Accessibility in the News — 09/07/16
This issue of Accessibility in the News (AITN) features several articles from both government and universities addressing digital accessibility, or seeing the need to (there’s an interesting historical look at voting, technology, and usability, too). There’s also coverage related to the Paralympics, a few articles related to transportation for those with disabilities, and a church where the majority of worshippers belong to the Deaf community.
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UMMS works to improve web text for people with cognitive disabilities
8/23 | Source: GAATES
UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center is conducting research to determine if simplifying text for people with cognitive disabilities improves their understanding of what they read online.
“We want to prove that their comprehension increases after they read simplified text,” said John Rochford, MS, director of the Shriver Center’s INDEX program and instructor of family medicine & community health. INDEX provides free information for people with disabilities living in Massachusetts…
Lainey Feingold Speaking on Her New Book – Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits
8/31 | Source: Law Office of Lainey Feingold
Lainey Feingold will be speaking at the Harvard Law School campus about her new book — Structured Negotiation: Law Office of Lainey Feingold A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits — on Tuesday, November 15, at 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Paul Parravano, Co-Director, Government and Community Relations in the Office of the President at MIT will also be there to talk about his role as a claimant in two successful Structured Negotiations (with American Express and the nation’s three top credit unions) and the ways in which Structured Negotiation successes have impacted his life as a blind professional. There will be a light reception following the talk. The talk is part of the speakers series sponsored by the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.
Democracy is a Design Problem
8/31 | Source: Journal of Usability Studies
It was a form—an election ballot—that changed everything about design in elections in the United States. It came to be called the butterfly ballot, and it was used in Palm Beach County, Florida in the presidential election in 2000.
Before 2005, people who designed voting systems didn’t consider usability or accessibility much. The systems were engineered based on simple technology, in the service of collecting or registering votes. Voting system vendors did not involve voters in the design, and systems were not tested for usability. When the U.S. Election Assistance Commission asked AIGA to conduct research in 2006 to develop a best practice ballot design for optical scan voting systems, none of the voting systems on the market could actually support that ballot design. It has taken about 10 years to get to systems that do.
Technology doesn’t come close to solving the problems. In fact, it creates them. Process is important, but you can’t solve the whole problem through process changes. This isn’t about design theory, it’s about design practice…
Online Census accessibility review – Pass or Fail
8/31 | Source: Media Access Australia
Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s ‘Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility’, undertook an accessibility review of the 9 August Census… conducted before, during, and after that fateful night. Unfortunately, the 2016 Census was a total debacle from go to woe… but did it pass or fail in terms of accessibility, in its online form? Find out in this fascinating podcast article…
I Face Accessibility Issues on the TTC Every Day—and It’s About Time That’s Changed
9/1 | Source: Torontoist
On August 23, the federal government announced nearly $500 million in funding, in part for accessible transit. As a woman with multiple disabilities who is a wheelchair user, this funding cannot come soon enough.
Here’s the harsh reality: less than half of Toronto’s subway stations are accessible. But that access issue alone only scratches the surface of how the transit system is broken. There is the all-too-frequent event of broken ramps that regularly fail to deploy; this is often met with drivers who shrug their shoulders and promise that another bus is coming. (Whether or not another bus comes is anybody’s guess.) Inaccessible bus stops leave some folks, especially those with mobility devices, exposed to the elements for long periods of time. Subway platform discrepancies mean that some people with mobility devices can’t use the subway because their equipment can’t make it over the gap while boarding…
Understanding ARIA, for Web Accessibility
9/1 | Source: Practical Ecommerce
If you research web accessibility, you’re likely to run into ARIA — Accessible Rich Internet Applications. Some will call it the solution to all web accessibility issues. Others will condemn it for causing problems. Both of these descriptions have an element of truth because, like all web technologies, it depends on how you use it.
ARIA is a specification from the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. It provides a set of HTML attributes that help assistive technology understand the complex interactions common to modern websites…
Nite Ride will soon have a vehicle that is accessible to individuals with disabilities
9/2 | Source: The Daily Iowan
The Nite Ride service at the University of Iowa keeps expanding and will do so again soon. After the recent inclusion of Nite Ride service to all genders, a new vehicle accessible to wheelchair-bound individuals and others with disabilities will be brought to campus as well.
“The details are being worked through,” said David Ricketts, the director of UI Parking and Transportation…
CSU websites receive update to promote University
9/2 | Source: The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Colorado State University’s websites have been redesigned after almost five years. CSU web developers have also designed the new website to be accessible to every person, regardless of disability or not. They continue to change and adapt the website to promote easier accessibility so everyone will be able to view the same information.
“We are in a continuing ongoing accessibility and responsiveness,” Weller said. “Disabled users can access the same information and same things on a better-adapted website.”…
How to… provide gold-medal accessibility for all
9/2 | Source: The Caterer
The Paralympics from Rio are about to hit our TV screens. We can sit back and watch these brilliant athletes perform and admire their skills and determination to overcome adversity, but how well would your business be prepared if one of the athletes came to your hotel? Would they want to come back? And are you providing for their additional needs?
Visit England has valued the Inclusive Tourism market at over £12b for both days out and overnight stays. This figure is certain to increase as we live longer.
These tips can act as a health check for your business or as a way of starting to prepare or improve the service provided to disabled people. The aim of every hospitality business is to provide great customer service and that should apply to everyone, no matter what their disability. Any investment in time will be repaid on the bottom line…
A Paralympian Races to Remove Obstacles for the Next Generation
9/2 | Source: The New York Times
Growing up on a dead-end street in suburbia, Tatyana and Hannah McFadden raced their wheelchairs up, down and all around. Their family challenged cul-de-sac convention, but also fit right in. Two moms, three children, a grandma and two dogs. A basketball hoop in the driveway. Purple wheelchairs scattered throughout the garage. Sports equipment, and prosthetic legs, stuffed in cramped closets.
“It’s been just such an amazing year,” Debbie McFadden said, standing alongside her daughters on the backyard patio. Dozens of camera phones clicked.
The obstacles Debbie McFadden faced while disabled — limited job and educational opportunities, snap judgments based on physical appearance — came to define her life’s work, as an advocate and a mother. “This can never be,” she told herself…
Amarillo deaf church focuses on community, communicating
9/4 | Source: The Washington Times
Worshipping at Paramount Baptist Deaf Church is not a silent affair. Deaf people who can speak joyfully shout during the baptism of one of their friends.
A member of the church’s hearing minority sits in the front pews with a microphone, interpreting into spoken English the prayers and messages signed by Pastor Darrell Bonjour, who delivers his weekly sermon from an abnormally raised stage that allows all of his congregation to see him…
What’s left of Austin’s lost Blind, Deaf and Orphan School?
9/5 | Source: My Statesman
Ruby McClain arrived at the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School in 1952 when she was 9. “I was a shy little person,” McClain recently told freelance illustrator Aletha St. Romain. “Before that, I went for two years to public school. I did the best I could. I didn’t do very well with math or English or literature.”
Once a month, while attending the Austin state school for African-American youths at 4101 Bull Creek Road, where she thrived, McClain returned to her hometown, Cameron, where she was reared by her grandmother. But the legally blind girl couldn’t wait to get back to the Austin school grounds on a terraced high point above meadows and escarpment oaks leading down to Shoal Creek, the same spot a proposed development, the Grove at Shoal Creek, is slated to occupy…
Michigan School for the Deaf SAT scores below state average for students with disability
9/5 | Source: MLive
The Michigan School for the Deaf’s SAT test scores fell below the state’s average score for students with a disability, Michigan Department of Education figures show. After years of making students take the ACT college admission test, more than 100,000 11th graders took the SAT in April.
The SAT has two sub-tests – one for reading and writing, and one for math. The top score on each test is 800 and the top total score is 1600. The average score among all Michigan students was 507.5 for English and 493.7 for math. The average total score was 1001.2.
Public high schools must test all students, including those with cognitive disabilities and immigrants still learning English, and those scores are included in the averages. That especially can impact the average of schools with a higher concentration of either or both populations…
CTA Foundation and IBM Launch Report Showing How New Technology Can Improve Lives for an Aging Society
9/6 | Source: Consumer Technology Association
A new report, Outthink Aging, from IBM and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ Foundation – a public, national foundation with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives – reveals that meeting the needs of a growing aging population will require new technologies, partnerships, ideas and business models. The report also discusses how technology such as cognitive computing will empower seniors to live longer, healthier and more independent lives by preventing fraud and abuse, providing greater social connectivity and improving access to vital information and services.
The report outlines the challenges of meeting the needs of the aging demographic and gives recommendations for three core areas where the intersection of mobile devices, cognitive computing and providers could have the greatest impact on the essential concerns of older adults, including…
Universal Design new standard in accessibility
9/6 | Source: The Nevada Sagebrush
Over the last few years, the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, has been undergoing serious construction in an attempt to keep up with the demands of incoming student growth. The university is currently working to build a new dormitory building and fitness center, among other future projects. Despite the massive upgrades, none of the new buildings have been designed to be fully universal.
The National Disability Authority defines universal design as “the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.”…
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