Accessibility in the News—10/5/16
In this issue of Accessibility in the News (AITN), we have news about a rise in ADA compliance litigation (regarding both building and website access), building and transportation access (including activity that will impact airlines’ implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act), insights on learning (inclusive typeface guidance, accessible elearning—a passion of ours!, the malleability of the human brain), and calls for expanding accessibility throughout Canada.
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What Happens in the Brains of Blind People Who Do Math
9/21 | Source: NY Magazine
The brain, neuroscientists have long known, has a pretty remarkable ability to rewire and adapt itself on the fly — one of the most notable things about it is its plasticity. But just because researchers know that it has this capability doesn’t mean they’ve come anywhere close to fully understanding it. That’s why a new recent study that involved blind people doing math is so fascinating.
For the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a John Hopkins team led by Shipra Kanjlia, a researcher there, asked 17 blind people and 19 sighted ones to do some algebra problems that were read aloud to them. “So they would hear something like: 12 minus 3 equals x, and 4 minus 2 equals x,” Marina Bedny, one of the co-authors, told NPR’s Jon Hamilton. “And they’d have to say whether x had the same value in those two equations.” The researchers then used fMRI technology to record the participants’ brain activity as they worked through the problems…
Yellowknife Woman Owed $10K Following 2013 Accessibility Complaint
9/28 | Source: My Yellowknife Now
Elizabeth Portman, who has multiple sclerosis, filed a complaint against the legislative assembly after she was unable to access a handicap bathroom in November 2013 due to the heaviness of the glass and wooden doors. Last Thursday, the Northwest Territories Human Rights Adjudication Panel issued a decision ordering the legislature to pay Portman $10,000 in compensation.
“The legislative assembly accepts the decision of the adjudication panel and will comply with it fully,” said Speaker Jackson Lafferty in a statement issued Tuesday…
Accessibility Must Be a Special Need for Us All
10/1 | Source: The Economic Times
A week before the terrible massacre in Paris earlier this year, my best friend went with her husband and young daughter on a trip to the City of Light they had promised themselves a long time ago. That he was now wheelchair bound did not impede their plans a whit.
From taking his battery-operated chair on board the Air France flight to the special cab that took them around Paris to their hotel room and bathroom, everything was kitted out for those with special needs. Parisians are not known to be particularly friendly to “outsiders”, including people from their own country. But amazingly, they pulled out all the stops for this doughty couple, helping them at every point. Privileged entry to museums and other public buildings was a given; even restaurants and washrooms were equipped to deal with wheelchairs…
Accessibility and Inclusion: Imperative for Canada’s Future
10/2 | Source: The Globe and Mail
People often ask me what I might be doing today had I not suffered a spinal cord injury as a teenager. Did I miss out on some grand ambition? Would I trade the journey I’ve been on for the use of my legs?
Not a chance. I feel like I am one of the luckiest guys in the world. Because it is not about using your legs in order to have a great life. It is about asking the important questions, about giving back and making a difference; having a purpose, a passion, about continuing to grow and learn as you go through this journey, and treating it as a gift.
Thirty years ago, I launched the Man In Motion World Tour to prove the potential of people with disabilities, and raise awareness of the need for greater accessibility. Following the Tour, in 1988, the Rick Hansen Foundation was born…
Tait: Crafting Legislation for Accessibility
10/2 | Source: Edmonton Sun
When Zachary Weeks is asked about accessibility for Canadians with disabilities, perhaps the obvious answer is ensuring public buildings have ramps at entrances. And, yes, says Zachary — but he’s thinking of the big picture.
“Accessible means so many things,” said the 28-year-old native Edmontonian who uses a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy. “It means equal opportunity on every level. Access to buildings, employment, adequate housing and the list goes on. Improving every day life so that the coming generations do not have to overcome the challenges that I experienced growing up and even in my adult life.”…
Chennai Metro Rail Flunks Accessibility Test
10/2 | Source: The Hindu
After spending a couple of hours at the airport Metro Rail station, it seemed to members of the Disability Rights Alliance, Tamil Nadu (DRA) that hardly any progress had been made on accessibility. The organisation conducted its second access audit of Metro Rail stations on Saturday. Problems with access noted in the audit conducted at Alandur station in July last year persisted at the Airport and Nanganallur stations, inaugurated recently…
Lainey Feingold’s Book on Structured Negotiation
10/3 | Source: Mediate
I recently had a chance to talk with Lainey Feingold, the author of a great new book on negotiation, which she describes below. Before I get to her description, I want to say a few words about why I think her book is particularly important. I have been writing about early dispute resolution, especially planned early dispute resolution (PEDR), for almost a decade.
The potential benefits of PEDR are obvious to us in the DR community, including reduced time and expense devoted to disputing, increased opportunities for future-oriented problem-solving and protection of relationships, reduction in sunk-cost rationalization for continued disputing, reduction in risk of conflict escalation, etc…
[Editor’s Note: From the author’s website, “[Lainey Feingold’s] principal work is with the blind and visually impaired community on technology and information access issues, including web and mobile accessibility.”]
US Judge Ruling Changes Flying with Disability in America
10/3 | Source: Reduced Mobility
Dismissing a lawsuit filed by a disabled woman against American Airlines, Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi has changed flying with a disability in the US forever. In 2013, wheelchair user Theresa Purcell was flying from San Diego to Los Angeles. Once at the gate, the woman was told there was no time to arrange for a ramp to get her on the plane. As a result, Mrs. Purcell had to crawl onboard the plane and onto her seat.
In June of 2015, Mrs. Purcell filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, alleging AA violated the Air Carrier Access Act, the law protecting the rights of people with disabilities when traveling by air. Seeking dismissal of the lawsuit, American Airlines submitted a declaration stating that “a passenger who requires special assistance during boarding must inform AA by completing the “Special Services Request” form during the on-line reservation process.”…
Repeat Plaintiffs, Non-Profits Target Businesses for ADA Compliance
10/4 | Source: Claims Journal
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III lawsuits are up 63 percent over 2015.
ADA Title III prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating on the basis of disability. The Act applies to a variety of businesses and restaurants, including warehouses, movie theaters, schools, office buildings, day care facilities, doctors’ offices and any new construction of same must comply with the ADA construction standards…
No One Owns Invisible Disabilities
10/4 | Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
The purpose of registered trademarks is to protect people. When you buy a bottle of Club-Mate, the trademark affords you some certainty that what you’re buying is the product you already know and love and not that of a sneaky impostor. But when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues overly broad or generic trademarks, those trademarks do just the opposite: they can expose us to the risk of legal bullying. One recent round of bullying over a trademark on “invisible disabilities” has shown how a bad trademark can even be used to threaten people’s right to assemble and express themselves online.
It started in late 2015 when a group called Invisible Disability Project (IDP) applied for a trademark on its name. A lawyer representing the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) sent IDP a letter threatening to sue it over the use of the term “invisible disability.” (IDA had received a trademark on the term in 2013). In July 2016, IDA used Facebook’s trademark report form to have IDP’s Facebook page—the main place where IDP’s members and supporters congregate—taken down. IDA even registered the domain names invisibledisabilityproject.com and .net and directed visitors to those sites to its own website…
Fontsmith Publishes a Guide to Choosing More Accessible Typefaces
10/5 | Source: It’s Nice That
Type foundry Fontsmith has published a guide to typographic accessibility, a resource for designers to gauge the legibility of their fonts and create more inclusive design. The infographic guide is based on Fontsmith’s FS Me typeface which was developed with Mencap and designed to improve readability for people with learning disabilities. It outlines some of the main features to look out for when selecting an accessible font.
“Accessibility in typography is not an exact science,” Fontsmith says. “It is better to imagine a sliding scale where certain speciality typefaces are highly accessible at one end and some, for example script or display fonts, are very inaccessible at the other end. Most fonts lie somewhere in the middle.”…
You Think Popup Ads Are Bad? They’re Even Worse for the Blind
10/5 | Source: Motherboard
There are lots of conversations about the lack of diversity in science and tech these days. But along with them, people constantly ask, “So what? Why does it matter?” There are lots of ways to answer that question, but perhaps the easiest way is this: because a homogenous team produces homogenous products for a very heterogeneous world.
This column explores the products, research programs, and conclusions that are made not because any designer or scientist or engineer sets out to discriminate, but because the “normal” user always looks exactly the same. The result is products and research that are biased by design…
Website ADA Compliance Cases Spike; Ruling Seen as ‘Not a Good Sign’ for Defendants
10/5 | Source: PennRecord
Pennsylvania is one of three states, along with New York and California, where Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits filed in connection with allegedly inaccessible websites have steadily increased.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP compiled data revealing that those three states are the jurisdictions that have seen 85 percent of the website-related ADA cases filed through Sept. 21, although those numbers could change before the end of the year. Pennsylvania, New York and California also have had the largest number of law firms filing these suits…
Accessibility from the Ground Up: Build Captions and Usable Design into All eLearning
10/5 | Source: Learning Solutions Mag
Adding captions is not sufficient to make content accessible to a deaf person who, essentially, uses English as a second language, according to accessible eLearning designer Wanda Blackett. There is a solution: universal design, which also addresses other barriers to access or understanding.
“Accessible eLearning Benefits All Learners” explored the reasons for creating accessible eLearning content. This spotlight article launches a four-part series on how to do that; each part will address a different type of barrier that learners might face…
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Additional Accessibility Information
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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.
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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.
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