Accessibility in the News—6/30/17.
The landmark website accessibility decision against Winn-Dixie has a lot of retailers on high alert. A decision against Hobby Lobby‘s request to dismiss their accessibility case soon followed. Legal commentators continue to urge retailers to heed the messages in these outcomes: Websites can be and are often considered public accommodations subject to ADA requirements. Physical spaces must be accessible to people with disabilities; so should online environments.
On the other hand, technology giant Apple continues to improve digital accessibility across its family of products. SEO and baby boomer pundits also say that making websites accessible to people with disabilities is simply proactive, good business.
While industry has been slower to place accessibility in a “required” category, government, including primary and secondary education, has had a mandate to make their digital content accessible for years. Still, a university that had a strong reputation for physical access got dinged for a less-than-accessible website. And a school district in Texas also found itself on the receiving end of an Office of Civil Rights complaint.
As we head into Independence Day in the U.S., there are a several other items that stress personal independence, simple good citizenship, and of course, our country’s legislative process as the nation grapples with changes to its healthcare budget. Also, be sure to also read about the blind swimmer; the university student at Notre Dame, and both a play and a playspace intentionally designed for individuals with disabilities.
As we strive to make the digital world a more usable and empowering place for people with disabilities, we wish everyone a Happy Independence Day.
AITN Quote of the Week
“Autism is not a disease, rather a disability that every day I strive to become an A-bility.”
— Kerry Magro
National News (U.S.)
US District Court in California Hobby Lobby Case
June 15, 2017 | Source: (PDF) | Government, Lawsuits/Litigation, Web Design, Discrimination, Blindness/Visual Impairment
On May 12, 2017, Defendant Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (“Hobby Lobby”) filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). On May 22, 2017, Plaintiff Sean Gorecki (“Plaintiff”) filed his Opposition. On May 26, 2017, Hobby Lobby filed its Reply. Pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 7-15, the Court found the matter appropriate for submission on the papers without oral argument. The matter was, therefore, removed from the Court’s June 12, 2017 hearing calendar, and the parties were given advance notice. After considering the motion, opposing, and reply papers, and the arguments therein, the Court rules as follows:..
Why Not Now: Vivian Stancil
June 21, 2017 | Source: Vimeo | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Awareness, Awards/Recognition
At the age of 49, blind and afraid of water, Vivian Stancil dove in to save her life. (Video)…
Ramping up accessibility: Churchgoers benefit from Eagle Scout’s project
June 22, 2017 | Source: Daily Journal | Mobility, Faith/Religion, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion | Indiana
When a Whiteland teen learned his church needed a better wheelchair accessible ramp, he knew he had found his Eagle Scout project. And now that the work is done, a fellow church family can more easily get to services. Whiteland Community High School junior Brandon Lingenfelter and his family attend SouthPointe Church in Whiteland, where the Fox family also attends. The Fox’s son, Aidan, 7, has a condition called dystonia, a movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm. Aidan uses a wheelchair…
Winn-Dixie case may compel retailers to make their websites ADA compliant
A federal judge in Miami last week ruled Winn-Dixie violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not making its website available to blind and visually impaired individuals, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The case could have far-reaching consequences around retailers’ need to make their websites accessible to disabled individuals.
The ADA doesn’t specifically discuss website accessibility, but according to the Miami ruling, the retailer’s site constituted a “place of public accommodation” that falls under the law’s compliance. According to legal experts interviewed by the Dispatch, retailers that don’t have accessible websites may be subject to lawsuits similar to the one in Miami. The threat of bad publicity may compel many to update their sites, they said…
Residents struggle when sidewalks end
June 24, 2017 | Source: Victoria Advocate | Mobility, Architecture, Facilities Access, Discrimination
For Dawn Arnold, 34, running errands in Victoria can mean driving her motorized wheelchair through the streets when sidewalks end—or when there are no sidewalks at all. Arnold, who is studying marketing at the University of Houston-Victoria, relies on her mother to drive her around town in a van that’s retrofitted to accommodate her wheelchair.
With her mother’s help, Arnold said she usually can get to Victoria’s shops, businesses and restaurants—unless their entrances lack ramps and are built atop curbs, forcing her to ask able-bodied patrons to help lift her inside. Arnold and other Victoria residents with disabilities struggle to get around the city. This reality remains 27 years after federal law required all cities to make facilities such as streets and buildings accessible for people with disabilities…
At this month’s WWDC, Apple unveiled refined accessibility tools
June 25, 2017 | Source: TechCrunch | Apple, Digital Accessibility, Inclusion, Innovation
Cover Apple for a while and you start to notice a general cadence to the company’s behavior and strategy. To name one example, consider the last several macOS releases. In 2009, Apple announced Snow Leopard, which famously eschewed new features for what the company described as “hundreds of refinements [and] new core technologies.”
Snow Leopard subsequently set off a trend in which every other version of macOS (née Mac OS X) to date aspired to reach similar goals. Lion begot Mountain Lion. Yosemite begot El Capitan. Now Apple’s doing it yet again: Sierra has begotten High Sierra. Talking to Apple people at WWDC, I got a profound sense that the company’s approach to accessibility across all of its platforms runs through a very similar vein to that of High Sierra. There are new features, as always, but like the Mac, Apple’s accessibility feature set is mostly fully mature. Hence the emphasis on refinements, such as the work Apple put in on iOS to reduce truncation of Dynamic Type at the largest settings. Text flows differently so users see more content…
Prolonged CT budget standoff will hurt towns, disabled, needy
June 26, 2017 | Source: CT Mirror | Government, Discrimination, Litigation | Connecticut
If no new state budget is in place by Saturday, Connecticut will be on a path to overspend its resources by an average of nearly $200 million per month. And with less than $130 million in the emergency reserve, that’s a problem.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be asked, starting Saturday, to avert that catastrophe, preserve essential services, cover escalating debt payments and distribute aid to municipalities — without the tax and fee increases that could be included in a new budget. Malloy’s budget director told The Mirror on Friday that can be done — for a while — but not without significant sacrifice, including cutbacks in programs for the needy and disabled, and in payments to towns…
Give Your SEO a Boost With These 12 Accessibility Improvements
June 26, 2017 | Source: Search Engine Journal | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, ADA, Inclusion
For those of you with a brick-and-mortar business location, you’re familiar with the concept of accessibility and why it’s a necessity for any company that intends to engage with the general public. In the United States, not accommodating those with disabilities is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities act; reasonable accommodations must be provided to everyone who visits your establishment.
But accessibility isn’t something that should be relegated to storefronts that receive a steady amount of foot traffic each day. Accessibility is an especially pertinent matter for companies that do business online. When you think about it, people with accessibility issues would probably be more interested in doing business online as any physical, visual, auditory, speech, or cognitive barriers they have wouldn’t be as much of a problem virtually. Or so you would think…
Americans with disabilities are fighting the Senate’s potentially devastating health care bill
June 26, 2017 | Source: Mic | Government, Litigation, Discrimination
As Republicans in the Senate work to pass their recently unveiled health care bill, activists are organizing to stop what they see as an attack on lives of people with disabilities. The core problem that advocates have with the bill are its deep cuts to Medicaid, a program best known for providing health care to low-income people, but one which the disabled community also greatly relies upon.
“Medicaid is by far the primary form of health insurance used by people with disabilities,” Colin Killick, a strategist with the political action committee Disability Action for America, said in an interview. “This bill is an attack on independence.”…
Santa Rosa grinds out accessibility upgrades
June 26, 2017 | Source: THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | Building/Facilities Access, Mobility, Inclusion
Seven years after Santa Rosa agreed to make its buildings, parks and sidewalks easier to navigate for people with disabilities, the city is still chipping away at the multimillion-dollar problem. Many of the upgrades the city has made — from lowering hand dryers in public bathrooms for people in wheelchairs to adding yellow tactile warning strips at intersections for the visually impaired — have been installed with little fanfare.
But some of the bigger projects, pushed off because of their high cost, are now underway, some in highly visible locations that significantly raise the projects’ profiles. The work in and around the 152-acre Howarth Park, the city’s busiest, is one such example. The city recently ripped out and replaced a long stretch of buckled sidewalk along Summerfield Road next to the park’s lower parking lot. As part of the project, the city cut down several large mature trees, whose roots had forced several concrete slabs upward…
The future is emotional
June 27, 2017 | Source: Aeon Media Group | Technology, Innovation, Inclusion
Early last year, the World Economic Forum issued a paper warning that technological change is on the verge of upending the global economy. To fill the sophisticated jobs of tomorrow, the authors argued, the ‘reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical’. Around the same time, the then president Barack Obama announced a ‘computer science for all’ programme for elementary and high schools in the United States. ‘[W]e have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future, which means not just being able to work with computers but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy,’ he said.
But the truth is, only a tiny percentage of people in the post-industrial world will ever end up working in software engineering, biotechnology or advanced manufacturing. Just as the behemoth machines of the industrial revolution made physical strength less necessary for humans, the information revolution frees us to complement, rather than compete with, the technical competence of computers. Many of the most important jobs of the future will require soft skills, not advanced algebra…
Despite reputation, University of Illinois struggles with web accessibility
June 27, 2017 | Source: CU-CitizenAccess | Higher Education, Digital Accessibility, Web Design | Illinois
If Tim Offenstein had to grade the University of Illinois in terms of web accessibility, he said he would give a B or C+. Offenstein, an adjunct faculty member and administrator within Technology Services who focuses on web accessibility, said he did not base this rating on websites, necessarily, but more on the administration’s “slow pace” to adopt an accessibility policy and make accessibility “a driving force or pillar in what we try to do.”
“It’s somewhat ironic because the University has long enjoyed a high reputation for physical access,” Offenstein said. Offenstein credited former University of Illinois professor Tim Nugent, known as the father of accessibility for starting the first comprehensive program in higher education for students with disabilities…
Leverage Boomer’s Abilities to Their Greatest Potential With Accessible User Interface
June 27, 2017 | Source: Huffington Post | Discrimination, Workforce/Employment, Discrimination
As the population grows older, boomers are requiring better tech to stay competitive in the workplace. I recently came across the story of Ann Dobija, a senior IT program/project manager at IBM for 13 years. She was forced into unemployment and replaced with an H1B professional (a technical worker without the formal education for the job). Despite her loyalty to the organization and vast experience in her role, Ann has been unable to secure a job since her layoff due to her lesser technical expertise.
Those over the age of 55 have the highest rate of unemployment in the U.S. Despite this generation’s experience and loyalty, companies have embraced the transition to hiring millennial workers, making use of cost efficiencies and new skill sets. The fact of the matter is, baby boomers cannot compete with the new skills that millennials bring to the table. Regardless of their years of expertise, credentials and skill sets, it does not cut it anymore in the modern workplace. Companies are agile, and job roles are changing. Many boomers’ skills are not aligned with their company strategy. Companies require heavy technical skills, which many boomers do not possess from their education…
WWVA Donors Enable Accessible Spaces
June 27, 2017 | Source: Gleaner Now | Mobility , ADA, Inclusion
“I want to go to a real academy,” begged Abby Pontius from a spot near her mother‘s desk in the family’s furniture store. She had been taking online classes through a co-op for years and as she grew older, the experience of only meeting with teachers once or twice a week became increasingly isolating. Add the chaos of doing homework in the middle of a busy store during the day, and the stress was becoming intense.
Pontius has cerebral palsy due to a head injury at birth, which left her with extra challenges. “I know that I’m different,” she says, “but I want to be able to participate.” All of her siblings attended Adventist academies, and she wanted to follow suit. “ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] accessibility is a real issue,” says her mother, Robin Pontius. “I kept reminding her it was just a dream.”…
Forgotten Americans: People With Disabilities
June 27, 2017 | Source: Huffington Post | Government, Discrimination, Litigation
Americans with disabilities are a part of the “Forgotten Americans” whom President Trump pledged to remember. On the campaign trail, at rallies across America, Candidate Trump repeatedly spoke to the Forgotten American, saying: I am your champion. No longer will you be forgotten. No longer will you be invisible.
In mid-May President Trump, brandishing a one-page document, set forth his proposed FY 2018 budget for America and his vision for our future. It includes massive cuts: income tax cuts for the wealthy and assistance cuts for those in need. These cuts are carried forward in the Senate’s proposed Repeal and Replace Healthcare Bill. People with disabilities: still forgotten, still invisible in the president’s proposed budget…
High Heeled Wheeler
June 28, 2017 | Source: University of Notre Dame | Mobility, Higher Education, Inclusion, Advocacy
When your father starts a drug company that saves your life and gets featured in a Hollywood film starring Harrison Ford, it can be hard to step into the spotlight on your own. Especially when you’re in a wheelchair and have a tracheostomy tube for breathing. And when muscle weakness limits your voice strength and your ability to open your jaw more than two centimeters. And when you attend his alma mater.
But Megan Crowley, a rising junior at Notre Dame, loves shoes. So she’s putting her best foot forward to develop her personal brand online in a blog called High Heeled Wheels that documents her life and its challenges and triumphs as a person living with a rare disease called Pompe…
Plaintiffs Score Another Victory in a Website Accessibility Lawsuit
June 28, 2017 | Source: Lexology | Lawsuits/Litigation, Government, Digital Accessbility, ADA | California
A federal judge in the Central District of California has allowed a blind plaintiff to continue his lawsuit about the accessibility of a public accommodation’s website under Title III of the ADA, despite the diametrically opposite views of his Central District colleague.
Within a week after a Florida federal judge handed down a trial verdict finding that Winn Dixie had violated Title III of the ADA by having a website that could not be used by the blind plaintiff, U.S. District Judge John Walter of the Central District of California ruled that blind plaintiff Sean Gorecki could continue his lawsuit against retailer Hobby Lobby about the accessibility of its website. The retailer had asked the court to dismiss the case on various grounds, all of which were rejected by the judge. The case will now move forward…
NYC & Company unveils new accessibility resources for visitors
NYC & Company’s online Accessible NYC travel tool aims to make trip planning that much easier for all travellers. “Every single person who visits should be able to experience the countless attractions offered throughout New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our goal is to make sure accessibility does not stand in the way of enjoying incredible destinations across all five boroughs. Accessible NYC visitor resources help make that goal a reality.”
Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, said the new Accessible NYC guide will help visitors confidently choose NYC as their next travel destination, and helps to further reinforce that all are welcome. “New York City is the most inspirational and exciting destination on the planet, and we believe that experiencing its attractions and energy should be accessible to every visitor.”…
Opportunities for Everyone: The Dip Ship Offers Wheelchair Accessible Dip-Netting on the Kenai
June 29, 2017 | Source: Echo News | Mobility, Sports/Entertainment, Leisure/Entertainment, Inclusion | Alaska
Glen Trombley’s first ideas about providing Alaska residents with accessible outdoor activities came from the desire to share his father and older brother’s goal of building a special needs fishing lodge back in the early 90s. A wheelchair limited a family friend’s ability to take part in the outdoor activities available in Alaska. Trombley was a twenty year old college student at the time.
It would be many years later when Trombley, with the help and support from several very close friends and family, was able to begin work on The Dip Ship, a specially designed, wheelchair accessible pontoon boat. The Dip Ship allows Alaska residents with disabilities that affect mobility to enjoy and appreciate the great Alaskan outdoors, and also allows families to spend time together on the water…
Newly expanded Park City ropes course, accessible to all, is ‘life-changing headquarters’
June 29, 2017 | Source: Salt Lake City Tribune | Inclusion, Aging, Cognitive | Utah
It’s unlikely that any of the kids with arthritis had a clue last week that the gregarious guy helping them into harnesses for a trip up the National Ability Center’s expanded ropes course was an absolute mess 2½ years ago. Post-traumatic stress disorder from two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf had left Tim Bates “a recluse, you might say,” barely surviving in his hometown of New Orleans.
But a counselor at a Warrior Camp, a clinical treatment program that tries to heal military veterans’ trauma and prevent suicides, suggested he travel to Utah to test some of the ways in which the National Ability Center helps people with disabilities rebuild their confidence and their lives…
D.C. Rights Group Sues Uber Over Lack Of Wheelchair Access
A D.C.-based civil rights group is suing Uber, claiming the ride-hailing giant violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate service for people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users who require vehicles equipped with ramps. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the Equal Rights Center claims Uber and its subsidiaries “have chosen not to include wheelchair-accessible vehicles in their growing fleet.”
“Were they to be accessible to wheelchair users, Uber’s transportation services could have life-changing effects for wheelchair users, improving their ability to work, study, participate in community life, and generally to live more independently,” said the 29-page complaint. “Instead, Uber has adopted and enforced policies that exclude wheelchair users from its basic services entirely, or else provide deficient services to wheelchair users.”…
UISD will update website to address complaints alleging inaccessibility
June 28, 2017 | Source: Laredo Morning Times | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Education, Advocacy | Texas
UISD recently entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights after it received a complaint alleging its website is inaccessible to students and adults with disabilities. The complaint was filed on Feb. 7 by Marcie Lipsitt, a special education advocate from Michigan.
In 2016, Lipsitt filed almost 900 complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights advocating for web accessibility for students with disabilities. In the past 17 months, she has filed 1,500 complaints across the country. Lipsitt said United Independent School District’s website is inaccessible to people who suffer from vision and fine motor impairment. She decided to look into the district’s website after receiving a message from a parent…
RIT startups use technology for products that increase accessibility
June 29, 2017 | Source: Democrat & Chronicle | Technology, Mobility, Innovation, Inclusion
By squinting, Rochester Institute of Technology student Daniel Berg caused the wheelchair he was testing to move forward. When he squinted again, the wheelchair came to a stop. Berg, 23, who is a mechanical engineering student, is part of a team of RIT students working on a product — called Co-Pilot — designed to help people with neurological disorders use a wheelchair when they can’t operate it with their hands.
The device — a control box that converts head movements into electrical signals to move a wheelchair’s joystick — is an example of how RIT has been promoting the development of products that provide greater accessibility. “We are leveraging technology and good design to provide better access to people who have limited access,” said Dan Phillips, an associate professor of electrical engineering at RIT…
Jack Fact — According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 5 percent of the world’s population — or about 360 million people — are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Unusual Language That Linguists Thought Couldn’t Exist
June 20, 2017 | Source: Nautilus- Israel | Inclusion, Innovation | Israel
People don’t sprout multiple heads, languages tend to veer away from certain forms that might spring from an imaginative mind. For example, one core property of human languages is known as duality of patterning: meaningful linguistic units (such as words) break down into smaller meaningless units (sounds), so that the words sap, pass, and asp involve different combinations of the same sounds, even though their meanings are completely unrelated.
It’s not hard to imagine that things could have been otherwise. In principle, we could have a language in which sounds relate holistically to their meanings—a high-pitched yowl might mean “finger,” a guttural purr might mean “dark,” a yodel might mean “broccoli,” and so on. But there are stark advantages to duality of patterning. Try inventing a lexicon of tens of thousands of distinct noises, all of which are easily distinguished, and you will probably find yourself wishing you could simply re-use a few snippets of sound in varying arrangements…
How long would it take to make India accessible for differently abled?
June 25, 2017 | Source: Free Press Journal- India | Travel, Mobility, Inclusion | India
“I stopped travelling by train,” said Mrunal Nakashe. “In case, I want to travel to places outside Mumbai, I prefer travelling by airlines,” added Nakashe, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in his childhood and uses crutches to move around.
Nakashe took this decision in 2013-14 after he realised that travelling by trains even for short distance in Metro is not getting smoother for him. This is same in case of the 1.6 crore people who are inflicted with locomotor disabilities (this figure is as per Rehabilitation Council of India, 2000 report). The number is still huge if you consider the other forms of disabilities…
Part of your world: Globe Theatre offers ‘accessible’ performance of The Little Mermaid
June 25, 2017 CBC News- Canada | Performing Arts, Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion | Canada
Regina resident Michelle Bush had the chance to enjoy theatre in a whole new way on Saturday. Leaving the Globe Theatre with her friend and her seeing-eye dog, the longtime fan of the theatre said she was often held back because of her visual impairment.
She heard about audio-described performances at venues in Vancouver and sent an email to Regina’s Globe Theatre suggesting they look into it. “Within 10 minutes I got a reply back saying, ‘That is awesome. We should do that. Let’s set up a meeting.'” Four months later, five people in Saturday’s audience were able to take in the Globe’s first audio-described performance, including Bushda…
Businesses can no longer ignore the importance of web accessibility in a digitalised world
June 26, 2017 | Source: ITProPortal- UK | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Aging, Inclusion | United Kingdom
Due to the “baby boom” period in the 1960’s, the average age of Britain’s population is rising, with a particular spike in those aged 50 and over. As a result of this aging population, we’re naturally seeing a rise in those who are living with impairments, as well as those who may struggle to use the Internet as effectively as their younger, more tech-savvy counterparts.
With this in mind, businesses need to ensure that their online services are easily accessible by all – one mistake seen far too often is businesses assuming that all their customers have the same level of knowledge when it comes to technology. By not making their websites easily accessible to those who are a little older or are perhaps living with an impairment of some description, companies could be missing out on a huge swathe of their potential customer base…
New play space opens at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown
June 26, 2017 | Source: The Guardian- Canada | Health/Medical, Inclusion, Mobility | Canada
Playtime is a welcome reprieve during seven-year-old Dakota Mullally’s lengthy stints in hospital. The Kingston, P.E.I. boy lives with tubular myopathy, a disorder that primarily affects the skeletal muscles – muscles the body uses for movement.
While his mobility is limited, Dakota finds plenty of fun in the therapeutic play space at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s pediatrics department. A ride on the swing or a tapping of the piano play panel gives the boy enjoyment in trips to the QEH, where lately he has been spending at least one week a month…
Championing Accessibility at the Guardian
June 26, 2017 | Source: Guardian- UK | Digital Accessibility, Universal Design, Web Design | United Kingdom
What is digital accessibility, and how it can be considered part of universal design? How do we inform others of design considerations for a global audience, and common accessibility tools? In preparation for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the Guardian Accessibility Working Group decided to run a workshop for our colleagues.
Our aim was to talk about digital accessibility, and how it can be considered part of universal design. We wanted to explain the importance of these two concepts, while also getting our colleagues to try out some digital accessibility tools!…
Funding boost for Moors Valley Country Park and Forest
June 27, 2017 | Source: Salisbury Journal- UK | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Mobility, Cognitive, Leisure/Entertainment | United Kingdom
MOORS Valley Country Park and Forest near Ringwood is benefitting from a share in a half-million pound National Lottery-funded scheme to improve access for visitors with mobility and sensory impairments.
The Heritage Ability scheme, established by Living Options Devon, was awarded £527,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, to build a greater understanding of the barriers experienced by disabled and deaf people when visiting heritage sites in the south west. Moors Valley is one of 18 heritage sites to benefit from the funding…
Best practices for sports facilities wanting to provide complete accessibility
June 27, 2017 | Source: West – Welfare Society Territory- Italy | Sports/Athletics, Mobility, Universal Design, Building/Facilities Access | Italy
Athletes with disabilities have to compete, not only for medals in the pool or on the track. But the structural barriers all around them force them to compete in their daily lives 24/7. Simple activities like taking a shower after practice or opening one’s locker in the dressing room can become a real nightmare, given that the majority of sports facilities are not completely accessible.
And this is, in fact, the message behind the spot that was recently launched in Holland, but the same is true in almost all countries around the world. The campaign aims at raising awareness and funds for restructuring facilities to meet the needs of athletes with handicaps. In Spain, as weak in this area as the other countries mentioned, an informative web page has been published that outlines best practices for sports facilities that want to provide accessibility for all of their patrons…
If you believe what TfL says about championing disabled passengers, you need to hear about my horrific journeys
June 27, 2017 | Source: Independent- UK | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Discrimination | United Kingdom
“London’s the one place in the world I actually feel less disabled.” That was the legend borne by a Transport for London ad, spotted at (inaccessible) Kennington tube station. Click on TfL’s website and you can find more of the same.
“How we help all our customers get around London,” it proudly declares before a feature on the “accessible travel stories” of four disabled blokes. Note to TfL – there are these people called women. You might have heard of them. It might be a good idea to feature some of them when you’re next thinking about this sort of thing. But I digress. “Read their stories and see if you could take more journeys than you think!” the website importunes, amid much self-congratulation. Look at us! Aren’t we super!…
National Lottery funding to transform historic sites across South West for disabled and deaf people
June 27, 2017 | Source: Falmouth Packet- UK | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Arts/Entertainment, Building/Facilities Access | United Kingdom
It will soon be even easier for deaf and disabled people to visit the National Maritime Museum, after a scheme dedicated to improving accessibility received a huge cash injection. Disability charity Living Options Devon carried out a range of consultation activities last year, and found there were many issues around accessibility across several heritage sites.
Now, the Heritage Ability scheme will be working with five sites across Cornwall, including the National Maritime Museum, to fix these issues. The improvements have been made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, as they have donated £527,000 to the scheme…
Only two Health facilities in UE are disability friendly
June 27, 2017 | Source: Ghana News Agency- Ghana | Health/Medical, Government, Discrimination | Ghana
Mr David Aniah, the Upper East Regional President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organization, has expressed concern about disability friendly public facilities, which restricts movement of People living with disabilities (PWDs). He said the Association conducted a survey to ascertain how state institutions were complying with provisions of Article 715, especially Section 6 which concerns accessibility to public places after it was established on June 23, 2006.
The President said the Federation in its random research work visited the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), the Regional hospital, the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, the Talensi District Assembly, Bolgatanga and Navrongo Municipal Assemblies, Afrikids Medical Centre, and all the Community Day Schools, where it was revealed that only the Regional Hospital and Afrikids Medical Centre were accessible to persons with disability…
New program wants to make Yonge and St. Clair the GTA’s most accessible neighbourhood
June 27, 2017 | Source: MetroNews- Canada | Universal Design, Housing, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Inclusion | Canada
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is trying to make one of Toronto’s busiest areas the most accessible neighbourhood in the GTA, with a new program aimed at helping visually impaired people find their way around. The organization, which supports people who are blind or living with vision loss, is rolling out a program that will see small battery powered devices called beacons placed in 200 restaurants and shops at Yonge and St. Clair.
The beacons will transmit to an app called BlindSquare, to verbally guide people around indoor buildings. Angela Bonfanti, CNIB GTA Executive Director, said the “internal wayfinding technology” goes beyond just the ramps and elevators many people think of when they hear the word accessibility…
AbleGamers launches Player Panels to help devs improve accessibility
The AbleGamers Foundation is launching a new initiative which gives leading games firms access to panels that will help dramatically improve the accessibility of their titles. The charity’s Player Panels will comprise of disabled gamers who will be able to speak to developers, publishers and other games companies about the content and controls for their products, as well as testing the gameplay and any accessibility technology they have implemented.
Panellists won’t just be volunteers either; AbleGamers have promised to compensate gamers for their time. The only qualifications required of potential applicants will be “a love of video games and some form of disability.”…
TfL reveals next Underground stations to be given step-free access
June 29, 2017 | Source: Rail Technology Magazine- UK | Transit/Transportation, Accessible Design, Inclusion | United Kingdom
TfL has today announced the next six Underground stations that will be upgraded to provide step-free access for passengers in London. Amersham, Buckhurst Hill, Cockfosters, Mill Hill East, Osterley and South Woodford will all be upgraded to provide better accessibility as part of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s £200m programme to improve station access for disabled people over the next five years.
It follows two outer London stations, Newbury Park and Harrow-on-the-Hill, being confirmed for the upgrade last year. And earlier this year, TfL revealed that the search had begun for a partner to deliver its South Kensington Tube upgrade that included installing step-free access to the District and Circle line. Work to Buckhurst Hill on the Central Line will begin this year, while improvements to the remaining five stations will start next year. The work on all of the stations is scheduled to be completed by 2020…
Wheelchair user crawls up plane stairs in dispute with Vanilla Air
June 29, 2017 | Source: Japan Today- Japan | Mobility, Travel, Discrimination, Disability Rights | Japan
Japanese budget airline Vanilla Air Inc has apologized to a wheelchair user after he crawled up boarding stairs in a dispute with a staffer at an airport in southern Japan. According to the company wholly owned by ANA Holdings Inc, at the time Amami Airport was the only one it flew to that lacked equipment to assist with the boarding and disembarkation of wheelchair users.
Hideto Kijima, 44, and friends visited Amami Oshima, a resort island in Kagoshima Prefecture, on June 3 to 5, using Vanilla flights from and to Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture. Kijima, who is paralyzed in the lower body due to a spinal cord injury suffered while playing rugby in high school, runs the Japan Accessible Tourism Center. When he and his friends checked in at Kansai airport on June 3, a Vanilla employee told him that “people who cannot walk cannot fly” to Amami due to the accessibility problem at the airport…
Oswald Foundation Raises INR 100K in Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
June 29, 2017 | Source: PR.com- India | Technology, Innovation, Awards/Recognition | India
Oswald Foundation, the multinational accessibility technology company, participated in The Economic Times presents Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge Season 2, where they ran a crowdfunding campaign that was 106.45% funded in the duration of one month.
This June, Oswald Foundation, the multinational accessibility technology that makes Agastya, Shravan, and Valmiki, successfully completed their month-long crowdfunding campaign. Oswald Foundation had previously qualified for the Second Round of The Economic Times presents Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge Season 2 after winning the Delhi round. 32 top startups from all over India participated in the challenge, raising over INR 2,600,000…
From prosthetic limbs to baby bumps, new Xbox avatars a move toward greater diversity
June 29, 2017 | Source: CBC News- Canada | Mobility, Gaming, Inclusion | Canada
Xbox has long been a leader in the gaming industry, but the latest innovation for Microsoft’s console is not a game concept, or even a new piece of technology. Instead, Xbox has introduced a range of customizable options for avatars, including prosthetic limbs, a wheelchair, even a baby bump.
The new designs signal a shift toward greater inclusivity within the gaming industry, and the tech sector as a whole, that many say is long overdue. Over the past decade, the company has steadily added more customization options to the avatars, which were first introduced in 2008 for the Xbox 360. With this new range of features, the gaming giant has designed avatars to be more representative of the diversity of its audience…
Wicklow takes the lead on Accessible Tourism
June 29, 2017 | Source: WicklowNews.Net- Ireland | Travel, Accessible Design, Inclusion | Ireland
Wicklow Tourism is starting a new initiative in partnership with MobilityMojo. Mobility Mojo is an award winning, user generated website that works like TripAdvisor but focuses on access. MobilityMojo co-founders Noelle Daly and Stephen Cluskey made a presentation at Wicklow County Tourism’s AGM in Tinakilly on Tuesday the 27th of June.
According to Eurostat, the demand within the ‘Accessible Tourism and Senior Tourism’ market could reach 160 million people, generating potential revenues of €88.6 billion by 2025. Scotland have been focussing on that market, and In 2013 the accessible tourism spend in Scotland was £1.5billion…
21st century public transport: People with disabilities face discrimination
June 29, 2017 | Source: Euractiv- Europe | Transit/Transportation, Discrimination, Accessible Design
The European Accessibility Act, the proposed law that would make products and services in the EU more accessible for persons with disabilities, is a unique opportunity for Europe, writes Catherine Naughton. Catherine Naughton is the director of the European Disability Forum, an umbrella NGO representing some 80 million people with disabilities across Europe.
Not only will it give EU businesses the chance to take the lead on the world market for accessible products and services. It will also and more importantly start to pave the way for all EU citizens to participate in society on an equal basis with others. The proposal of the European Commission does not bring up something unreasonable or even anything particularly new, it is rather a means to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that the EU and all its members states – except Ireland – have already ratified…
Triplegic man sticks it to Vancouver’s accessibility heroes and zeroes
June 29, 2017 | Source: Vancouver Courier- Canada | Mobility, Advocacy, Building/Facilities Access, Discrimination | Canada
Mark Stockbrocks is sticking it to the man. The 37-year-old Kitsilano resident recently launched his one-man advocacy effort known as Access Stickers, which is meant to assess the level of accessibility at clubs, rinks, restaurants and other buildings across the city.
Stockbrocks’ messaging comes by way of stickers: buildings deemed accessible are given a green sticker with the words “Access Hero” written on it. Those on the other side of the fence get a red sticker and are deemed an “Access Zero.” Access Stickers started less than a year ago and was the result of Stockbrocks’ increasing frustration around trying to plan a night out with friends…
Making venues accessible to everyone
June 30, 2017 | Source: Our Auckland- New Zealand | Universal Design, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion, Mobility | New Zealand
Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) manages venues across the region on behalf of Auckland Council. It prides itself on being accessible to everyone. All RFA venues have been audited by Be.Accessible, a social change initiative with a mission to create a truly accessible country, and have been awarded ratings from gold to bronze. The aim is to eventually have every facility receive a gold rating.
Auckland Art Gallery is one facility that already has a Be.Accessible gold rating. The gallery is wheelchair accessible, and there are wheelchairs and walking sticks available for visitors to use at no charge…
Accessibility Blogs & Information
- Be.Accessible’s accessibility ratings
- Digital Accessibility Checklist for Courses- Angelo State University
- Blind Innovators Build a Bridge to Accessibility
- Digital Information of Managed Care Programs Must Comply With Modern Accessibility Standards, Effective July 1
- How Are Donors Reading Your Messages?
- Adobe Improves Support for Accessible PDF Documents on Mobile Devices
- Don’t Get Caught Whistling Winn-Dixie: Rethinking ADA Compliance After First-of-its-Kind Verdict
- Employment Law This Week June 26, 2017: Federal Decision on Website Accessibility, Mandatory Class Action Waivers, Sexual Harassment Case Dismissed, Upcoming Employment Laws [VIDEO]
- Why Designing for Accessibility is a Must in 2017
- Wee All Have To Go
- Boost website accessibility and build traffic – 12 tips for web managers
- Slides: UK cross-government accessibility meetup
- How Are Donors Reading Your Messages?
- Accessibility at the City of Toronto
- How Two Grads Are Working to Evolve Accessibility Technology For Everyone
- Houston Community College Libraries
- American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon
- Adams 12 Five Star Schools
- Silsbee Independent School District
- Arizona Department of Public Safety
- Walker Art Center
- King’s University College – Western University
- University of Oxford Health Economics Research Centre
- South Carolina Department of Education
- Murray–Darling Basin Authority
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe
- Sturgeon Bay School District
- Prime Healthcare
- The Bell Foundation
- George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida
- Canadian Mountain Network
- Michigan State University
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Kalamazoo College
- Smiths Falls
- Indiana University
Accessibility Announcements & Products
- KeyLemon and SoftKinetic to Demo Innovative Mobile 3D Face Recognition at Mobile World Congress Shanghai
- Apple Reveals Advanced Accessibility Tools at WWDC
- AbleGamers’s Player Panels aim to give game devs insight on accessibility
- Apple reveals advanced accessibility tools at WWDC
- National Seating & Mobility Expands in Dallas-Fort Worth
- ICC releases update to building accessibility standard
- Multnomah County to have Meeting on Accessibility and ADA Features of New County Courthouse
- PennState new university-wide web accessibility testing tool to be adopted July 1
- Philips Televisions and Video Players Now Offer Enhanced Accessibility for the Visually Impaired
- Global Assistive Technologies for Visual Impairment Market 2017 – TQM, Papenmeier, Freedom Scientific, Humanware, Amedia
- Government Purchasing Power: A Key to Global Digital Inclusion
- New Standards Program Emerges to Judge E-books’ Accessibility for Visually Impaired
- AbleGamers’ Player Panels Initiative Empowers Disabled Gamers to Shape the Future of Accessibility in the Video Game Industry
- Former Yahoo VP Glen Drury joins board of blind accessibility tech outfit Conspexit
- NSM sees ‘steady growth’ in home accessibility
- National Seating & Mobility Expands in Dallas-Fort Worth
- Accessibility Icons — Free Download in PNG and vector
- Microsoft Accessible Clock
- An Accessible Castle in Central Park
- Twin Rocks receives $243,000 grant
- Oswald Foundation Raises INR 100K in Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
- Discover Technologies Announces 5-year Blanket Purchase Agreement Award for Microsoft Support Services
- Butler Mobility Products, US manufacturer of accessibility equipment, announces its 60th year in the mobility industry
Accessibility Q&A & Tips
- Color Contrast : Luminosity contrast ratio for extension version text does not match 4.5:1
- Accessible responsive tab accordion content
- Saved Object Finder traps focus
- Timelion “Save” menu options aren’t keyboard-accessible
- Dark theme markdown visualization’s “blockquote” element fails color contrast
- Test diff review panel accessibility
- aio: the brand color (#1976d2) doesn’t comply the accessibility needs
- Accessibility Review- Keyboard Navigation
- [macosx] Custom Swing text components need to allow standard accessibility
- An example ExtJS application with all accessibility concerns included
- Update Drupal personas to have accessibility needs
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.