Restricted Access Board

Fee Based Distribution

The U.S. Access Board is at the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stage with 10 new standards, including the 508 refresh, and they are proposing to make some of the new standards incorporated by reference available only by fee and with distribution restrictions. If some of the documents we need to refer to are only available for a fee it will affect us negatively. For those earning less, the impact will be greater.

Comment by Public Resource

David Halperin and Carl Melamud of Public.Resource.Org have written an excellent comment on this aspect of the proceedings.

This issue was brought to my attention this evening by my colleague Sina Bahram who co-signed the comment.

Restricted Distribution

I have been using Section 508 guidelines, covering web accessibility, in my accessible user experience practice since 1999 and I know that the refresh of Section 508 is long overdue so I’m all for getting this information published, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

More onerous than the fee structure, the restrictions placed on open sharing of those documents will have a very chilling effect on my ability to debate the meaning of those documents which is the essence of what we do when attempting to apply the standards.

No matter how they are written, it’s the interpretation of the standards in the fast paced world of accessibility practice that matters. If we can’t freely share and debate the information we will be unable to practice effectively.

I am glossing over some details because it is late and I’m typing this on my phone. Fortunately, the comment referenced above is very thorough and explains the situation very well.

Action Required

I have written to the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) which has a great interest in open and free access to legal information like this. If you can think of organizations like AALL and can spare a few minutes to alert them to this situation, or you can make a comment about it on the Access Board site, please do.

Braille Business Cards

For many years I resisted having business cards. When asked, I’d say “I don’t do analog” and the moment passed in laughter. Now I find I need business cards. I most certainly wanted Braille on my business cards. I care deeply about accessibility, so my business card will be accessible. I set out to find out about Braille business cards.

There are two main ways to get Braille on your business cards. Stick-on labels are the easiest. Most printers offering Braille will make them for you. The other way is for the printer to emboss the Braille directly on your card. Labels only require that you place the order, embossing requires that you send your cards to be embossed. So labels take the least amount of steps and planning.

I decided that I had the time for embossing. There are a number of businesses offering this service. I got some recommendations from Twitter. A number of people chimed in: @Acuity_Design, @clifftyll@Accessible_jobs and a few others.

Sam J @mixolydian recommended Access-USA where they charge $65.95 for 500 cards. Also recommended by @johnfoliot is T-Base Communications which charges $59.95 for 500 cards.  Both of these services offer to take your existing cards and emboss them. Not included in the price is the cost of printing the cards, shipping the cards to them, and shipping the cards back to me.

I’m starting fresh with new cards, so I need printing and embossing. I looked for another solution and found Morning Print located in Irvine, California. They do both printing and Braille finishing for $45.94 for 200 cards including shipping and tax. They use UV activated clear ink for the Braille which is different from the true embossing offered by other companies. The resulting price is about the same for all three companies, but Morning Print offered me one-stop service. I’m waiting to feel the results.