Accessibility in the News—10/13/16
In this issue of Accessibility in the News (AITN), we have media coverage of several innovations (a shirt that vibrates music, software advances, unique promotional events for accessibility awareness), calls for more accessible websites , apps, and browsers (for legislative, user-focused, and online search reasons), venues that are less than accessible for their patrons, as well as a list of cities that are most the most disability-friendly.
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Smart shirt for deaf people translates music into motion
9/30 | Source: Springwise
Germany’s Junge Symphoniker Hamburg orchestra collaborated with wearable technology experts CuteCircuit to create the Sound Shirt. Wirelessly translating classical music into vibrations, the shirt lets deaf people feel what the orchestra plays. The Sound Shirt software interprets eight types of instrumental sound, including that of the double bass, cello, horns and large percussion, as data. The data is then sent wirelessly to the shirt, where 16 micro actuators vibrate according to the intensity of the music. The orchestra is currently accepting expressions of interest from anyone interested in wearing a Sound Shirt to attend a Symphoniker concert…
‘It’s cheaper, democratic and what users want’: Why councils need to think about accessibility
10/06 | Source: Public Technology
The Royal National Institute of Blind People has a challenge for local authorities: to submit their apps and digital services for accessibility accreditation by the charity. And, if their services or apps aren’t accessible, the RNIB will help them reach that goal. Some businesses already have the charity’s accessibility quality assurance mark for their digital products. For instance, this summer, NatWest’s banking app became the first in the banking sector to be ‘RNIB Approved’. NatWest used existing iPhone and Android technology, but broke new ground by making 160 adjustments – including allowing text on to be read out loud to the user – to support its 10,000 customers who have some form of visual impairment…
Civil rights complaint filed against WRPS for accessible website
10/06 | Source: Daily Tribune
The Wisconsin Rapids Public School District is working to resolve a federal civil rights complaint that alleged the district’s website was not adequately accessible to people with disabilities. In April, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights notified Superintendent Colleen Dickmann that a complaint had been filed against the district. The complaint alleged that portions of the district’s website were not accessible to people with disabilities, including those with vision, hearing, reading and physical impairments, according to a letter the Education Department sent to Dickmann…
3 Website Fundamentals You Need for Better Search Engine Optimization
10/06 | Source: The Huffington Post
Search engine optimization (SEO) means different things to different people. SEO is a combination of content, technical fundamentals, user experience and helping Google help you. When we help businesses and organizations with their SEO, we take a technical approach, helping them better implement fundamentals that Google and other major search engines recommend for a great user experience. We’ve focused a lot of on accessibility recently, working to make more of the websites we develop inclusive for all users. Many of the fundamentals that are implemented when a site is accessible are cross-beneficial for SEO…
Microsoft wants to make it easier for organizations to better support accessibility initiatives
10/07 | Source: WinBeta
Microsoft continues to make strides in bringing its initiatives in accessibility to the forefront for customers using its various software services. Just last week during Microsoft’s Ignite conference, the company announced and showcased several solutions that took aim at empowering IT professionals to push accessibility options to help change how their clients and employees interact with the software around them. Without having to re-watch the entire weeks’ worth of Office announcements to hand pick the accessibility features or references, the Office team collected the high points and gathered them into a neatly accessible (pun intended) blog post…
Empowering IT professionals to advance accessibility initiatives
10/07 | Source: Office Blogs
Last week, Microsoft hosted the Ignite conference and showcased our latest solutions and innovations to over 20,000 IT professionals seeking to power digital transformation in their organizations. As part of this digital transformation, we partnered with IT professionals to identify ways organizations can advance accessibility initiatives and create more digitally inclusive working environments. At sessions at Ignite focused on accessibility, we invited accessibility experts to share their real-world experiences, challenges and strategies for making progress in this area with others. We also invited Office 365 product managers to share details about our approach to accessibility and showcase productivity experiences that offer enhanced usability to people with disabilities. Additionally, we discussed enhancements launching in the coming months that will make authoring accessible content easier for everyone including…
The accessibility of Google Chrome
10/10 | Source: Access iQ
Google Chrome has taken a striking lead in popularity, but is this reflective of how people with disabilities view the browser? Web Browsers are responsible for rendering websites in the best way they can, in both presentation and functionality. Most common browsers nowadays often achieve the same functionality and look of a webpage, even if a browser may have a very different backend than another. However, Assistive Technology (AT) such as screen readers, magnifiers and high contrast modes, add another layer of complexity in how a browser presents a webpage, and this can lead to some significant differences for people with disabilities. The browser choice for an everyday user is often a trivial one. Due to its lightning fast speeds, Google Chrome has become the most popular screen reader currently available, to such an extent that Chrome has a 56.2% market share lead over the next most popular web browser, Mozilla Firefox. Many of Media Access Australia’s clients ask specifically for Google Chrome to be included in website accessibility audits since the browser is so popular, which is very understandable due to its strong lead…
Couple has issues with Desert Trip accessibility
10/10 | Source: KESQ
The first weekend of Desert Trip is in the books. While many rock and roll fans left the concert feeling happy and strolling down memory lane, one couple said their experience left a lot to be desired. Jerry and Anna Alcorn wanted to see the Rolling Stones. Jerry lost use of his legs three years ago. He said he was excited to read about how accommodating the venue would be.
“From their website it showed that they had ADA pathways, raised platforms, special transportation from shuttles into the venue. For somebody who’s local I thought ‘Hey I can enjoy a local event’,” Alcorn said. But, that’s not what they said happened.
“From the beginning when I got there I got dropped off about a quarter of a mile from the entrance in grass and in dirt. And the best they could tell me was to take the path that the horses use that was completely sand. I was wheeling myself in sand,” Alcorn said…
Toronto Blue Jays’ lack of accessible seats online discriminatory: advocate
10/10 | Source: Metro News
A lawyer is crying foul about the Blue Jays’ ticket sales, complaining to the province’s Human Rights Tribunal that the club — unlike the city’s other pro teams — won’t let him buy handicapped seats online. People who need accessible seating can’t buy it via the ballclub’s website or Ticketmaster’s but instead must do so via phone, and Andrew Sprague, who identifies himself as an “experienced accessibility advocate,” says that’s discriminatory.
Sprague sent a copy of the complaint to Torstar News Service. “It is shocking and appalling that the (Jays) treat persons with disabilities inferiorly to persons without disabilities,” it reads…
Blitab Braille Tablet for the Blind – Is it needed?
10/11 | Source: mHealthTalk
As someone who has promoted the Universal Design concept for decades, I was taken back by a Futurism video I saw on the Blitab braille tablet. It is billed as “The World’s First Tablet for the Blind”, but that’s not true, and it’s arguably not nearly the best either. That title, in my view, goes to the Apple iPad with all of its accessibility features, but more on that later. This short article explains my concerns with the Blitab product and the company developing it, because they don’t seem to understand their market or target user. I urge any of my blind friends to challenge me on this assertion in the comments below…
Lee Henson Access Mizzou Awards honor those working to create a more accessible MU
10/11 | Source: The Maneater
Dozens of members of the MU community filled the Great Room in the Reynolds Alumni Center on Oct. 10 to celebrate the Lee Henson Access Mizzou Award Ceremony. Named after the man who created the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator position at MU, the Lee Henson award was created in 2014 by the Chancellor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities to honor those working to make MU a more accessible campus…
Student Program Board’s Wheelchair Basketball raises accessibility awareness
10/11 | Source: The Oakland Post
Looking for a spin on the traditional basketball game? On Oct. 17, a Wheelchair Basketball tournament will take place from 4-9 p.m. in the University Recreation and Wellness Center’s three-court gym. There will also be a representative from the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Foundation (RIM Foundation), a non-profit that works with the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan hospital to raise money for research and healthcare programs and initiatives, according to its website. RIM Foundation also works with other organizations, all to develop programs and initiatives that will better the health and lives of those with disabilities…
IBM Strengthens Mobile App Accessibility and Usability
10/12 | Source: Age & Ability
According to data from comScore, people spend approximately 50 percent of all their digital media time on the 4.2 million smartphone apps available today. While the number of mobile apps continues to increase, many are failing to engage and excite customers due to quality, functionality and usability issues. To help organizations ensure that all users, including people with disabilities and the aging population, have the best possible experience when interacting with mobile apps and content, IBM has released a new solution for iOS and Android™ that helps developers save time, expense, and strengthen the accessibility of mobile apps…
Cities Named Most Disability-Friendly
10/12 | Source: Disability Scoop
A new analysis is ranking the nation’s most populated cities based on how desirable they are for people with disabilities. Overland Park, Kan. is number one on the list followed by Scottsdale, Ariz. and Lincoln, Neb. Two other Arizona cities — Gilbert and Peoria — round out the top five. The listing comes from the personal finance website WalletHub, which assessed 25 factors ranging from availability of doctors to employment rates and park accessibility, in order to compile the ranking of 150 locales across the country…
Blind mother of two young daughters inspires others through her work
10/12 | Source: Silive
After becoming legally blind as an unlikely side effect of her chemotherapy treatment in 2012, Holly Bonner has learned that parenting doesn’t need to be seen to be felt. Bonner, a West Brighton resident, has used the experience and wisdom she’s gained from raising her 1- and 3-year-old daughters, Aoife and Nuala, to create her website, Blindmotherhood.com.
And after recently completing her home training program, Bonner’s family is now welcoming the newest member, Frances, a guide dog. “I call her Saint Frances, because she came when I needed her,” said Bonner.
The addition of Frances has awarded Bonner a degree of independence that she hasn’t had since first losing her sight. Her experiences living with Frances will be added to the website as time goes on as a reference for others who are considering acquiring a guide dog…
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Additional Accessibility Information
Digital Accessibility Digest
One of our three industry blogs, Microassist’s Digital Accessibility Digest is the “umbrella” for much of our accessibility content. It features commentary, guidance, curated news, and event information. Accessibility in the News is a regular feature of the Digital Accessibility Digest.
Microassist Accessibility Services
Outlining a host of accessibility-related services, Microassist Accessibility Services: Barrier-Free Digital Development, provides background on Microassist expertise and the various offerings available for digital content and platforms. Services cover accessible elearning, website, and application development, audit and remediation services, and accessibility testing across various formats. Content is available online and as an accessible PDF for printing.
Please contact us for any questions you have about our accessibility services and how we might support your organization.