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Amazon go web accessible

Monday, 2 April 2007 — by

an image of the Amazon.com logoMotivation is a wonderful thing. Some find motivation within. Others without. Those looking without might often find themselves thrust into the limelight by possible legal action, much like Target.com, for example.

And so it goes that Amazon.com is making all of the right noises, if pre-emptive of any possible legal action, which wouldn’t do their brand any good whatsoever:

“Amazon.com, the leading online retailer, and the National Federation of the Blind have entered into a cooperation agreement. Amazon.com will make its Web site and e-commerce platform fully accessible to the blind in collaboration with the Access Technology staff of the [National Federation of the Blind].”

However, I do find myself agreeing with Bruce Lawson over at Web Standards, who is pleased, but maybe not totally won over with what could be argued as a half-hearted stab at proper and full web accessibility by the thus-far less-than-amazing Amazon.com:

“That’s very good news, but so far it receives only two cheers from me and my jacuzzi full of Accessibility Task Force colleagues.

What would raise the third cheer?

We urge Amazon to enhance their web accessiblity to all people with disabilities, not just blind people, and to use valid, semantic HTML to achieve it.”

And to show some measure magnanimity, he even offers to help in the full-fat transition to web standards Nirvana.

Amazon.com get accessible

It’s interesting then that Amazon has chosen to make this move. I suppose the threat of a court room tussle could have been their external motivator, but I suspect it was the allure of the considerable spend that the collective disabled minorities bring to the on-line world:

“On the 8th of March this year, the BSI (British Standards Institute) put in a helping hand towards the polite shove with the memorably entitled: ‘Guide for good practice in commissioning accessible websites.’ In this document, they point out:

‘The Family Resources Survey found that there are almost 10 million disabled people in the UK with a combined spending power in the region of 80 billion pounds per annum.’”

Not exactly loose change, is it? And that’s just a projection for Britain. It’s anyone’s guess what that figure is for the whole of Europe. And then there’s the whole of the USA to factor in, too!

So the motivation? A carat, 24 carats to be precise.

Rather than running from the legal eagles, Amazon.com could be chasing the money. Who can blame them?

And with a bunch of carats like that hanging in front of your nose, even a blind man on a donkey couldn’t miss that one…

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