Accessibility in the News—7/21/17.
Accessibility news varied widely this week, covering a talking laundry module built by a 14-year-old, a new, tactile £10 note from the Bank of England for the blind and visually impaired, and an attorney suspended for filing frivolous ADA lawsuits.
But there were a few themes: Transportation, from autonomous vehicles to Uber, was one. The ride-sharing company faces a lawsuit in New York for not having enough wheelchair accessible vehicles in its local fleet. That’s while it launches a new app in Chicago to ease wheelchair users’ ability to use its UberWAV service, which provides wheelchair accessible vehicles. UberWAV is also being courted by Calgary, and UberACCESS, which includes UberWAV, expands to four new markets in the UK.
It was a mixed week for digital accessibility, too. While the gaming community has made strides in improving experiences for gamers with disabilities, some say accessibility is often the first thing cut during crunch time. McDonald’s and GrubHub are being sued because of their inaccessible websites. School districts are realizing the need to improve website accessibility. And the Perkins School for the Blind says there’s no excuse for inaccessible websites. This starter guide could help (Editor’s note: You may also contact Microassist’s Accessibility Team. We’d love to hear from you!).
In contrast to those who embrace accessibility under duress, there are those who welcome it enthusiastically. Barclays aims to be the most accessible company on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index. A Canadian group wants to develop the most accessible neighborhood for those who are blind or who have low-vision. The “Just So Festival” was declared one of the UK’s most accessible events. And Apple’s WWDC17 speaker Todd Stabelfeldt, who has quadriplegia, is forging an innovative and tech-laden path to independence. Read about his journey, and the Quadthedral.
In addition to the news items featured here, scan the Resources section available in every issue—there are multiple tips, product announcements, and links to digital accessibility helps and blogs.
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AITN Quote of the Week
“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
— Maya Angelou
National News (U.S.)
Major Tech Companies Strive to Make Tools Accessible for Students
July 14, 2017 | Source: EdTech | Technology, Accessible Design, Education
Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation found that students with disabilities are now just as likely to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in higher education as their peers. This could be due in part to the universal design standards and accessible technology initiatives that many universities have adopted, thus making it easier for all students to pursue any degree. Also, many major tech companies have worked to ensure their products are able to be used by any student…
DISID works to provide ADA education to community
July 15, 2017 | Source: Pacific Daily News | ADA, Government, Education
In an effort to improve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities has been working collaboratively with various agencies and organizations to help educate the community regarding the requirements of the various Titles under the ADA.
Some of these efforts include conducting free workshop trainings in collaboration with the Guam Legal Services Corporation/Disability Law Center, UOG/CEDDERS Guam System for Assistive Technology, Guam DOE, and the Guam Department of Labor to educate employers, government agency representatives, and business owners regarding the Title I, II and III provisions under the ADA…
Austin attorney suspended for filing frivolous ADA lawsuits against local businesses
July 16, 2017 | Source: Spectrum News (Video) | ADA, Lawsuits/Litigation, Disability Rights | Texas
An Austin lawyer who was fined last year for filing frivolous lawsuits, has been barred from practicing law in the Western District of Texas. Maudie’s Tex-Mex restaurant on South Lamar is one of hundreds of small businesses Omar Rosales sued in almost a year without warning, claiming it did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I would hope that somebody would come and approach a business or anyone and give a person and opportunity to remedy it and not take legal action as the first time,” said Brian Berry of Draker Enterprises, which owns Maudie’s…
Disabled Gamers: How Well Are We Accommodating Them?
July 16, 2017 | Source: DVS Gaming | Gaming, Disability Rights, Inclusion
Before gaming blew up into what it is today, players simply had to put up with the game’s settings and controls. In recent years, game developers have been making a lot of progress towards allowing disabled players to have the same gaming experience as others. Things like being able to customize your control scheme or change color blindness settings seem trivial to a lot of us, but to someone with disabilities, it can be the difference between enjoying a game or struggling to play it at all. Websites and charities like AbleGamers and DAGER System have helped immensely in the standardization of these options in gaming…
Physically disabled persons praise, question access to Acadia
July 16, 2017 | Source: Arcadia on the Mind | Mobility, Leisure/Entertainment, Accessible Design
During a recent visit to Acadia National Park, Shirley Beck, who has multiple sclerosis, said she was “very pleased” to find a paved path that allowed her to reach a viewing platform at the Cadillac Mountain summit with her light three-wheel electric scooter. “It’s pretty good,” said Beck, a pediatric physical therapist from Arlington, Va., after taking in the sweeping vista of Frenchman Bay, islands and distant summits on the mainland.
Beck said she is grateful to Acadia officials for making the peak of Cadillac accessible and praised them for building the pink-granite path for physically disabled persons. Before reaching the viewing platform, the path loops around steps and directly passes by a plaque of the first National Park Service director, Stephen Mather, who was periodically disabled by manic-depression, and was a contemporary of Acadia founder George B. Dorr, who became blind in his later years…
No room for recovery: Inside the push for handicapped-accessible sober homes
July 16, 2017 | Source: Fox9 | Mobility, Inclusion, Sports/Entertainment | Minnesota
Josh Chilton’s dad knew his son had just two choices left in life—leave home or die—so out of desperation Josh came to Minnesota, his last hope to escape a life of self-destruction. He was a star-football player in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with college prospects and even a possible professional career ahead of him.
On the day he was to play in the semi-finals of the state championship, his future and his life spun out of control on a rain-soaked highway. “I remember waking up in the hospital and I couldn’t feel my legs,” Josh recalled. His team still played that night in tribute to Josh. They won big…
Uber faces another lawsuit due to a lack of wheelchair-accessible rides
The Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled, along with other disability rights groups, is suing Uber, alleging Uber is in violation of New York City human rights laws because it doesn’t have enough wheelchair-accessible cars available to people who need them, Reuters reports.
The class-action lawsuit, which also includes Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York and the Taxis for All Campaign as plaintiffs, alleges Uber is engaging in “pervasive and ongoing discrimination” because there are only 200 or so of Uber’s 58,000+ vehicles made available to people who use wheelchairs…
Controller Scott Stringer veers the wrong way in outrage over unpaid yellow taxi wheelchair fees
July 18, 2017 | Source: Daily News | Transit/Transportation, Mobility, Inclusion
City controller Scott Stringer has issued a fiscal audit of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s wheelchair accessibility fund that really takes the cake for willful blindness. What New York’s fiscal Mr. Magoo has found is that the TLC hasn’t collected all of the money from medallion owners that it is due — and he is outraged! Fumed the controller: “We’re talking about millions of dollars — which already came out of passengers pockets — that should be going to modernizing our taxi fleet.”
What is outrageous here is not the TLC’s supposed malfeasance, but the controllers complete lack of self-awareness and fiscal insight. He ignores the elephant in the room: Uber and other ride-hailing app services, which have undermined transportation accessibility in multiple ways…
Judge says Tennessee district discriminated against student with special needs
July 18, 2017 | Source: American School & University | Lawsuits/Litigation, Discrimination, ADA
A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled that the Hamilton County school system violated multiple federal guidelines protecting students with disabilities when it removed a second-grader with Down syndrome from Normal Park Elementary School in 2013.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Judge Curtis Collier concluded that the school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities…
Why isn’t your website accessible? The top 5 (inexcusable) excuses
July 18, 2017 | Source: Perkins School for the Blind | Digital Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Accessible Design
Using the internet – including websites and numerous cloud-based applications – is a requirement of the times that most of us take for granted. Assistive technology, such as screen readers or magnification software, are now available as mainstream features within popular operating systems or as browser plugins.
Assistive technology, whether native or acquired via a third-party vendor, is essential for people who are blind or visually impaired to access the web independently. However, these solutions don’t work if your website is not accessible, resulting in a frustrating user experience for those seeking information, products and services online…
A Practical Starter Guide on Developing Accessible Websites
July 18, 2017 | Source: The Code4Lib Journal | Digital Accessibility, Accessible Design, Assistive Technology
Web accessibility is increasingly important. One reason is legal: in the US the federal government recently updated their regulation on accessibility of digital content, Section 508, incorporating the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 as well as harmonizing the guidelines with the EU’s information and technology communications rules (United States Access Board, 2017). While Section 508 only explicitly applies to federal departments, based on wording in other sections, such as Section 504, any federally funded program can also be held accountable in following the same guidelines.
Another reason is to ensure the site can be used by as broad a community as possible. Web accessibility generally refers to making digital services and tools understandable to assistive technology (AT) used primarily by those with disabilities. Being web accessible also improves access for older people, mobile users, new users, low bandwidth or older technology users, and people with low literacy or familiarity with the language (Henry & Arch, 2012)…
McDonalds, Grubhub Websites Not Accessible to the Blind: Suits
July 18, 2017 | Source: NBC Chicago | Discrimination, Food Service, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Web Design
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal access for everyone in physical spaces, but attorneys argue that current ADA regulations also extend to how companies do business on the web.
“It’s no different than someone not being able to move into your store with a wheelchair if someone without vision can’t access your website to buy your goods and services,” said attorney Marc Dann. Dann represents plaintiffs suing Oak Brook-based McDonalds and Grubhub, a mobile food delivery service headquartered in Chicago, alleging the companies’ websites and mobile apps are inaccessible to blind customers…
Penn Hills School District finds savings with upgrade of website
July 18, 2017 | Source: Trib Live | Digital Accessibility, ADA, Web Design, Education
The Penn Hills School District’s restructured website is tailored to better allow people with special needs access to all of its features. The new website, at phsd.k12.pa.us, will improve communication while saving the district $1,150 per year, said Penn Hills Intraweb Programmer Sam Davidow.
“We were recently made aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act deeming a website a place of public accommodation,” Davidow said. “ADA compliance for websites has been this silent elephant in the room because of the amount of work and money required to change existing websites to meet (standards).”…
Kendrick Lamar’s Good Deed Highlights the Importance of Wheelchair Accessibility
July 18, 2017 | Source: ATTN: | Mobility, Arts/Entertainment, Performing Arts, Advocacy
Jennifer Phillips, a super fan of the rap artist, was in a car crash that left her quadriplegic for the last 10 years. After the accident, she continued to travel with friends, finish college, and attend concerts. To keep with her active lifestyle, she started a GoFundMe in April 2016 to raise $20,000 for a new and improved mobility van to help her get around town. Monday night was her eighth Lamar concert, and she was definitely in for a treat as the “Humble” rapper gifted Phillips his “DAMN” tour jacket with a special handwritten note.
There are over 2 million people in the U.S. who need a wheelchair for daily mobility. Vehicle mobility, however, can be costly for the average physically disabled person, with the cost to convert a current vehicle costing anywhere from $10,000-$20,000…
Businesses Question Federal ADA Lawsuits
July 18, 2017 | Source: NewsChannel5.com | ADA, Lawsuits/Litigation, Mobility
It has been 25 years since Congress passed the Americans With Disability Act (ADA). The law is credited with making businesses more accessible for millions of people with disabilities. It has thousands of technical specifications and some say if you look hard enough you can violations at just about any business.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates has been looking at some the lawsuits filed against businesses in Nashville and why some business owners feel the law is being abused. Empower Tennessee is a non-profit organization that sends trained volunteers into Nashville businesses to see if they are wheelchair accessible…
Malloy enlists disabled in budget fight — gets protest at his office
July 18, 2017 | Source: CT Mirror | Government, Mobility, Discrimination
A day after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy all but invited disabled recipients of state services to lobby for a new budget, some did: They targeted him in a demonstration that ended with the arrest of five protesters in his outer office at the Capitol. State Capitol police issued summonses for third-degree trespassing to five protesters, three of whom arrived in either wheelchairs or a motorized scooter, after they refused to leave. Malloy, who was attending an event in Bridgeport celebrating the opening of an affordable housing development, missed the protest.
“Don’t break my chair. Please stop!” Elaine Kolb loudly told a police officer, who tried to move her chair. In a lower voice, she added, “I ask very nicely, please don’t break my chair.”…
Splash Country brings new level of accessibility to waterpark
July 19, 2017 | Source: USA Today | Leisure/Entertainment, Inclusion, Accessible Design
Dollywood’s popular Splash County waterpark is now offering new solutions for visitors with physical and mental disabilities by making more of the park’s attractions accessible to guests.
The effort, which introduces two new types of wading tubes and an outdoor calming corner, is intended to make the park more accessible to guests with mobility problems or mental disabilities. Lauren Lowery, aquatics supervisor for Splash Country, said that the decision to introduce the new tubes was inspired by a number of calls from parents of disabled children asking to bring their own tubes, which did not meet Splash Country’s safety requirements, into the park…
Dream the accessible dream: Developer pushes the boundaries of innovation in pursuit of independence
July 19, 2017 | Source: Geek Wire | Innovation, Inclusion, Assistive Technology
While you’re asking your virtual assistant some banal question — “Siri, what time is it?” “Alexa, what’s the name of this song?” — the evolution of voice-activated and accessible technology is changing Todd Stabelfeldt’s life.
Stabelfeldt is a database administrator and developer. He runs his own database management company, C4 Consulting, from his Port Orchard office just across Puget Sound from Seattle. The married stepdad of two is polite and charming, traits honed by his military upbringing. He’s got a bushy red beard that he admits is getting a little unruly, and his conversation is peppered with funny asides, mostly of the self-deprecating variety…
Blind ‘Drivers’ Step Up to Shape US Push for Driverless Cars
July 19, 2017 | Source: Bloomberg | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Transit/Transportation, Innovation
Anil Lewis was behind the wheel of his Ford Mustang convertible on a sunny Atlanta day in 1988, when he nearly hit a pedestrian who appeared in a crosswalk ahead of him, seemingly out of nowhere. It was then Lewis realized his deteriorating eyesight would soon end his days behind the wheel. Now 53 and legally blind, the prospect of fully autonomous vehicles gives him hope of returning to the road on his own.
“If it’s designed correctly, if the vehicles are accessible,” said Lewis, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind’s Jernigan Institute, which works to develop technologies and services that help the blind. “It’s going to create an improved ability to travel that doesn’t currently exist.”…
Fed complaint brings change- Madison Schools making adjustments to its online presence
July 19, 2017 | Source: The Daily Telegram | Legislation/Policy, Education, Digital Accessibility | Michigan
Madison School District is one of three educational entities across Lenawee County fixing website accessibility issues a disability advocate noticed.
The board of education on Monday voted unanimously to examine its entire website and correct any problems that would not make the site fully accessible. Earlier this year, Madison School District, as well as Clinton Community Schools, received notice from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that a complaint had been filed alleging its respective public websites were not accessible to all persons, including persons with disabilities…
Uber app now allows wheelchair users to summon rides
After facing lawsuits across the country over a lack of wheelchair-accessible rides, Uber is announcing Thursday that Chicago passengers with disabilities can now use the ride-sharing company’s app to find a lift. Uber’s handicapped-accessible vehicles had previously only been available in Chicago on a limited view for riders who entered a special code, obtained through handicapped-accessibility groups. Now, no code is required, according to a statement issued by the San-Francisco-based company.
Uber said it has been working with drivers and rental and leasing partners over the past year to expand its fleet and now has 65 wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road available through the app. The service is known as UberWAV — short for wheelchair accessible vehicle — typically a modified van with room for a wheelchair inside…
Accessibility signs in line for an update
July 20, 2017 | Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette | Disability Rights, Accessible Design, Inclusion
The International Symbol of Access sign, widely known around parking lots and bathroom doors, is nearly 50 years old. That’s why a resource group with Old National Bank believes it’s time for a makeover – visually and in definition. “I think we live in a world of political correctness,” Old National employment and outreach specialist Ben Trockman said. “To be honest, the word ‘handicapped’ has been outdated for a least 20 years. We’re wanting to help get rid of an old stereotype.”
The proposal to update the symbol created in 1968 includes the same white wheelchair on a blue background, except the figure is now perceived to be in motion rather than stationary. The symbol’s label also reads “reserved” instead of “handicapped.”…
Finding Home: Laundry that Talks
July 20, 2017 | Source: Business Wire | Housing, Accessible Design, Blindness/Visual Impairment
Laundry may seem like a simple task when vision isn’t an issue, but imagine if you couldn’t see the settings. GE Appliances’ FirstBuild has created Talking Laundry which speaks the various settings on the machine when selected. Thanks to the programming work of a 14-year-old FirstBuild community member, the Talking Laundry module can be plugged into the back of existing GE Appliances connected washers and dryers.
“As technology in laundry changes, it’s becoming more difficult for people who are visually-impaired to find the correct settings on a machine. Digital interfaces and knobs that move smoothly don’t allow someone to easily find the ‘home’ position on a machine, making it nearly impossible to find laundry settings by feel,” said Sam DuPlessis, FirstBuild Engineer. “As Baby Boomers continue to age and small typeface gets harder to read, having an audio option also becomes invaluable.”…
Inspired by son, family creates Virginia travel guide for people with disabilities
July 20, 2017 | Source: Richmond Times Dispatch | Travel, Transportation, Inclusion, Disability Rights | Virginia
If he’d had the chance, Paul Duke knows he would have served in the Army. “Tank commander,” he said, his voice soft and almost inaudible compared with the ventilator that keeps air pumping through his lungs. He is surrounded, in his room, by military paraphernalia: models of tanks, posters of war planes, videos of military documentaries and dramas, an autographed photo of Gen. Calvin Waller, second in command during Operation Desert Storm to Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. He comes by his interest naturally: Both of his grandfathers served in World War II.
Paul also is surrounded by the reality of his life at his family’s Caroline County home: He lies in a hospital room, his body immobile and small from years of decline. A nurse is close by, and, of course, there’s the hum of the ventilator attached to a tracheotomy tube inserted into his throat. Paul has needed a ventilator for 27 years, and five years ago he went on a feeding tube. He started using a wheelchair when he was about 12, but even that hasn’t been of much use in recent years after he developed a compressed sciatic nerve, which made it so he could sit for only short periods…
Westfield Law Firm will Sue to Make Handicap-Accessible Parking Available
July 20, 2017 | Source: TAPinto.net | Lawsuits/Litigation, Accessible Parking, Discrimination | New Jersey
Westfield employment lawyer Fred Shahrooz Scampato wants to make sure that people with disabilities have equal access to what most of us take for granted. That’s why his office is teaming up with the law firm of Jacobson & Rooks in South New Jersey to bring lawsuits against the operators of parking lots and parking garages that fail to adhere to Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination regarding provisions for handicap-accessible parking spots.
“A number of my friends happen to be people with disabilities,” Shahrooz Scampato said. “Time and again, I have heard of stories how people who I care for have been ignored and locked out of places and events that the rest of us take for granted and don’t even think about. As a lawyer and a supporter of the New Jersey disability community, it is my civil responsibility to work towards social justice on the issue of accessibility.”…
Jack Fact — According to the World Economic Forum, population over the age of 65 will increase from 600 million today to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 8 workers per retiree today, compared to 4 per retiree in 2050.
Accessibility for persons with disabilities of websites and online tools managed by the European Commission
July 12, 2017 | Source: European Ombudsman- Brussels | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion | Brussels
The European Ombudsman, Emily O’ Reilly, has opened an inquiry into the accessibility for persons with disabilities of websites and online tools managed by the European Commission.
”I wrote to you last year to gather information about the accessibility of websites and online tools managed by the Commission. On the basis of your reply, and taking into account subsequent developments, I have decided to open a strategic inquiry. In brief, I still need to be convinced that the Commission is doing enough to follow-up on the recommendation of the UNCRPD Committee (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) that the EU “take the necessary measures to ensure the full application of web accessibility standards” to its websites and “offer information in sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and other accessible means, modes and formats of communication for persons with disabilities, including easy-to-read formats, in official interactions“…
Oswald Foundation, 10-Month-Old Startup Goes Multinational
July 14, 2017 | Source: BW Businessworld- India | Accessible Design, Technology, Digital Accessibility | India
On Independence Day 2016, Anand Chowdhary, Nishant Gadihoke, and Mahendra Singh Raghuwanshi founded Oswald Foundation, an accessibility technology company with the mission to break barriers to modern technology. From building a small Chrome extension in a 30-hour hackathon that allows people with dyslexia to read websites easily, they are now a profitable startups with three products used by thousands of users, in just ten months.
Oswald Foundation has three products, Agastya, Shravan, and Valmiki. Agastya is a web accessibility plug-in that can be added to any website to make it disabled-friendly, and includes special features like a dyslexia-friendly mode, text reading aloud for the visually impaired, and color contrast customization options. Shravan is the first smartphone for the differently abled, and includes a patent-pending vibrational and speech interface for the blind. It also has Digital India features like built-in Aadhaar and UPI, and works in 25+ native Indian languages. Valmiki is a dyslexia and visually impaired-friendly web browser addon…
EEA EFTA Comment on European Accessibility Act Submitted to the EU
July 14, 2017 | Source: EFTA- Europe | Accessible Design, Inclusion, Government
Read the full EEA EFTA Comment on the European Accessibility Act
On 13 July, the EEA EFTA States (Iceland Norway and Liechtenstein) submitted a common Comment on the European Accessibility Act to the EU side
Accessibility is considered as a wide concept that includes the prevention and elimination of obstacles that pose problems for persons with disabilities in using products, services and infrastructures. The European Accessibility Act (EAA) aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services by removing barriers created by divergent legislation. It covers a range of products and services that have been identified as having the highest risk of being concerned with diverging accessibility requirements across the EU countries…
On a roll: Halifax Jazz Festival ramps up accessibility
July 14, 2017 | Source: Global News- Canada | Performing Arts, Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion, Accessible Design | Canada
For the first time in its 30 year history, 100 percent of the venues for the Halifax Jazz Festival are accessible thanks in part to the guidance of a local activist. Former professional bass player, Paul Vienneau, was first introduced to the festival as a performer in 1988. It wasn’t until a bicycling accident years later that he realised there was a problem with the way many concert venues were operating.
“The way jazz festivals have gone in the last bunch of years, there’s less sort of sit down, formal jazz and its more like Dr. John where people get up and dance,” said Vienneau…
Uber’s wheelchair-accessible uberACCESS service launches in four new UK markets
July 14, 2017 | Source: The Next Web- UK | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Inclusion | United Kingdom
Uber is wildly popular in the UK. The ridesharing service is available in virtually every major city, and in London, there are more Uber partners than traditional black ‘hackney’ cab drivers. However, Uber has long struggled with accessibility. While black cab drivers have a legal mandate to be wheelchair-accessible, the same isn’t true for Uber drivers. In 2015, it took steps to address this, with the launch of uberACCESS in London.
Earlier this year, Uber extended the service to three new UK markets, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton. Today, it adds Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, and Newcastle to the list…
Provide ramp at aircraft door for disabled: Gehlot to Raju
July 16, 2017 | Source: Outlook- India | Mobility, Inclusion, Transportation, Accessible Design | India
Union minister Thaawarchand Gehlot has requested the civil aviation ministry to provide ramp facility at the door of aircraft for the convenience of differently-abled passengers. In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Gehlot said that persons with disabilities (PwDs) face difficulty in boarding aircraft at places where the aerobridge facility is not available.
“At most such locations, people on wheelchairs are physically lifted and taken up the flight of steps leading to the aircraft. This is not only uncomfortable but also a degrading experience,” the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister said in the letter…
Steinbach seniors take wheelchair-accessible bike for a whirl
July 16, 2017 | Source: CBC- Canada | Mobility, Accessible Design, Innovation | Canada
Residents of a Steinbach nursing home are now able to get outside more thanks to the purchase of a novel cargo-style bike built to transport wheelchairs. Rest Haven Nursing Home recently toasted the arrival of the bike, which was hand-built in Denmark and cost around $8,000, according to Dave Thiessen, the home’s daily life co-ordinator.
The money was obtained through fundraising that started more than a year ago, he said. Thiessen described the bike as almost like ones used to sell ice cream, except in place of the freezer chest on the front, there’s a wheelchair-accessible ramp and platform…
A mission to become the most accessible FTSE 100 company
July 17, 2017 | Source: Management Today- UK | Accessible Design, Inclusion, Disability Rights | United Kingdom
When Barclays set out to improve its accessibility for disabled people, it didn’t exactly set a low bar. ‘We wanted to become the world’s most accessible FTSE 100 company,’ says Mark McLane, Barclays’ global head of diversity and inclusion. ‘You may think that’s hard to achieve, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try.’
And accessibility applies to both employees and customers. From recruitment and training to equipment and support, the organisation tries to make everything easier for its disabled staff – in turn it benefits by widening its talent pool and retaining employees. As for its customers, Barclays talks about services that are ‘barrier-free’. This includes technology such as talking cash machines and online sign-language translators, but also impeccable customer service. And, in a competitive market, you need to look after your customers or they’ll move banks…
Dealing with disability
July 17, 2017 | Source: Conference News- UK | Disability Rights, Inclusion, Awareness | United Kingdom
A key trait of being a good events organiser is an ability to see things from another person’s point of view. Considering what guests may feel, want or require, and anticipating any requests before they arrive is essential for ensuring everyone’s needs are accounted for.
Venues need to make certain they are accessible to people with a range of needs. These can be physical, such as wheelchair users, those with visual or hearing impairments or who tire easily or find stairs difficult. However, you should also carefully consider the access needs of those with ‘invisible disabilities’. This could be anything from a learning disability, to those with epilepsy…
Group uses technology to try creating most accessible neighbourhood
Canada’s most high-profile organization supporting people with vision loss is turning to technology in a bid to create what it calls the country’s most accessible neighbourhood. The CNIB — formerly known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind — says it’s hoping to transform a small stretch of one of Toronto’s busiest streets into an area that blind or low-vision people can not only navigate easily, but fully engage with independently.
The organization has partnered with the Rick Hansen Foundation to acquire beacons that will help blind people locate local businesses on the street, then find their way around inside with confidence. The foundation has funded the purchase of 205 of the roughly 14-centimetre beacons that stores and restaurants in the test area can acquire for free and program to convey detailed information about the layout of their physical space to a blind person’s mobile phone…
Only 20% of firms in Davao complied with accessibility law
July 18, 2017 | Source: Sun Star- India | Discrimination, Legislation/Policy, Government | India
Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in Davao City said only 20 percent of all government and non-government firms complied with the Accessibility Ordinance of the City Council, which mandates the creation of barrier-free physical environment for the disabled persons.
PDAO-Davao president Bong Comiling, during Kapehan sa Dabaw media forum at SM City Davao-Annex on Monday, July 17, said this was based on a survey conducted in May by the personnel of the National Council on Disability Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Davao, and Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao. Comiling said 60 percent of the 80 percent establishments that did not comply were government-owned…
Persons with disability urged to assert their rights
July 17, 2017 | Source: Davao Today- India | Disability Rights, Discrimination, Government | India
Persons with disability should assert their rights to fight discrimination. In commemorating the 39th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, Officer-in-charge of Davao City Persons with Disability (PWD) Affairs Office, Bong Comiling urged his fellow PWDs learn their rights and privileges and fight for them to prevent discrimination.
“When we say to carry out and fight, one needs to assert his or her rights that are provided under R.A. 9442,” Bong Comiling said in a press conference held at the SM City Davao on Monday. “Do not be silent. Speak about your rights. Tell them you will enjoy your rights,” Comiling said. Comiling said PWDs still face a lot of problems in terms of the implementation of the rules under Republic Act 9442 or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and Other Purposes” including the “accessibility law.”…
July 18, 2017 | Source: Architecture Now- New Zealand | Autism, Accessible Design, Inclusion | New Zealand
Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) is a misunderstood condition that affects an estimated 1 in 66 people, approximately 65,000 New Zealanders, yet it is absent in our accessibility codes. So how can architects and designers significantly improve the lives of those who are diagnosed with ASD? Thomas Denhardt talks with experts in the field.
In 1973, Louis Kahn was engaged to design Four Freedoms Park, a memorial that commemorates President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life and his seminal Four Freedoms speech. Ironically, the sunken terrace incorporated into the design inhibited Roosevelt from the freedom to enjoy the memorial, since it is not wheelchair accessible. In Kahn’s defence, this was before the advent of the American Disabilities Act 1990. Some would say ignorance is bliss…
Short Film Competition To Raise Awareness On Accessibility For Differently-able
July 18, 2017 | Source: News18- India | Awareness, Accessible Design, Disability Rights | India
The Social Justice Ministry will organize a short film competition to raise awareness on making public places accessible for the differently-abled, an official statement said. The ministry is inviting applications in three categories — short documentaries of up to 30 minutes, short films of up to 5 minutes, and TV spots of up to 50 seconds. The last date for application submission is August 8. The participants may submit their entries shoot with any electronic device in HD (High Definition)format only, the statement said…
BillionAbles Makes It Easy to Find Accessible Restaurants and Other Public Places Near You
July 18, 2017 | Source: Gadget 360- India | Accessible Design, Food Service, Building/Facilities Access | India
If you are – or know – a differently-abled person, then you know that simple things like going out for dinner can be a big challenge in India where accessibility isn’t very high on the priority list. Most of our streets and public transport aren’t maintained keeping the differently-abled in mind, and the majority of our buildings don’t have basic amenities like ramps, braille signage, and so on. A recently launched Android app called BillionAbles wants to take on the issue by making it easier to find venues that are accessible, and to share information of this sort with other people as well…
Awards for those working on accessibility for disabled
July 18, 2017 | Source: Business Standard- India | Awards/Recognition, Universal Design, Inclusion | India
Leading IT company Mphasis on Tuesday announced the winners of the eighth edition of the “NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2017” that honours individuals and organisations doing exemplary work in the area of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)-Mphasis Universal Design Awards were initiated in 2010 to bring awareness on the issue of accessibility and to promote the concept of Universal Design — that is usable by everyone, regardless of age, ability or situation…
Calgary hopes to woo UberWAV
July 18, 2017 | Source: MetroNews- Canada | Transit/Transportation, Accessible Design, Inclusion | Canada
Uber’s Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (UberWAV) will come to Calgary, if the city has its way. That’s what the city’s chief compliance officer Marc Halat is hoping as his department works to come up with a way to make the city’s accessible taxis viable for both customers and drivers with one ultimate goal: improving service.
Ideally, the city’s accessible cab complement should be at 11 per cent, a number that’s mandated by council. But over the years, 15 drivers have shelved these plates, one due to a punitive action, meaning 9 per cent of the fleet is accessible. For Livery Transportation Advisory Committee member Lauri Brunner this erosion of accessible plates on Calgary’s streets is a concern. From where she sits there’s more worry in the future about the level of service she, and others with special needs, can expect…
CRTC approves use of $1.3M of Telus deferral account funds for accessibility improvements
July 18, 2017 | Source: Mobile Syrup- Canada | Innovation, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Inclusion | Canada
Canada’s telecom commissioner has approved the use of $1,335,909 CAD of deferral account funding for improving access to wireless services by people with disabilities. For wireless customers who are blind, the CRTC approved Telus’ application to offer a lower-price, easy-to-use phone for at least five years, drawing on $273,636 in funds. Telus hasn’t named the phone yet, but has specified that it will include a built-in screen reader, a tactile, audible and physical keypad, as well as an adjustable font size…
Disabled travel report – still some way to go
July 18, 2017 | Source: Transport Network- UK | Travel, Discrimination, Government, Disability Rights | United Kingdom
Around one in three trains are not meeting modern accessibility standards and even by 2019 a quarter of all rail journeys will still depart from stations that are not step-free. Transport minister Paul Maynard has conceded that currently only 70% of train fleets operating passenger services are up to standard and passengers will have to wait for at least another two and half years before the problem can be solved.
Mr Maynard told Parliament: ‘We are committed to improving accessibility of the rail network. Currently 70% of train fleets operating passenger services meet modern accessibility standards, up from just 39% as at January 2011, with the remaining vehicles due to be either upgraded or replaced by 1 January 2020…
Just So Festival awarded Attitude Is Everything’s Gold status
July 18, 2017 | Source: Music Week- UK | Awards/Recognition, Performing Arts, Deaf/Hearing Impaired | United Kingdom
Just So Festival has been awarded the Gold award on Attitude Is Everything’s (AIE) Charter of Best Practice. Allocated by the live music accessibility charity, the award marks Just So’s status as one of the UK’s most accessible events for deaf and disabled people, placing the festival alongside other Gold recipients Glastonbury, Greenbelt and Liberty Festival.
“Since first encountering AIE four years ago, their guidance and advice has really helped us to think differently about what our deaf and disabled audiences need,” said Just So festival director Sarah Bird. “From the outset they encouraged us to think of access as a conversation with our audience and it’s turned out to be a really inspiring and exciting conversation to have started…
Cape Bretoners weigh in on accessibility law
July 18, 2017 | Source: Cape Breton Post- Canada | Legislation/Policy, Government, Inclusion | Canada
Tuesday night, Cape Bretoners gathered at the Cambridge Suites hotel in Sydney to weigh in on a new federal accessibility law. Along with the federal government, the consultation was organized in part by the Alliance for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada, which is made up of 12 member organizations and four partner organizations from Canada’s disability community.
People met because the Government of Canada has committed to adopting a strong federal accessibility law to remove and prevent barriers facing people with disabilities. The Alliance has been consulting with Canadians across the country to collect their comments, concerns and suggestions about this new law…
#TourismForAll: Exploring the accessibility challenge for aging and wheelchair passengers
July 19, 2017 | Source: Traveller24- Africa | Travel, Aging, Mobility | Africa
Travel accessibility is crucial to the travel sector as the number of individuals travelling has increased over the years and is set to keep increasing. While there have been recent movements towards improving accessibility in travel, it needs to be addressed on both a local and international level.
South Africa increased accessibility across the tourism sector for the lower income, youth, elderly and the disabled. The National Department of Tourism stated in 2016 that they would be focusing on making more of the South African tourists attractions more accessible…
A vision of accessibility, becoming reality
July 19, 2017 | Source: Skanska Group- Poland | Workforce/Employment, Businesses, Accessible Design, Discrimination | Poland
Creating commercial and residential buildings that enable all people to thrive – here’s how we’re helping make that the industry standard in Central Europe. Consider how a person with special needs might experience an office building.
Suppose this person needs a wheelchair to move but the main entrance only has a revolving door, which doesn’t easily accommodate wheelchairs – getting inside will be a challenge. Suppose he or she has limited vision, but the horizontal and vertical sections of stair steps are entirely the same color – ascending and descending will likely be difficult. Or suppose the person doesn’t speak the local language, and the building signage is all in that language – navigating will take extra effort…
Royal Bank of Scotland have say on banking accessibility
July 20, 2017 | Source: Cumnock Chronicle- Scotland | Banking, Accessible Design, Mobile App, Mobility, Discrimination | Scotland
THE Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have responded to criticism of their mobile branches by claiming disabled customers can bank from their home without the use of the internet. With RBS set to close their branches in Mauchline and Cumnock, local MSP Jeane Freeman has called for the bank to introduce more accessible mobile branches.
The current mobile unit used in Dalmellington since the branch there was closed isn’t wheelchair friendly and customers with mobility problems have been forced to do their banking from the car park in all weather. However, RBS have said they have other options for customers who are unable to reach or use the mobile branch including banking from the comfort of their own home…
Biblica completes Accessible Edition of New Testament
July 20, 2017 | Source: Mission Network News- UK | Faith/Religion, Accessible Design, Inclusion | United Kingdom
Everyone deserves to know the message of hope found in God’s Word. But the reality is, even those who have the Bible in their own language can’t always fully experience it. In the UK, there are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities. That’s why Biblica, along with partners Livability, Torch Trust, and Urban Saints, created the New International Reader’s Version Accessible Edition, an easy-to-comprehend version of God’s Word that allows those with learning disabilities to understand God’s truth for themselves. After three years of work, Biblica recently released a New Testament in the UK.
Pete Winmill, who partnered with Biblica on the project, explains, “The challenge when speaking with Biblica was to say that we need a version that looks like an adult Bible — not a childish Bible, not a child-friendly Bible in that sense — but a Bible that is laid out in such a way where the font is a decent size, where the language is simple, where there are pictures that are adult pictures, and not like in a children’s Bible.”…
ICT for Development – Bridging the Digital Divide in India
July 20, 2017 | Source: eGov Magazine- India | Digital Accessibility, Technology, Accessible Design | India
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are integrated into many aspects of the society today and impact significantly on the individual’s quality of life and social development. As the world becomes more technology driven, the dependence on ICT has been tremendously increasing to enhance participation in the workplace, better education, access to healthcare and banking facilities etc. But are these services accessible to a person with the disability?
India is home to more than 100 million people with disabilities. Today, when Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a way of life, people with disabilities have been ignored to a large extent. People with disabilities are often ignored and assumed incapable of using technology. Their needs have often been neglected, and thus, a large part of their population find it difficult to get access to quality education, employment and enjoy independent living in society…
New £10 note features raised dots for blind and partially sighted
July 20, 2017 | Source: AOP- UK | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Innovation, Accessible Design | United Kingdom
The Bank of England has unveiled the new £10 note, which is the first banknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users. The banknote features a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner, which was developed in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Scott Lynch, RNIB director of solutions, told OT that the charity was delighted to work with the Bank of England in redesigning the new banknote with accessibility in mind. “In our testing with blind and partially sighted people these markings enabled correct identification of the note’s value, helping people to exchange money more easily and with confidence,” Mr Lynch explained to OT…
Dubai aims to be disabled-friendly by 2020
July 20, 2017 | Source: Gulf News- Dubai | Inclusion, Universal Design, Building/Facilities Access | United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s Executive Council is working to make public buildings and city facilities friendly for people with disabilities by 2020 — and more accessible for everybody. From this year, many new public spaces must fulfil a new emirate-wide, disabled-friendly code. At the same time, many older buildings must be retro-fitted to fulfil the requirements of the code.
The new rules are laid out in a detailed 330-word booklet called the Dubai Universal Design Code. Everything from the thickness of handrails (30mm) to the minimum distance of accessible toilets in public buildings (150 metres), they apply to transport facilities, hospitals and clinics, schools, colleges, mosques, hotels, tourist attractions, and leisure facilities such as art galleries and shopping malls…
Why disabled actress Sam Renke is supporting Parallel London
July 20, 2017 | Source: Disability Horizons- UK | Performing Arts, Advocacy, Inclusion | United Kingdom
The 3rd September sees the return of Parallel London, a mass-participation race for people of all abilities. Regular writer Carrie Aimes speaks to disabled actress Sam Renke, ambassador for Parallel London, about why the event is so important and why you should get involved. Despite her disability, 31 year-old Samantha Renke moved to London five years ago to pursue her long-held dream of becoming an actress. Now a familiar face to many, she has since starred in an award-winning film, music videos, webisodes as well as the popular Maltesers television advert. The former teacher is also a columnist, disability campaigner and charity worker.
As if all this is not enough to keep her busy, Samantha was recently appointed ambassador for Parallel London. Here, we learn more about the rising star and her involvement with Parallel London, the world’s first fully-inclusive, fully accessible mass-participation event…
Accessibility Blogs and Information
- Interview with Jack McElaney on Accessibility in the News- Video
- Accessibility is fascinating!
- Color Accessibility Workflows- Book
- Web Accessibility: A Real-World Example
- Color Accessibility with Geri Coady- Podcast
- Google Maps is letting users update key information #accessible
- Built Environment Accessibility Audit- University of Manitoba
- The ADA, Websites and the Decision in Robles v. Dominos Pizza LLC
- Team Type 1 Foundation Participating in Microsoft One Week Hackathon
- Daily Number- The overall voter turnout rate in the November 2016 elections
- The Miracle League: Bringing Accessible Baseball to People with Special Needs
- Website Accessibility, Digital Accessibility, & the Workplace for People Who Are Blind
- Is Your Website Accessible to Disabled Users? If Not, Courts Say You Could Be Violating the ADA
- If You Can’t Take the Stairs, Only 23 Percent of Subway Stations Are Accessible — on a Good Day
- UIC Accessibility Planning Guide- The Office for Access and Equity – University of Illinois at Chicago- PDF
- UK makerspaces: exploring how people with accessibility needs can take a more active role in the community of makers.
- Jaccede.com is an interactive platform (website and mobile app). This helps people with reduced mobility identify establishments that can meet their accessibility needs.
- Novi Community School District
- Town of Oakville
- Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services
- Hertfordshire County Council
- Arizona Department of Education
- California State University, Monterey Bay
Accessibility Announcements and Products
- Adecco pushes for diversity
- Demand to make bank vans wheelchair friendly
- Petition calls for reverse of Waverley disabled parking charges
- ATMIA publishes new ATM Accessibility Guide
- New handicapped icon shows up at Forecastle Festival
- Meaford Accessibility Recognition Program accepting nominations
- Somerville’s Temple B’nai Brith tackles accessibility obstacles
- City Inviting Public Input on Multi-Year Accessibility Plan
- Organization builds first ever handicap-accessible house
- Tour to highlight accessibility work at Veterans Stadium
- Second wheelchair-accessible taxi hits the streets- Videos
- Saskatchewan Provincial Parks buy wheelchairs for beach accessibility
- The price of eight new elevators? For PATCO, four years and $31 million
- A wish come true: a six-year-old’s own little log cabin from Make-a-Wish
- Habitat for Humanity offers repair service for low-income homeowners
- Debbie’s inspiring fight to make the Yorkshire Dales accessible to all
- Event offers glimpse of making travel more accessible to people of all abilities
- Construction of handicap-accessible park is dream come true for Vine Grove teenager
- New pedestrian-activated crossing signals provide safe passage in downtown St. Marys
- Greenwich Selectmen Ponder Rest Room Accessibility ahead of Chimes Building Restoration
- Pomona’s Lincoln Park to become accessible to the disabled without changing neighborhood’s look
- Effort Underway to Increase Accessibility at San Antonio City Hall & Architects Unveil ‘City Hall For All’ Design Projects
- Assistive Technologies for Visual Impairment Market in North America : Expected Major Development to be Observed across the by 2022
Accessibility Q&A and Tips
- Handicap Accessibility
- Make WordPress Accessible
- Web Weekly #17
- Visualization Module lacking header
- Search visualization types needs role=search
- Alpinus Hotel Accessibility
- What to do with update / clear visualization buttons
- Range fields in gauge / goal / metric (and likely others) visualization style not paired properly with labels
- How to set JAWS® and ZoomText® Fusion 11 to speak only numbers as you type without echoing each letter pressed
- Microsoft® Visual Studio 2005 Redistributables are no longer installed with the JAWS® 18 setup
- How to assign iOS 11’s Smart Invert ‘dark mode’ to the Home button
- Accessibility GoToMeeting
- Empty link causes accessibility testing failure
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. To receive Accessibility in the News first (before it hits our website!), please subscribe below for our email version. As a bonus, the newsletter version also includes information on upcoming training and resources.
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.
Please contact us for any questions you have about our accessibility services and how we might support your organization.