Accessibility in the News—03/09/17.
The big news that hit the wires this week was that of University of California at Berkeley’s decision to pull down inaccessible online course materials from the public web. That event set in motion a flurry of activity from other higher education institutions in the days following. Keep and eye on next week’s edition to sample their approaches to addressing inaccessible higher ed online content.
Primary and secondary education also had opportunities to address equal access issues for people with disabilities: The U.S. government website on special education for children with disabilities is seeking public comment on its revamp. Back in higher ed, one educational technologist is striving to bake in accessibility and universal design at the course development stage, rather than bolting it on to inaccessible course content.
But of course, digital information access affects other publicly funded enterprises, too, and local, state, and federal government all have accessibility news coverage this week.
On the private sector side, credit unions and food services are becoming more aware of the needs of people with disabilities and online accessibility implementation, either through litigation or through calls from industry publications.
Needs serve as catalysts for innovation, and this issue doesn’t lack in that area. Microsoft continues its pursuit of developing accessible consumer technologies. A young boy sees color for the first time thanks to special lenses. An athletic fabric company partners with a nonprofit and a design school to highlight the need for apparel that climbers with disabilities can use more effectively. In Toronto, industry and entrepreneurs will soon converge at an annual conference focused on developing technologies that are changing the lives of people with disabilities. And there’s more ahead, including stories on new apps and unlocking people’s talents in music.
Have a favorite article? We’d love to hear your comments on what struck a chord or got you thinking. Just leave a reply at the end of this page.
AITN Quote of the Week
There are currently 56.7 million—or nearly one in five Americans—who live with some form of disability. One third of the total U.S. workforce are also beginning to experience age-related disabilities—“a group that may number 115 million by 2020.”
U.S. Census Bureau
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Campus Announces Restriction of Public Access to Educational Content
3/2 | Source: The Daily Californian | Digital Accessibility, Higher Education, DOJ, ADA | California
UC Berkeley announced Wednesday that it would restrict public access to existing educational content after a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation concluded that many of the video captions did not meet standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Campus will instead invest in developing new online content with necessary accessibility features, according to campus spokesperson Roqua Montez. Montez said that because of limited viewership of more than 20,000 course capture videos and a projected cost of at least $1 million for captioning, campus decided not to revamp the videos deemed inaccessible.
“On average, the older videos were watched for less than 8 minutes,” Montez said. “(It) doesn’t make sense to go back and do that, given the budget climate we are in. We had to weigh that as a factor.”…
New AODA Requirements Underscore Maintenance
3/2 | Source: Remi Network | AODA, Facilities | Ontario, Canada
With 2017 underway, Ontario-based companies must now enact specific requirements to ensure accessibility for employees and customers. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) previously rolled out a number of policies under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), and many facilities have yet to comply. But as of January 1, certain organizations must implement another round of requirements related to public spaces, public information and employment practices.
With all this in mind, it’s important to consider how changes affect facilities, as well as the maintenance and cleaning companies who service them. AODA legislation passed in 2005, along with the Ontario Building Code (OBC), has pushed more facilities to accommodate disabilities; however, such achievements are meaningless if the environment is obstructed. Functionality can become lost if there is little training and maintenance supervision…
Microsoft Expands Accessibility Website, Launches KNFB Reader for the Blind
3/3 | Source: OnMSFT | Innovation, Tech, Windows, Blindness/Visual Impairment | United States
In a new blog post, Microsoft is taking a look back to the past and to the future of accessibility at Microsoft. New additions include the KNFB Reader app for Windows 10 as well as an expanded Microsoft Accessibility website.
The KNFB Reader for Windows 10 was created by Microsoft in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind and Sensotec. It helps blind people be able to read documents by taking pictures of documents, and converts the image to text that can be read aloud by a voice assistant (like Cortana) or converted to Braille, when using a special screen reader…
Boy Cries as He Sees Color for the First Time
3/3 | Source: CNN | Color Blindness, Innovation | Iowa
10-year-old Cayson Irlbeck was born colorblind but now can see certain colors for the first time. Video courtesy of KCCI and the Irlbeck family…
Georgia Aims to Makes Its Websites Accessible for All
3/3 | Source: WABE | Government, Digital Accessibility, Section 508 | Georgia
One in every eight Georgians – more than 12 percent – identifies as having a disability. Whether it’s a physical or learning disability, it can be difficult for those people trying to access the internet. While a 1998 law known as Section 508 requires the federal government to make information technology accessible for everyone on all platforms, states don’t have the same legal responsibility.
Despite that, developers with the state of Georgia have been redesigning its websites to make it a little easier for people with disabilities to access information.
“States at this point are not really required to be accessible or to meet any standard like the federal websites are,” said Nikhil Deshpande, director of GeorgiaGov Interactiv, which oversees Georgia’s website and publishing platforms. “But this is something within Georgia, we decided we wanted to do.”…
Beyond Alzheimer’s: 7 Types of Dementia Everyone Needs to Know About
3/5 | Source: CheatSheet | Cognitive Disability, Aging
Even though most people would prefer not to think about death, dementia’s prevalence is all but forcing us to ponder our mortality sooner than we’d like. Despite recent research suggesting cases of cognitive decline are actually decreasing, there are still plenty of scientific minds who think we could be on the cusp of a serious problem. One study went so far as to suggest we’ll see 13.8 million cases of dementia in the U.S. by 2050, which is nearly a three-fold increase.
One of the reasons some medical professionals think we could see such a dramatic rise is because the baby boomers, who make up a substantial portion of the population, have begun to reach the age when the risk for dementia really starts to increase. And contrary to what you may think, Alzheimer’s disease isn’t the only type of cognitive decline out there.
This isn’t meant to be a scare tactic, just a call for more education. The more informed we all are, the sooner we can start having important end-of-life discussions with our loved ones. Consider this your introductory course…
People with Disabilities Now Have Their Own Relevant Version of Yelp
3/6 | Source: Mashable | Digital Accessibility, Innovation, Social Media | Melbourne, Australia
Sites like Yelp give us options when it comes to the restaurants we visit or the doctors we see, but that choice hasn’t been equally shared. Founded by two women in Melbourne, Australia, Clickability is an online directory that allows local disability care and support options to be listed, rated and reviewed.
Dubbed a “TripAdvisor for disability support services,” the concept may sound simple enough, but Jenna Moffat and Beecher Kelk’s plan is ambitious: The pair hope to make customers out of those with disabilities — empowering them to pick and choose what works for them, rather than simply having to accept what’s on offer…
Decoding ADA + Accessible Content
3/7 | Source: The Content Runway | Digital Accessibility, E-Commerce, UX, ADA | United States
In this first installment of a two-part series, the importance of website accessibility and the formulation of regulation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it relates to e-commerce are discussed. In part two, the discussion extends to options for improving website accessibility without compromising the essence of e-commerce design — the customer experience.
E-commerce used to be a simple proposition: an extension of brick-and-mortar stores online that offered internet adventurers the opportunity to buy goods and services from the comfort of their computer screen…
Prepare Now for Upcoming Website Accessibility Mandates
3/7 | Source: GCN | Government, Digital Accessibility, ADA, DOJ, WCAG | United States
Is your local government website designed and organized in a way that makes finding information easy or even possible for citizens with visual, auditory, cognitive or other disabilities?
Federal mandates calling to remove barriers that prevent interaction with or access to websites by people with disabilities are a growing concern for government agencies. New rules on Americans with Disabilities Act website compliance will be issued in 2018, and existing guidelines — such as ADA, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Section 508 — increasingly are being enforced.
Yet, in our third annual North America-wide study, we found that nearly 9 out of 10 (87 percent) of the 435 municipal and county government respondents said they have moderate, weak or no knowledge of federal web accessibility requirements. Despite nearly 20 years of laws governing digital accessibility, this is only a 2 percent improvement over last year…
‘Access Moves’: How One Instructor Seeks Accessibility
3/7 | Source: Inside Higher ED | Higher Education, Online Learning, Digital Accessibility | United States
How can an instructor design an online course so as many students as possible can benefit from it?
Jessie Male is about to find out. Male, 33, is a Ph.D. student in English at Ohio State University, and she’s preparing to teach her first online course. But first, she has to create it.
The course in question is an introductory disability studies course, of which she is teaching a version (English 2277: Introduction to Disability Studies) on campus this semester. Male met with an educational technologist in her department Feb. 23 to discuss the work required to offer the course online…
Web Accessibility: Building an Inclusive IR Website
3/7 | Source: Q4 Blog | Digital Accessibility, Industry | United States
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 56.7 million – or nearly one in five Americans – who live with some form of disability. One third of the total U.S. workforce are also beginning to experience age-related disabilities — “a group that may number 115 million by 2020.”
When we think of accessibility for people with disabilities, we often think of physical spaces such as public buildings, offices, or restaurants; however, the importance of an accessible website is often forgotten. Technology continues to evolve and become more powerful and complex, but, even so, people with disabilities still face difficulties navigating the web.
Accessible websites are coded in a way that accommodates adaptive or assistive technologies — such as voice recognition programs, screen readers and screen enlargement applications — ensuring that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to the web easily and with little limitations. Here are some of the key best practices to ensuring your website is accessible to people with disabilities…
Polartec Joins Non-Profits to Tackle Climbing Accessibility
3/7 | Source: SGB Media | Innovation, Nonprofit, Apparel, Sports/Athletics | United States
Polartec teamed up with non-profit partners Open Style Lab and Paradox Sports to produce a short documentary film addressing the need for inclusive apparel design and access to climbing for people of all abilities. Open Style Lab, through a 10-week summer program, a class at Parsons School of Design and various research projects, increases awareness about the need for accessible clothing, and equips its community to develop and distribute clothing designs and technologies that will increase clothing accessibility.
Founded in 2007, Paradox Sports enriches lives through adaptive climbing opportunities. Recognizing that climbing in general often requires adaptive equipment regardless of ability, Paradox Sports wrote the book on adaptive climbing and organizes climbing outings to engage people with disabilities and help them realize their capabilities…
Music Transformed this Young Man with Autism. Now He Works to Unlock Talent in Others.
3/7 | Source: Circa | Personal Account, Autism, Blindness/Visual Impairment | California
Rex Lewis-Clack was born with autism and blindness, but his early discovery of piano changed his life. Now, he’s helping others who share the same struggles. His charity Rex and Friends brings disabled musicians together to find their unique voice and gives them opportunities to perform.
At seven years old, Rex was already performing around the world, but often felt isolated. Now in his 20s, his performance group has created exciting new friendships with other disabled musicians who also use music as a way to connect…
Web Accessibility? It’s Not So Scary.
3/7 | Source: CU Insight | Intro to Accessibility, Digital Accessibility, Credit Unions | United States
Accessibility is on everyone’s mind lately — we’ve fielded a lot of questions recently from our credit union clients about website accessibility and ADA compliance. It’s a big and technical topic, but where do you start getting a handle on it?
Accessibility is not a “yes” or “no” question, a switch you flip, or a checkbox you tick off on a form. It’s a process and a set of priorities, and it’s evaluated in many different ways. The most important thing to remember is that a more accessible website is better for everyone, not just people with disabilities. It’s sort of like automatic doors, ramps, or accessible bathroom stalls — they’re actually more usable for everyone, not just people in wheelchairs. Much of the process of making a website more accessible means making your site more understandable to the software or machines people might be using to help them navigate the web. Guess what? A better organized, more meaningful site works better for every user — and it’s more understandable to search engines…
ASID Launches Redesigned and Enhanced Websites
3/8 | Source: Home Furnishings Business | Digital Accessibility, Interior Design | United States
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has unveiled a complete redesign and enhancement of its websites, putting its mission of “Design Impacts Lives” front and center. The responsive national site is now available at www.asid.org. The enhanced ASID platform will provide an outlet to communicate the impact of design on the human experience and help define the role of interior designers at both the national and local levels.
The goal of the websites is to offer valuable information for consumers, ASID members, industry representatives, and the design community at large. The websites, developed by Orases and designed by Think Baseline, are user-centric and offer clear navigation on multiple platforms and devices. The sections include career guidance, chapter and national news, events, and the latest ASID research. Each of the 47 local ASID chapter websites have been updated to allow for uniformity and to easily share information across the Society…
Page-Load Speeds, Accessibility Issues Hamper Federal Website Experience, ITIF Says
3/8 | Source: Fed Scoop | Digital Accessibility, Government, UX | United States
Many of the federal government’s most popular websites aren’t fast enough, aren’t tailored properly for mobile devices and present accessibility problems for users with disabilities, according to a report released Wednesday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
The report analyzed just shy of 300 of the government’s most popular websites using four criteria: security, speed, mobile friendliness and accessibility. And 92 percent of those websites failed to perform well in at least one of seven benchmarks taken during the review.
“Despite years of progress in digital government, a striking number of federal websites do not even meet many of the U.S. government’s own requirements, let alone private-sector best practices,” said Alan McQuinn, ITIF research analyst and the report’s lead author, in a statement. “Considering that many constituents rely on federal websites to interact with government, it is incumbent upon the new administration, supported by Congress, to make websites more convenient, accessible, and secure.”…
Omaha Steaks among Businesses Facing Lawsuits Claiming Their Websites Don’t Comply with Disabilities Act
3/8 | Source: Omaha | Digital Accessibility, Food Service, Lawsuits/Litigation | Nebraska
Legal experts are calling it the next frontier when it comes to business compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act: the Internet.
Lawsuits are proliferating against business websites — civil suits citing lack of compliance with the law requiring companies to not discriminate against people with disabilities. In brick-and-mortar cases such as those involving stores, restaurants and workplaces, the objection is often over restroom ramps and parking spaces.
But when it comes to the Internet, it is usually a matter of visual aspects. This month, Omaha Steaks was sued by a nonprofit advocacy group that alleges the company’s website isn’t compatible with screen-reading software that converts text to audio, the method by which blind and visually impaired people navigate the Internet…
Education Department Seeks Comment on Revised IDEA Website
3/9 | Source: Education Week | K-12 Education, Government, Politics, IDEA, DOE | Washington, D.C.
It was here, then it was gone, now it is back again—and the Education Department wants to make it better.
Idea.ed.gov, the Education Department’s official repository of special education information, has not been thoroughly revamped since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized in 2004. But even though the site was basic by current Internet standards, it was still used by many—when server issues took the special education site offline for several weeks earlier this year, the outage caused a stir among parents, advocates, and ultimately members of Congress.
When the site was brought back up, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she planned to work with stakeholders to build a new and improved portal. To that end, the Education Department is seeking comments on what people would want to see in a better special education website.
Making India Accessible for Differently-Abled
3/9 | Source: The Sentinel | Government, Accessibility, International Day of Persons with Diabilities | India
Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The aim of the campaign is to make a barrier-free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December, 2015.
The campaign is based on the principles of the Social Model of Disability, that disability is caused by the way society is organised, and not the person’s limitations and impairments. The physical, social, structural and attitudinal barriers prevent people with disabilities from participating equally in socio-cultural and economic activities. A barrier-free environment facilitates equal participation in all the activities and promotes an independent and dignified way of life. The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives…
Helping Innovators Improve Lives of People with Disabilities
3/9 | Source: Yahoo Finance | Innovation, Accessibility Competition, Tech | Ontario, Canada
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is thrilled to announce that applications for the third annual Accessibility Innovation Showcase (AIS) and the Accessibility Tech Pitch Competition are now open.
In partnership with the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS) and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO), the AIS has become a cornerstone of OCE’s annual Discovery Conference, which runs May 15-16, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The AIS brings together industry and entrepreneurs, showcasing and promoting groundbreaking technologies that are changing the lives of people with disabilities.
“The Accessibility Innovation Showcase has become one of the most popular features of the OCE Discovery Conference each year,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO. “While improving the lives of people with disabilities, technologies that start as assistive devices can also find wider applications, such as speech-to-text, making Discovery an exciting space for the convergence of innovative technology and the broader demands of the marketplace.”…
Accessibility Information and Blogs
- CSUN 2017 Assistive Technology Conference Backchannel
- The Touch of Genius Prize: Recognizing Braille Innovation
- Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24) – Call for presentations
- 2017 Edition of Front-end Development Guide
- Curated Tweets from CSUN 2017 Assistive Technology Conference
- Disability Accommodation Cost Guides
- Personal Finance Guide for People with Disabilities
- 8 Steps for Learning Disabled Students Who Want to Go to College
- 34 Great Jobs for People with Disabilities
- Travel Tips for Workers with Disabilities
- The Guide to Securing Life-long Accommodations for Adult Children With Special Needs
- Types of Service Dogs
- How Braille Was Invented
- U.S. Department of Education
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Florida State University
- William S. Hein
Accessibility Products and Announcements
- #1 Entering the ‘real world’ with a disability (Michael – Mentee, Cohort 1)
- Airliner enables WCAG 2.0 AAA Compliance with RightNow Service Cloud Customer Portal Migration
- Accessibility: Improving The UX For Color Blind Users
A new Google tool actually lets you search videos for specific objects
- Q2 Platform Delivers Enhanced Accessibility for People with Disabilities
- IBM’s Verified Accessibility Samples (Va11yS)
- ADA Compliance Contributes to eSchoolView’s Growth
Additional Accessibility Information
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