The Foundation Fighting Blindness is committed to providing communications that are accessible to the widest possible audience. With this goal in mind, our website is designed to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standards, an international standard that exceeds United States Federal Section accessibility 508 standards. These standards are intended for website developers and are necessarily technical in nature, but a digest version of the Guideline’s Principles and Standards is provided below. The full guidelines are available at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 website.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness has set a goal of best personal and professional standards for accessibility for all of its constituents. This document contains suggestions for ensuring that whether meeting in person, via telephone or other virtual method, or in written communications, the Foundation meets the goal of being fully accessible to all constituents, and sets an example for most inclusive practices.
The best approach in any situation is to respect the dignity and independence of a person with a disability.
A few basic reminders:
- Do not touch the person you are seeking to assist without first asking their permission to do so. While this may seem like a natural reaction, it can be invasive of personal space, and frightening to a person with vision loss. Similarly, do not touch or redirect a cane in use. Touch preference can vary from person to person and situation to situation.
- Do not handle or distract a service animal. Ensure that all attending with service animals are informed about relief areas and access to water.
- The best approach, regardless of whether you are meeting in person or virtually is to ask: “How may I best assist you?” It is important to listen and respond appropriately to the answer provided. If your assistance is not required, it is important to allow the person with a disability to control their own actions, unless there is unavoidable severe danger they cannot anticipate and avoid.
- Ensure that all written or visual content is presented in alternate digital or audio described format. This means that slide presentations should be avoided, or if used, digital access should be provided with sufficient time for recipients to consume the content using their preferred method. If regular mail is used, for any form of written communication, including ‘meeting books’, make sure that fully digital or audio alternatives are distributed in advance of the meeting to allow for fully adaptive use. If video presentations are used, captioning and audio description must be included.
- Assume and present in a format that meets our accessibility standards for all participants, do not single one or a group of people out based on their needs.
- Outside facilitators or speakers should provide any materials ahead of time and be made aware of and adhere to our accessibility standards.
- Participants should be cautioned to avoid dialogue that requires reference to a particular page, paragraph or statement in written materials. Instead, the speaker should paraphrase the relevant information, so that everyone is aware of the specific language referred to.
- Whenever speaking in a meeting ensure you are using proper annunciation, speaking at an appropriate pace and speaking into the telephone or microphone directly. Ensure everyone speaks directly into the microphone in order to be heard clearly.
- Include image descriptions and alt-text on all materials and posts. Utilize industry recommendations for font type and size, as well as contrast. Avoid using italics or bolding for emphasis when possible, unless also noting “emphasis added”. A good resource for contrast is WebAIM.
- Accommodate specific requests for accessibility — including ASL interpreters, CART reporting, proximity to speakers or screens.
- Always announce participation in a meeting by description, include name and pronoun. For telephonic meetings, including virtual environments, everyone should be reminded to begin their participation, every time, by stating their name.
- In-person meetings should begin by a description of the emergency exits, restroom and elevator locations, structural hazards such as stairs, reminders of amenities, and description about how to locate a sighted guide. Any directions provided should be detailed such as “make a right turn in 15 feet”, etc.
- When possible, if you need to leave the room or call, please be sure attendees are aware of your departure.
- Provide individual water bottles, rather than pitchers of liquids that need to be poured and are easily spilled.
- Ensure sufficient electrical outlets to allow for adaptive technology use. Keep chairs pushed close to tables.
- Avoid use of low lighting or ‘mood’ accessories that may provide challenges in moving throughout meeting rooms.
- Ensure adequate space between tables, chairs and in hallways to accommodate for persons using wheelchairs, canes and service animals. Discourage use of benches, temporary walls and aisle barriers in exhibition halls. At the beginning of a live meeting, remind guests to push in chairs when not at the table and have a designated area where luggage can be placed in order to avoid a trip hazard for attendees.
- For webinars, provide very clear directions as to where buttons are located or where items are on the screen, for example the mute button. This includes mentioning any keyboard shortcuts that are applicable. If possible, provide the one-click phone number for quick access to join meetings.
- When using virtual meeting software such as Microsoft Teams, do not have a bright light behind you. Have the light facing you so that your image is clearer to viewers. Keep contrast sensitivity and low lighting in mind for those who have low vision.
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Corporate Accessibility Reference
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We understand different needs
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Sprint Accessibility offers communication products and services to eliminate communication barriers for customers who are Deaf, DeafBlind, have a hearing or vision loss, and cognitive, speech or mobility disabilities.
Through innovation and a desire to make communication access available to all people, we have expanded our accessibility solutions to include each of the following and we are not stopping there, we work to anticipate the future needs of our customers and have already begun working on next generation solutions today – Sprint Accessibility has communication solutions for today, tomorrow, and the future.
We want to make sure that each of our customers gets the very most from their Verizon service. That’s why we’ve designed several assistive products and features to help meet your needs. Whether you’re connecting with work, enjoying some entertainment or staying in touch with friends and family, we want it to be an easy and satisfying experience.
TV is universal. Access should be as well.
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