India: eAccessibility Workshop 2013 Organised by Directorate of Information Technology
Directorate of Information Technology (DIT), Government of Maharashtra, in association with Mahaonline Limited (MoL) and National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) has organized a workshop on eAccessibility on November 19-20, 2013 at Mumbai and Pune. In this workshop, web designers and developers from various software companies, which are working on citizen-centric, high-traffic, high impact websites of various departments of Government of Maharashtra are invited. They are being taught about accessibility and try to make their websites compliant to WCAG 2.0 Level A. It may be noted that Maharashtra’s e-governance policy 2011 specifies that websites/applications should be WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant.
From http://freepressjournal.in/eaccessibility-workshop-2013-organised-by-directorate-of-information-technology-government-of-maharashtra-at-mumbai-and-pune/, November 21, 2013
Korea Makes Accessibility Standards for Consumer Electronics
Korea will make global accessibility standards for consumer electronics. The consensus was formed at an international conference. It seems to reflect the global status of the Korean consumer electronics industry. If they are established as international standards, it will contribute to reinforcement of the global competitiveness of Korean industries. According to the Government and the industry on November 12, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) began to turn the accessibility standards for consumer electronics, presented by the industries, into international standards. At first, the industries planned to make them into the Korean consumer electronics industry standards (Korea Electronics Association standards), but the Government proposed to elevate them into Korean standards (KS) and international standards.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/11/16/korea-makes-accessibility-standards-for-consumer-electronics/, November 21, 2013
Canada: Vancouver Bans Doorknobs as Move Toward Accessibility
Thanks to new building code legislation, Vancouver will be the first city in Canada to ban doorknobs. In all new construction starting this March, they will be replaced with levers, International Business Times reported. The ban also extends to all faucets.
From http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/11/vancouver-bans-doorknobs-as-move-toward-accessibility.html, November 20, 2013
AppWatch: Twitter Becomes Smart and Accessible
Even though this app is still on its beta version, the ratings speak from themselves. The new app “Smart Twitter” has successfully reached its twofold objective of merging awesome user experience with accessible features. There are two features that make this app different: Firstly is the adaptation of the display depending on the environment (if there is too much or too little light, too much noise, etc) This adaptation occurs automatically due to its smartness J. Nonetheless this feature can be disabled. Moreover the Walkman mode enables you to listen to your tweets while exercising, commuting in a packed bus or train, etc. Above all, this app gives a credible solution to the thousands of disabled twitter users who were not satisfied with its level of accessibility. Give it a try and dare to experience a Smart Twitter while no disabled user is left behind.
From http://blogs.collaborativeportal.atis4all.eu/MarketplaceBlog/post/349.aspx, November 20, 2013
USA: AbleRoad App Allows Those with Disabilities to Rate Travel Businesses
Flying across the country is challenging for most anyone these days with paying extra for baggage, sitting in seats airlines admittedly have made smaller and dealing with delays that cause travelers to race through the terminal to catch a connecting flight.
From http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131118/NEWS/311189987/1008/YOURVOICE, November 20, 2013
USA: University of Michigan to Study How Technology may Help Youths with Disabilities
A $4.5 million federal grant will allow U-M researchers to study how technology — including apps for smartphones and tablets, cloud devices and a U-M-developed video game — may help young adults with spinal cord dysfunction and neuro-developmental disabilities improve health and become more independent. The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research will help launch the new U-M Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center, Technology Increasing Knowledge, Technology Optimizing Choices.
From http://record.umich.edu//articles/45m-center-study-how-video-game-apps-may-help-youths-disabilities, November 20, 2013
USA: FCC Chairman Calls for Transforming the Technology Used by Phone Systems
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday that the agency would begin “a diverse set of experiments” next year that would begin to move the nation’s telephone system from its century-old network of circuits, switches and copper wires to one that transmits phone calls in a manner similar to that used for Internet data.
From http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/business/media/fcc-chairman-calls-for-transforming-the-technology-used-by-phone-systems.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0, November 20, 2013
Statement from Disabled People's International on the Occasion of ITU Telecom World 2013
“When we talk of ICT in disability & development, the emphasis should also be on availability and affordability of technology,” Javed Abidi, Chairperson, DPI. Today, the linkage between disability and development is getting increasingly recognised in light of the growing discourse on the post-2015 development agenda. However, not many are talking about the role of technology and ICT in this whole discourse. Accessibility is a huge concern in the disability rights movement, especially so in the countries of the global South. DPI is acutely aware of the gap between this discourse and people with disabilities in the global South.
From http://g3ict.org/resource_center/newsletter/news/p/newsletterId_/id_457, November 20, 2013
W3C Invites Implementations of Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AUWG) invites implementations of the Candidate Recommendation Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0, and comments on a Working Draft of the Note Implementing ATAG 2.0. ATAG defines how authoring tools should help developers produce accessible web content that conforms to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, and defines how to make authoring tools accessible so that people with disabilities can use them. ATAG is introduced in the ATAG Overview and ATAG at a Glance. Authoring tools include content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), HTML editors, blogs, wikis, social media, and development environments.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/11/18/w3c-invites-implementations-of-authoring-tool-accessibility-guidelines-2-0/, November 19, 2013
USA: Study Reveals Potential Breakthrough in Hearing Aid Technology
Computer engineers and hearing scientists at The Ohio State University have made a potential breakthrough in solving a 50-year-old problem in hearing technology: how to help people with hearing disabilities understand speech in the midst of background noise. In the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, they describe how they used the latest developments in neural networks to boost test subjects’ recognition of spoken words from as low as 10 percent to as high as 90 percent.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/11/19/study-reveals-potential-breakthrough-in-hearing-aid-technology/, November 19, 2013