gaining a reputation for being a "blind" company.

This has become an exercise in futility.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Saturday, July 12, 2014

So because Tim Cook said that, its true. Also, Where does saying that or having accessibility features hurt their bottom line?

In terms of Capitalism, there is no altruism. There is only profit and growth. Tim Cook is not your friend, he is not coming to your house for dinner. He is a CEO trying to maximize profits.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Saturday, July 12, 2014

"The National Federation of the Blind has been struggling with how to address these problems for years. Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises. We do not want to needlessly antagonize a company that has been such an outstanding accessibility champion. Nevertheless, inaccessible apps continue to proliferate, and blind users cannot update the apps on their iPhones without anxiety.

Many argue that the way to address these problems is to engage the vast community of developers who create iOS apps. This is a worthy, if challenging, endeavor, and nothing in Resolution 2014-12 precludes such engagement. In fact, our access technology team has engaged with many app developers and will continue to do so. Apple itself, however, is in the best position to influence its developer community, and has in fact made efforts to do just that. While Apple’s clear accessibility guidelines and training at developer conferences are appreciated and necessary, however, they have proven insufficient. So the National Federation of the Blind, through its national convention, has decided to ask Apple to do more."

AND

"Much of the debate about this resolution has centered on the use of the word “all.” It has been argued that not all apps can, or should, be made accessible. But I think the word is useful, because it makes clear that we believe accessibility to be a critical component of the user experience, not merely a nice feature to bolt on if the developer feels like it. The National Federation of the Blind has always believed that accessibility is necessary, not merely desirable, if the blind are ever to take our rightful place as equal members of society. We believe that it is, and ought to be, guaranteed by our nation’s antidiscrimination laws. We have always believed this, and that we have restated this belief in this resolution should surprise no one. As Dr. Marc Maurer said at the national convention, “The right to live in the world has to include the right to live in the digital world.” The word “all” reflects our belief that accessibility should be the rule rather than the exception. Perhaps there should be some exceptions, but we are not obligated to negotiate with ourselves and declare what those exceptions will be. If they are to exist, they should be carefully negotiated in discussions with Apple and with its developers."

So what's the problem exactly? Why do you feel the need to attack a group working towards everyone's benefit, even if you don't agree with the methods. You are free to tackle issues your way just as they are free to do it their way.

"
I also find it interesting that whenever NFB wants to drive home their viewpoint (punn intended) they bring up that self driving car, even if it is completely off topic."

What exactly is off-topic? This is what he wrote:

"Besides, where might we draw the line of innovation? I was once told I would never be able to drive a car, but when we put imaginative engineers together with skilled blind people we created technology that empowered me to drive on the track at Daytona. Shall we decide today what is or is not possible in the innovations of the future?"

That is a major accessibility moment. The fact that we are going to have self-driving cars by 2018-2020 is beyond any of us dreamed of. Both on a humanistic perspective and an accessibility perspective. He is comparing the inovations that Apple has made as far as accessibility is concerned to the inovations people have made when working together and utilizing knowledge to put a blind individual in a raceway. He is discussing how things can happen if we push for it and make it happen.

I don't always agree with the NFB, but in circumstances like this where nothing but positive things can happen, I am on their side and fully support them.

Submitted by Mello on Saturday, July 12, 2014

First, thank you to all of you on this forum that have debated this topic with decorum. Even if you may disagree some of you have done so in a respectful manner.
To the rest of you who have been engaging in NFB bashing just for the sport of talking trash, you think you are better than us? Without the work of the National Federation of the Blind, Blind Americans wouldn’t have access to quality education, fair wages for workers with disabilities, and many other things that I would imagine you take for granted every day.
To all of you who think we are going to make big bad Apple mad and Tim Cook is going to come to your house and remove Voiceover from your phone just because we would like to open up a dialog with Apple around app accessibility… I would ask you to please reread (or read for the first time) NFB resolution 2014-12. You will find that we are not demanding anything, or threatening anything.
The media has taken the comments of a few NFB members who do not speak for the organization and used them as if they came from leadership.
If you don’t know much about the NFB, and you would like to learn about our 74 year history may I suggest reading the Braille Monitor found at: https://nfb.org/braille-monitor

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.

Thanks for reading.
-Mike Mello @melloinseattle on twitter

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Saturday, July 12, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Vash,

What evidence do you have to suggest that Apple's commitment to serving the needs of all customers is anything other than what Tim Cook has said it is?

I think profit is a key motivator for all companies--Apple included--and that is as it should be. However, I have seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Apple's commitment to accessibility is any less than what its CEO has said.

While you are, of course, free to think whatever you want about Apple's motives...I'll be sticking to the facts. If Tim Cook has publicly stated that a return on investment (ROI) is not Apple's motivation for going above and beyond to make their products accessible, the facts simply do not support any other conclusion than to take him at his word.

Submitted by Kelsey on Saturday, July 12, 2014

I feel this resolution has its positives and its negatives. I feel that ultimately, all blind/visually impaired users of any computer, whether that be a mobile device like an iPad, iPhone, Android etc, or a desktop device like a PC or Mac, are aiming for the same results. We want access to as much of an OS as possible but still be a user of a mainstream product like the iPhone or iPad. Different people have different thoughts and views on how we should achieve this goal as a community. Some feel that federations should take the lead and encourage companies to incorporate accessibility into all of their apps, and also have developers make their apps accessible whereas others would rather individuals make developers aware of accessibility on a case-by-case bases. Personally, I feel that putting a big 'resolution' out there helps few people. It may indeed work and give us better access to nearly as much of iOS as a sighted user but with that comes other issues. If this were to get out into the mainstream tech field, it further increases the negative ways that sighted people see the blind community, which of course doesn't benefit the NFB in any way.

As for the discussion about video games, I think that they were just being used as examples. I don't think that the original poster meant that he/she was particularly interested in the accessibility of Sonic the Hedgehog. There are thousands of examples out there and poor Sonic just happened to be one of them. He/she could have said Colour the Dragon, Flappy Birds or Maths games for Kids; the concept would have been the same.

I think we just need to calm down and talk sensibly about our individual views, rather than beating each other down in order to get our voices heard over the noise of everybody else, if you get my point.

I think it's great that DN FB trying to make apple more apps voiceover accessible I do not want to offense anybody but I do not agree with you

Because is great that Bishali and pair people have more applications accessible because I really agree with them

Submitted by Josue on Saturday, July 19, 2014

Along time ago a blind person could not use a computer could not use a touch phone now weekend how about making a little more apps accessible not all of them because that will be hard but how about a little more apps accessible Life is not perfect Applegate a lot already they did a lot for us like I said just a little more apps accessible that's it because anything is not perfect and thank you Apple for all your help

Submitted by Vash Rein on Saturday, July 19, 2014

In reply to by Kelsey

Most blind people are already seen as helpless and in some cases useless. How can asking for more accessibility be seen as negative. I am very curious to know others' views as I was under the impression that fighting for one's beliefs, rights, etc. are eventually seen as brave and overall very positive.

Do you think that the developers will just say F**k to the blind because we are asking to properly label a button? Most of the time, its out of ignorance. Developers think people using an IPhone is sighted so if the button is visually labelled, why bother labelling it. When you go to a mobile store and ask a rep to turn voiceover on, they have no idea it even exists 90% of the time. When you use voiceover in public, some people look at you with aw or think you are playing or they have no idea that it is a screenreader or that something like that exists. Developers are just people who know how to code; but they don't know everything.

So why would they take it away? When it comes to money, do you think they will say no? What I think is important is for us to put ourselves in their shoes and not put them in our shoes. Our fears and issues have nothing to do with the rest of the world. When you think someone won't do something, its probably because of your own issues, not theirs.

Mike Hansan, You can totally agree with a magazine built towards capitalists and their perspectives. I firmly believe the idea that we have voiceover is due to people fighting for it, not because Apple cares about us. They want our money. Nothing more and nothing less. I read somewhere that there are 100,000-250,000 voiceover users in this country alone. At $650 an IPhone, that is over $65,000,000 minimum and $162,500,000 when factoring in the larger number. This is not including app store purchases, accessories, and other countries with populations who use voiceover. We may be a minority, but I am willing to bet that voiceover users total anywhere between $500,000,000-$1,000,000,000 and that may be conservative. Also, that is annually as people buy new iphones, IPads, Macs, IPods, Apple TVs. We will probably buy an apple television when it comes out if it has accessibility features. You might think that Apple is doing this as an altruistic thing, and maybe they are. I prefer to believe that they have a lot of money to gain. Even if its only a few million at a time, it a few more than they would have if they didn't have accessibility features.

Similarly, When I used Sonic, I meant the same thing you did. He was the example used so I used him.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Saturday, July 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Vash,

I'm only taking Tim Cook's words at face value. I'm not taking a media publication's spin on Mr. Cook's words...I'm only basing my conclusions on what Mr. Cook said himself.

I try to believe in the basic goodness of people unless I'm given evidence to suggest otherwise. If Tim Cook says that a return on investment is not Apple's only motivation for making their products accessible ("When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI,"), I have no evidence to suggest that Cook's words are not true. The quote in question was delivered at a shareholder meeting, in response to the National Center for Public Policy Research's request that Apple give an account of their environmental programs--and continue only those programs which were profitable. And lest you think that the quote in question was just spin from a particular publication, it was widely reported in many mainstream and Apple news channels.

According to your line of reasoning, is it possible for companies to both make a profit and do the right thing by consumers? If we extend that logic a little further, why do so many developers implement accessibility? It does take extra work, after all. Should we assume that the only reason developers make their apps accessible is just because they see dollar signs? What about those developers who see a need, either from hearing from VoiceOver users or by another means, and respond just because it's the right thing to do? Or are there no such developers and are the rest of us just delusional?

Mike,

I am not attacking you. I honestly envy your ability to see the good in people first. Unfortunately, I have learned to let people earn their way into my 'good' section.

I believe that many developers take the time to make apps accessible because they know someone who made it important enough for them to do so. This doesn't mean they are good or bad, but as humans are generally creatures of association, it stands to reason that the developers who do try are those who have learned to associate their product with the needs of others they have met.

There are free apps and paid apps. Some people develop apps specifically for the blind; and they charge for the service. Whether right or wrong, I cannot judge as it is a ongoing debate. Usually, charging for something entails having a profit motive of some kind. That could be making enough to keep the service alive, or putting money in their pockets; probably a little of both.

Meanwhile, there are those who create apps, and they are available for free. Usually, this is to gauge their talent as a developer, or even to gain some respect as a developer. When time has passed, that "free" developer will eventually make an app that they can make some money from (try anyway). Again, that does not make them bad in any way. It just signifies the importance of profit in technology.

In all honesty, no one should be disallowed from making profit if they can. We live in a capitalist society and if something is valuable, a person should be able to reep some benefit.

In the case of Apple, I am very grateful for what has happened in terms of technology. My life has changed and I have flourished due to individuals taking the time to make things accessible so that I can focus on the things I feel are important. I only argue that there is never anything wrong with asking for more when needed. It gives people work and gives me more flexibility with my life.

The Seeing Eye is an organization dedicated to the betterment of blind individuals. Some argue that their dogs provide comfort, support, and greater freedom. However, the organization is constantly requesting financial support from those who have the power to do so. Without those funds, their existence would be difficult. It is not charity, but rather a way for them to receive help. When they get it, they can focus on their business.

Likewise, the NFB's resolution is not any less honorable. They have not demanded anything. Instead, they have drafted requests for better accessibility and reasons for why. They have stated that there is incredible value in reaching out to developers. But having this kind of thing in writing helps our cause because it gives companies like Apple more of an incentive to work harder towards making their products even more usable. Moreover, it can provide incentive for them to be able to make even more profit as greater accessibility with apps means more of us will spend the money to have them on our products.

In the end, the profit motive is an essential part of many societies. Whether good or bad, it exists and taking the stance of being for it (to a certain extent, in today's world), I would not mind helping those developers and engineers make money; it can and should be a symbiotic relationship. Because going back to inaccessibility would be a kin to losing a limb.

Submitted by Jordan Gallacher on Sunday, January 10, 2016

The NFB can just plain go away as far as I am concerned. They are still up to their bullyish our way or the highway attitude as always. Even at one of their Centers, it is our way or the highway. I could go on about that for awhile but will say this about it. I had no business in the Braille class since a medical issue has left me with no or very little feeling in my fingers. Also, trying to get help from this organization is basically a waste of time partly because their attorneys have no clue about employment laws or the ADA in my personal opinion. I ended up fighting back against my university without any help from the NFB or ACB, which is not much better, and made things happen to ensure things are going to now be accessible. They cannot tell Apple or any other company what they have to do with the products or services that they provide.