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RE: Access by the Blind to Touch-Screen Devices

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Access Security: 

RE: Access by the Blind to Touch-Screen Devices

WHEREAS, touch-screen devices, including point-of-sale terminals, self-service check-in and check-out visual display units, lottery machines, ticketing machines, and other kiosk-type devices present opportunities for speedy transactions, promise abbreviated wait times, and facilitate the growing cashless society; and

WHEREAS, touch-screen technology is currently not accessible to the blind because it does not support any method permitting use of nonvisual techniques for entering and acquiring the necessary information needed for the completion of a transaction; and

WHEREAS, blind people cannot access these services and must use employee assistance to complete actions that require touch-screen technology, which becomes increasingly difficult because facilities use these devices to perform jobs that once required human intervention, diminishing the need for staff; and

WHEREAS, blind people could easily access these individualized services independently if at the time of development manufacturers designed touch screens to permit nonvisual access; and

WHEREAS, if, as predicted, this trend of individualized electronic check-in/check-out continues in airports, convenience and retail stores, hotels, and other public facilities, blind people will find it more difficult or even impossible to change industry practices, resulting in many services becoming inaccessible without personal assistance; and

WHEREAS, it is critically important for manufacturers and purchasers of touch-screen point-of-sale devices to work with the NFB to establish access for the blind, but these groups have mostly been unwilling to enter into dialogue, compelling us to pursue legal means to motivate manufacturers and purchasers to embrace a workable solution because the blind have the same right to public facilities as our sighted peers: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in Convention assembled this eleventh day of September, 2005, in the City of Phoenix, Arizona, that this organization urge states to enact legislation to promote accessibility for the blind to touch-screen devices installed in public places; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that the manufacturers and purchasers of non-accessible touch-screen devices move forward with development of technology both to manufacture new and to modify existing devices that are accessible to both the blind and sighted public, and that we offer our vast knowledge of what blind people need in order to achieve complete access to touch-screen technology and the devices that use it.

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