ESPN and Major League Baseball Still Failing the Blind and Visually Impaired

It’s an exciting time to be blind. I can’t believe that I just wrote that sentence, but compared to five, ten, or twenty years ago, technology has really improved the lifestyle for the blind and visually impaired. Four years ago when I could still see a little, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world to ride the subway home from work and be able to access my email on my blackberry. Wow, times have changed a lot in four years. As my vision has deteriorated greatly, technology has improved vastly. Two years ago I had to ditch my blackberry for an Iphone and its Voice Over technology. I was so excited as soon as I took the Iphone out of the box, and heard that voice speaking to me. I had seen the flurry of commercials about all those amazing apps available on the Iphone and couldn’t wait to get started. While it did take some getting use to navigating the Iphone and learning to listen to my emails instead of reading them, I was quickly on my way. Being a big fan of trivia, the first thing I did was buy the Trivial Pursuit app for the Iphone. In a matter of seconds I had it installed. Wow, this is amazing. Then reality set in as I opened Trivial Pursuit on my Iphone,, ran my finger around the screen and heard nothing. What am I doing wrong? I closed the app, and went into my email, and sure enough the phone read me my email. So I went back to the Trivial Pursuit app, and again, it read nothing to me on the screen. This is when I learned that even though the Iphone was the most accessible phone on the market, not all the apps offered in the Itunes store were accessible. Major disappointment. My first year with the Iphone was pretty much just phone calls and emails, but as time went by, something incredible began to happen, more and more apps began working with the voice over technology. First there was Facebook and then Twitter reading my messages and feeds to me. So you could imagine my disappointment that ESPN’s score center and Major League Baseball’s At Bat were completely unaccessible to me. It was 2010 and even a blind guy could get his news on the go, and follow his friends on Facebook and Twitter, so why not ESPN and Major League Baseball? Considering that Major League Baseball makes a point on its website talking about how their website is accessible to the blind and visually impaired, you would think they would do the same with their mobile applications considering that we are living in a mobile world. It is now February 2011 and Spring is around the corner, pitchers and catchers reported over a week ago, and ESPN just broke out their Fantasy Baseball 2011 app for the Iphone. I installed it last night, crossed my fingers that they remembered there are people out there who are blind and visually impaired and play fantasy baseball. I started up the app, and got that old sound of when you run your finger over an app that doesn’t work with voice over. It did offer me the option to sign in to my account, but after that nothing. Today I noticed that Major League Baseball had released its 2011 app, so I updated it on my Iphone, and got what I got in 2010 every time you run your finger over the screen all you hear is the voice over technology saying, “button, button, button.” I do realize that a corporation making its app accessible is not a requirement, but you would think with vision loss being so common these days and the technology being available to them, that they would make use of it. I believe Apple is encouraging their third party providers to make their apps accessible, so it surprises me that two of the biggest and most popular apps ESPN and Major League Baseball are failing so miserably to implement these changes. If Fox Sports can make their app accessible why can’t these two giants do the same. Well, here’s looking to 2012. For those of you who are visually impaired or blind and do use an Iphone here is the best most updated site that I have found that lets you know how accessible an app is with the voice over technology http://www.applevis.com. A truly amazing site.

3 Responses to “ESPN and Major League Baseball Still Failing the Blind and Visually Impaired”

  1. Barbara Fischler Says:

    This blog belongs in a newspaper….perhaps the NY Times or Post. Let others know about this (the few who do not read your blog)

    • blindgator Says:

      Thanks. I sent an email to Major League Baseball, but haven’t heard anything back yet. You would think they would at least respond considering they like to claim how accessible their website is, so we shall see.

  2. Barbara Fischler Says:

    But how about to a newspaper directly????

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