Accessibility in the News—01/19/17.
At least six of our curated articles this week provide insights on the U.S. Access Board’s recent updates to Section 508 accessibility standards—the standards that federal government and government contractors use to make information technology, such as software and websites, accessible to all. The update aligns Section 508 organization and requirements with internationally accepted standards and ever-converging technologies. Be sure to check out the training opportunities listed at the end of this issue, too.
Will the U.S. Department of Justice align their ADA website standards for the private sector and non-Section 508 organizations to WCAG as well? Several businesses have already adopted WCAG 20 as part of their website accessibility plan, including Motley Fool. Read on for insights…
Of course, disabilities affect access and culture “off-the-grid” as well—from transportation to hotel stays to enjoying a cup of coffee with friends. Those, as well as education, health costs, job applications, and more are also ahead…
AITN Quote of the Week
We are not all just abled or disabled, we are all temporarily abled.
— Christine Ha
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Understanding Compliance for ADA and Section 508 Regulations
1/13 | Source: Health Stream | ADA, WCAG, Section 508, Medical, Online Learning | United States
Several years ago, we started getting inquiries for our billing, security, and workforce compliance courses to be made compliant with ADA and 508 regulations. In particular, customers were expressing interest in the standards set forth by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as by the ADA. 508 compliance means that all users, regardless of disability status, can access technology. It’s a way to break down barriers and provide the same opportunities for all Internet users.
Compliance standards are set by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal agencies to provide software and website accessibility to people with disabilities. When websites are 508 Compliant, they are accessible to all users. This can mean that they are compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers. ADA compliance for websites has a similar goal and stems from the same regulation. Government entities that receive federal funding are generally required to conform with accessibility standards, as are their sub-contractors. By working to meet the standards of Section 508, along with recommendations from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and WebAIM organizations, we are now able to deliver our courseware to users in various categories and levels of vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities…
The Motley Fool Enhances Site for Accessibility
1/13 | Source: The Motley Fool | Structured Negotiation/Litigation, Business, Digital Accessibility, WCAG | United States
The Motley Fool today announced enhancements to its websites, mobile applications and emails to provide increased accessibility for individual investors with disabilities. “The ‘Motley’ in our name illustrates that our mission is to help people in all circumstances and in all stages of life,” said Chris Harris, Accessibility Project Manager at The Motley Fool. “We are excited that our enhanced services will allow us to reach and serve a broader community of Fools on their investing journeys.”
The enhancements were made with input from a community of blind individual investors with the goal of delivering The Motley Fool’s award-winning information and financial solutions to members of the public with visual impairments. “Having full access to financial investing tools is important for everyone,” says Thomas Foley, one of the visually impaired individual investors involved in the effort. “I’m happy that The Motley Fool will make its web and mobile platforms more accessible, particularly for people who are blind or partially sighted, so all individual investors can invest better.”…
WCAG 2.0 AA Gains Prominence as Website Accessibility Standard
1/13 | Source: The National Law Review | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Government, WCAG, ADA | United States
The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) finalized a regulation this week that will make the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) Level AA the design standard when interpreting and implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal agencies and contractors to make their websites accessible to disabled individuals. Affected federal agencies and contractors will have one year from the publication of the final rule to comply with the revised 508 standards, which would place the compliance deadline sometime in early 2018.
The Access Board’s adoption of WCAG 2.0 Level AA strongly suggests that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will likewise adopt that standard when it finally issues its regulations. The process to issue its final regulations is not even projected to start until late 2018. As we have noted in the past, the DOJ and many courts have ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires accessibility for the websites of most private businesses even in the absence of DOJ regulations…
Accessible accommodations when travelling: Travel Smart
1/13 | Source: The Star | Travel/Leisure, Mobility, Innovation
Having a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to exploring the world. But as Daniel Humphrey found on trips with his father Alan, who needs a wheelchair to get around, not all hotels claiming to be accessible are quite as advertised. And it’s the reason he launched a website where travellers can rate actual hotel accessibility based on their personal experiences.
Unable to walk since suffering a spinal cord injury in 2005 following a 40-foot (12-metre) fall while working as a qualified ski instructor, the senior Humphrey didn’t want his disability to hamper family travel plans. On their trips, the Humphreys booked into one so-called “wheelchair accessible” establishment where Alan had to roll through a busy restaurant kitchen and crammed dining room every time they wanted to enter and exit the hotel…
United States: WCAG 2.0 AA Is The New Accessibility Standard For Federal Agency Websites
1/16 | Source: Mondaq | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Government, WCAG | United States
The federal government has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Levels A and AA as its accessibility standard for federal agency websites, making it very likely that the Department of Justice will also adopt this standard for public accommodations websites in its forthcoming regulations.
Businesses working on making their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities often ask us what technical standard they should be using since the ADA Title III regulations do not yet specify a standard. We believe the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) will likely adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Levels A and AA (“WCAG 2.0 AA”) as the standard for public accommodations websites for a number of reasons, including the fact that WCAG 2.0 AA is the access standard used in all DOJ settlement agreements and consent decrees about websites and mobile apps…
Kelly’s flat sizes ‘too small to be wheelchair accessible’
1/16 | Source: The Irish Times | Mobility, Residential/Housing | Dublin, Ireland
Minimum apartment sizes, introduced a year ago by former minister for the environment Alan Kelly, are too small to be wheelchair accessible, according to Dublin City Council’s architects’ division. The council had set the minimum size of public or private one-bed apartments at 55sq m (592sq ft), two-bed apartments at 90sq m (969sq ft) and three-bed apartments at 100sq m (1,076sq ft).
Mr Kelly had blamed excessive size standards for deterring construction and in December 2015 set new standards which set one-bed apartments at 45sq m (484sq ft), two-bed apartments at 73sq m (786sq ft) and three-bed apartments at 90sq m (969sq ft). Deputy city architect Brian Swan said he has attempted to design accessible apartments within the minimum size restrictions, but has been unable to do so…
Minnesotans With Disabilities Lobby For Reduction Of Medicaid Spend-Down
1/17 | Source: The Huffington Post | Healthcare/Medicaid, Brain Injury | Minnesota, United States
A group of Citizen Advocates, spearheaded by the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, are spending Tuesdays at the Capitol in an effort to bring their personal stories to the forefront of their Legislature’s radar. Here is a brief overview of how the system currently works (Note: Medicaid, Medical Assistance, and MA all refer to the same program):
Medical Assistance with Disability qualifying limit is 100% of the poverty level, or $990 per month, and an asset limit of $3,000. The spend-down for people with disabilities is 80% of the poverty level, or $792 per month…
Justice Department Pushes Law Enforcement On ADA Compliance
1/17 | Source: Disability Scoop | Law Enforcement, Government, Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, DOJ, ADA | United States
Federal officials are highlighting the responsibilities of everyone from police to courts and attorneys in ensuring that people with developmental disabilities are treated fairly. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities during interactions with the criminal justice system, according to new guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Pursuant to the ADA, state and local government criminal justice entities — including police, courts, prosecutors, public defense attorneys, jails, juvenile justice and corrections agencies — must ensure that people with mental health disabilities or (intellectual and developmental disabilities) are treated equally in the criminal justice system and afford them equal opportunity to benefit from safe, inclusive communities,” the federal agency said…
We Sign Cafe – Starbucks UK Baristas Raise Awareness of Deaf Culture
1/17 | Source: Disabled World | Travel/Leisure, Deafness/Hearing Impairment, BSL | London, England
It’s not uncommon for customers visiting London’s Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf Starbucks to sign “good morning” and “thank you” as they place their orders. It’s part of the payoff from an ongoing effort by the store’s manager, Toro Manca, and his fellow partners (employees) to promote Deaf awareness through a program called We Sign Café.
A meetup of partners, customers and others, We Sign Café is hosted by Deaf baristas Manu Sulaiman and Haytam Lakb, who provide instruction in British Sign Language as part of the monthly sessions. Sulaiman, who is studying accounting and hopes to become a store manager, was hired in 2015. Lakb, an aspiring actor, became a partner in 2016.
“Manu and Haytam are so proud to be given the chance to share the language and culture, not only to our partners, but to our customers,” Manca said…
New IT accessibility rules catch up to 17 years of changes
1/17 | Source: Federal News Radio | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Government | United States
Remember the year 2000? No, not Y2K, but the hot, must-have technology. Back then you wanted a Gateway computer with a 550MHz chip and a year of AOL for free (that’s America Online, in case you weren’t sure). LG had just put out a phone with a monochrome touch screen that had an address book AND an organizer. And PlayStation 2 had just given gamers something to be excited about because it played CDs and DVDs and could support better resolution.
That year also was the first time the U.S. Access Board issued regulations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Two years before that, in 1998, the board also issued regulations to implement Section 255 of the Communications Act. Both of these regulations would help agencies ensure people with disabilities could use information technology and communications (ICT) equipment such as faxes, copiers and printers in federal offices.
Now more than 17 years later, the board issued updated regulations just in time for the virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the iPhone 7…
Trump Education Pick Seemingly ‘Confused’ About IDEA
1/18 | Source: Disability Scoop | Education, Government, IDEA, Department of Education | United States
Under sharp questioning from senators, the nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education suggested that it should be up to states to decide whether schools must follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. During a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos late Tuesday, she was pressed repeatedly about her stance on special education.
A billionaire who has never worked in public education, DeVos is a champion of charter schools and voucher programs. Her comments on special education left some lawmakers questioning her knowledge of the needs of students with disabilities and their rights under the law.
“I think that is a matter that’s best left to the states,” DeVos said when asked by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., if she believed that all schools receiving taxpayer dollars should be required to adhere to the mandates of the IDEA…
Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 1: Boots
1/18 | Source: User Vision | Digital Accessibility, Business | United Kingdom
For our Accessibility Review of Online Retailers blog series we are starting with the popular UK company Boots. Boots operates over 2,500 stores across the UK ranging from local pharmacies to large health and beauty stores.
In terms of physical accessibility in the shops, they were the first high street retailer to work with DisabledGo which provides detailed and independent information for disabled people when accessing their local area. Boots has a section on its ‘Company Information’ page dedicated to accessibility. Here, it states ‘we have been actively addressing accessibility since 2001 – one of the first companies to do so in the UK’.
Nature for the Blind: Connecting People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired with Opportunities for Outdoor Exploration
1/19 | Source: Fred’s Head | Travel, Blindness/Visual Impairment
What ideas and thoughts come to mind when you think of nature, especially as it relates to persons who are blind and how they interact with it? Perhaps you’ve had experiences as I have where people with typical vision talked about how much they wished I could see one or more aspects of nature or some outdoor phenomenon that seemed only to be understood by people with typical eyesight.
While people with blindness and low vision may not experience the outdoors in the same way as people with typical vision, they can enjoy it, learn about it, and experience it in their own unique way. This post highlights a new website, http://www.naturefortheblind.com/, dedicated to enhancing the understanding and interaction with nature and the outdoors by people who are blind and visually impaired. We will discuss the site’s founder and his inspiration for creating it, the information the site provides, and how you may add to its content…
About the Update of the Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines for Information and Communication Technology
1/19 | Source: United States Access Board | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Section 255 | United States
On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. This document provides an overview of the rule and highlights substantive changes to the ICT requirements. The preamble to the final rule discusses the requirements in greater detail.
Section 508 and 255 Refresh with reload iconThe Access Board’s final rule revises and refreshes its standards for information and communication technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Board’s Section 508 Standards, which were first issued in 2000, apply to ICT developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies. Examples include computers, telecommunications equipment, multifunction office machines such as copiers that also function as printers, software, websites, information kiosks and transaction machines, and electronic documents…
Online job applications must be accessible to people with disabilities
1/19 | Source: News OK | Digital Accessibility, Jobs/Employment, Business, ADA | Oklahoma, United States
Q: What are some of the basic tenets of the Americans with Disabilities Act that Oklahomans should know?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the central federal statutory scheme in place to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. In that regard, the ADA prohibits disability-based discrimination in public and private employment, public services operated by state and local governments, and places of public accommodation. Under the ADA, an individual has a disability if he or she has, or is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. In the employment context, the ADA specifically forbids discrimination against “qualified individuals with disabilities,” meaning those that can perform the essential functions of their job with or without a reasonable accommodation. Additionally, the ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees…
Section 508 Refresh (Part 1)
1/19 | Source: The Paciello Group | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Government | United States
Over 8 years ago the US Access Board received a final report from an advisory committee focused on refreshing the accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This was commonly referred to as the “Section 508 Refresh”. Today we can finally call this important milestone complete and look forward to process and innovation in the field of accessibility.
In 1998 the U.S. Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. This amendment is known as Section 508.
This law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic information technology. EIT applies to a broad range of categories and products including: telephones, computers, kiosks, web sites, applications, multimedia, office equipment and electronic documents…
New Regulation Setting Federal Agency Website Standard Published, Setting Compliance Deadline
1/19 | Source: Seyfarth Shaw | Digital Accessibility, Section 508, Government, WCAG | United States
Final Rule Setting WCAG 2.0 AA as the Federal Agency Website Standard Published in Federal Register, Triggering Compliance Deadline of January 18, 2018.
Last week we reported that the Access Board announced a final rule, under the authority of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, requiring the websites and electronic content of federal agencies to conform to WCAG 2.0 AA within one year of the date the rule is published in the Federal Register…
Accessibility Training and Information
- CSUN 2017 Conference — San Diego, CA
Date: February 27 to March 4, 2017
- IA Summit 2017 Vancouver — British Columbia
Date: March 22 to 26, 2017
- 2017 TxDLA Annual Conference — Galveston, Texas
Date: March 28-31, 2017
- How the blind use technology to see the world
Austin Seraphin — TEDxPhiladelphia
- How the Blind See the World
Christine Ha — TEDxUCSD
- Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Easy Checks—A First Review of Web Accessibility
- Arkansas State University
- Sterling National Bank
- Cornerstone Bank
- Rapport Credit Union
- Community First
Accessibility Product Releases and Announcements
- Success with Browsealoud
- Wearable sensor device helps visually impaired to sense their environment
- NVDA 2016.4 Now Available
- This incredible futuristic suit helps the blind ‘see’ the world around them
- Four steps to an accessible PDF
- User1st Partners with Caraflow to Offer Web Accessibility Solution for Healthcare Organizations
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.