Elections Canada Launches Advisory Group for Disability Issues
Elections Canada today is holding the first meeting of its new Advisory Group for Disability Issues. The group will provide the Agency with accessibility advice on initiatives planned for the 2015 federal general election. It will also help identify the best ways to inform people with disabilities on where and when to register and vote during elections. “Voting is a fundamental right for all Canadians,” said Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand. “For over a decade, Elections Canada has been working to make elections more accessible by providing information in multiple formats, choosing accessible polling sites and offering diverse voting methods. We look forward to continuing to work with the disability community to better understand barriers and find solutions.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/27/elections-canada-launches-advisory-group-for-disability-issues/, March 04, 2014
European Parliament Urges Stronger Public Web Access Law
Members of the European Parliament have voted by a huge majority to beef up a proposed European Directive on the Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites. This week MEPs backed a move by 593 votes to 40, with 13 abstentions, to require EU member states to ensure all public websites are fully accessible, not just those in 12 categories proposed by the European Commission such as social security benefits and enrollment in higher education
From http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=986, March 03, 2014
Audio Interaction For 'Swype' Virtual Keyboard App
The popular ‘Swype’ virtual keyboard app for Android smartphones, designed to allow users to type more quickly and effectively, has introduced audio accessibility features to its latest version in a move which will benefit users with impaired vision.
Users of the standard ‘Swype’ app type words by sliding a finger across a virtual keyboard in a continuous motion, beginning at the first letter and pausing briefly at each letter they want to include, before lifting their finger at the end of each word. The app then predicts the word, and correction features help the process.
From http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=988, March 03, 2014
IBM: Improving the User Experience by Standardizing on EPUB
The days of laboriously reading a document on a mobile device by "pinching and squeezing" and scrolling side to side are coming to an end. To help consumers easily read documents and educational materials, IBM is standardizing on EPUB as its primary packaged portable document format, making its documentation and content more accessible on any mobile device. This allows any user – including people with speech, hearing or vision challenges – to have a more personalized experience with the content.
From http://www-03.ibm.com/able/news/epub.html, March 03, 2014
Industry Standards at Work: Improving Closed Captioning of Internet Video
Eight years ago, five companies saw the future of video. Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Google, and WGBH realized television shows and movies increasingly will be delivered on the Internet and understood that industry approaches to closed captions on television were not compatible with the Internet. So, the companies formed the Internet Captioning Forum to work on solutions. The Internet Captioning Forum’s objective was to ensure that the next generation of video-delivery technologies would be more inclusive for viewers who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other disabilities. After exploring options for closed captioning of video on the Internet, the group concluded an industry standard was needed to promote interoperability and widespread adoption, similar to the way traditional television services - broadcast, cable, and satellite - operate.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2014/02/13/industry-standards-at-work-improving-closed-captioning-of-internet-video.aspx, March 03, 2014
USA: FCC's Closed Captioning Quality Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, FNPRM
On February 20, 2014, the FCC adopted a Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the quality and technical compliance of closed captioning on television programming to ensure that video programming is fully accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on proposed rules designed to improve access to television programming. Comment due dates will be announced after the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register.
From http://www.fcc.gov/document/closed-captioning-quality-report-and-order-declaratory-ruling-fnprm, March 03, 2014
New Skills for New Jobs: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities of working age are two times as likely to be unemployed as those without disabilities. When people with disabilities are employed, they are more likely to be working part-time and for significantly lower wages, especially women with disabilities. That is the sobering reality today as presented in the World Report on Disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2014/02/18/new-skills-for-new-jobs-challenges-and-opportunities-for-people-with-disabilities.aspx, March 03, 2014
ICT Accessibility Requires Available and Affordable Technology
Today, the linkage between disability and development is getting increasingly recognized 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 for the disability rights movement, especially so in the countries of the global South.
From http://itu4u.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/ict-accessibility-requires-available-and-affordable-technology/?relatedposts_exclude=2083, February 28, 2014
USA: Amy Goldman Appointed to the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities
Amy S. Goldman, Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities, has been appointed to the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Communication Disabilities. She joins representatives from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, TASH and the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
From http://atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=4566#Amy%20Goldman%20Appointed%20to%20NJC, February 28, 2014
How Assistive Technology Helps Persons with Disabilities Achieve the Impossible
It seems impossible to many people that a person who is blind can use an iPhone, that a person with a significant physical disability can drive himself to work, or that a person who can’t read can go to college. Impossible, until they see it done. Throughout the years, I’ve spoken with people who are unsure that their child/student/client could achieve a life goal, even with the support of assistive technology (AT). They might think that AT is just for people with physical disabilities or those who are good with computers or for anybody else but themselves.
From http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/02/25/telling-at-stories/, February 28, 2014