mlb.com Accessibility

Cool accessibility stuff is just pouring in haha! This holds a special place in my heart. Last year, I really wanted to get Gameday audio because then I could listen to radio broadcasts of all the games. I was having major problems on the site and I brought it up on Webaim. someone there forwarded my message to an attorney who is involved with mlb.com accessibility. She started talking with me personally after I had tried to call customer service several times, and they were unable to help. I do have to mention that they actually have Jaws users working right there in the customer service office. Just need a few Voiceover users now. 😉 The attorney ended up pointing me to the accessible player, and I got to listen to radio broadcasts of all my games last season. I remember feeling a warmth in my heart when I went to mlb.com one day and heard a message right at the top of the page, which I assumed was hidden text, written just for screen reader users telling us they were making vast improvements to the site.

I can’t help but feel involved in all of what is discussed in the following e-mail. Not only was I able to use Gameday audio, but I voted for the Allstar Game, and mlb.com was my first ever online purchase with a screen reader.

So I was so excited to get this today, and I received it from that same attorney, who still has my e-mail address, and who must still remember me, which is really cool. About 5 minutes after I got it from her, I also got it on my ACB list. Sweet!

This also means baseball is right around the corner!!! Oh, and Gameday audio is only $14.95, unless they’ve increased the price. I highly recommend it if you’re a baseball fan.

I’m looking forward to checking out the site, which I haven’t done in awhile. Ok, enough outta me, here’s the email:

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Please distribute as appropriate

Pasted into this email is a press release issued today by Major League Baseball about its initiative to improve the accessibility of mlb.com and all 30 team websites for people who are blind or visually impaired. This release, and additional information about the Structured Negotiations that led to this announcement, is available on line at http://lflegal.com . Direct link at http://lflegal.com/2010/02/mlb-press

For immediate release

FANS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS GAIN ENHANCED ACCESS TO MLB.COM

NEW YORK, February 11, 2010 – Baseball fans with visual impairments will benefit from the implementation of functional improvements to MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, and all 30 individual Club sites as a result of a joint collaboration between MLB Advanced Media, LP (MLBAM), the American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind. All three organizations applaud this fan initiative taken by MLBAM.

“MLBAM has undertaken groundbreaking work to make its web sites accessible and has assumed a strong leadership position among sports, media and entertainment properties in doing so,” said Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind. “We certainly urge similar sites to make this level of commitment in following MLBAM’s lead.”

As part of its initiative, MLB.com launched an accessible media center for its MLB.com Gameday Audio™ subscribers, offering features such as volume control, ability to choose the home or away feed and access to archived games. Additionally, MLB.com has ensured that fans with visual impairments can continue to participate in the annual online voting programs associated with the All-Star Game and will be providing an accessibility page on its site detailing information on accessibility, usability tips and customer service resources. As it continues to deliver technological innovations for following baseball games, MLB.com will make additional accessibility enhancements available to fans with visual impairments.

Brian Charlson, a Boston baseball fan and Director of Computer Training Services at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, described how MLB.com’s accessibility efforts have improved his enjoyment of the game: “As a member of the blind community, the kind of changes MLB.com was willing to make on its web sites keeps me coming back for more. It shows how much can be done when people with disabilities find willing partners. For example, with the changes in Gameday Audio, I find myself enjoying switching back and forth between the home and away broadcasters the same way my sighted friends do. And knowing my votes were counted in this year’s All-Star balloting made listening to the game much more meaningful. I’m excited about what MLB.com has done and about its commitment to further improvements.”

MLB.com utilized guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The web content accessibility guidelines are of particular benefit to blind baseball fans who use a screen reader, through which information on a page is read aloud, or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse.

About MLBAM
Established in June 2000 following a unanimous vote by the 30 Major League Baseball club owners to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations, MLB Advanced Media LP (MLBAM) is the interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, www.MLB.com,and each of the 30 individual Club sites to create the most comprehensive Major League Baseball resource on the Internet. MLB.com offers fans the most complete baseball information and interactivity on the web, including up-to-date statistics, game previews and summaries, extensive historical information, online ticket sales, baseball merchandise, authenticated memorabilia and collectibles, fantasy games, live full-game video webcasts and on-demand highlights, live and archived audio broadcasts of every game, Gameday pitch-by-pitch application, around-the-clock hosted and specialty video programming and complete blogging capabilities. MLB.com offers more live events on the Internet than any other website in the world.

About the American Council of the Blind (ACB), Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and the California Council of the Blind (CCB)
The American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country, with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. The Bay State and California Councils are the Massachusetts and California affiliates of the ACB. The ACB, BSCB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. Many members of ACB, BSCB and CCB are baseball fans. More information about the organizations can be found by visiting ACB’s website, BSCB’s website, and CCB’s website.

# # #

Media Contacts

For MLBAM
Matthew Gould
matthew.gould@mlb.com
(212) 485-8959

For ACB, BSCB and CCB

Brian Charlson (Bay State Council of the Blind)
brian.charlson@carroll.org
617-501-5752

Mitch Pomerantz (American Council of the Blind)
mitch.pomerantz@earthlink.net
626-372-5150

Jeff Thom (California Council of the Blind)
ccotb@ccbnet.org
916-995-3967

Lainey Feingold
Law Office of Lainey Feingold
http://lflegal.com/
510.548.5062
LF@LFLegal.com

3 Comments

Filed under ACB, accessibility, advocacy, baseball, cool product, gratitude, Jaws, plugs, screen reader, Voiceover

3 Responses to mlb.com Accessibility

  1. Man I can’t wait for baseball to start. I follow the Jays so the arrival of ball season should make me want to hurl myself from something high, but whether or not they’re crappy or playoff bound, it means summer, and summer brings the 3 B’s. Baseball, balcony and beverages.

    I’ve never tried Gameday Audio before, perhaps I should. I’ve always heard pretty good things about it, and now that they’re showing that they give a damn about access that might be the extra push that’ll make me part with some cash.

  2. Ro

    They were caring last season too. Their “lite” player is super easy. One thing I noticed is that the volume is different for all the stations, which is kind of a pain. But I think it’s a radio station issue not an mlb issue. The commercials on some of the broadcats just about blow out your ear drums if you’re using headphones. I love listening to the radio broadcasts in all these different areas though, because you get local commercials and things. I listened to the Jays announcers a few times if they were playing teams I hate and didn’t want to listen to their people haha!

  3. The Jays have great announcers, much love to Jerry and Alan. It’s too bad you never got to hear Tom cheek, he was the man. He called Jays games from the very first one they ever played up until 2004. He did over 4000 consecutive games. He died of cancer in 20. Man I miss that guy.

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