Accessibility Online: A Neglected Frontier for People with Disabilities
When we think accessibility, we usually think about doors that open automatically, or ramps that lead up to buildings. But what about accessibility online? Ottawa tech leaders say web development needs to catch up and improve online accessibility for people with disabilities. “I think we have a long way to go,” says Mike Gifford, president of the web accessibility consultant company OpenConcept Consulting Inc. Gifford helped organize a11yYOW’s third annual Accessibility Camp Ottawa for techies to discuss online accessibility on Thursday. “I think there are ways to accommodate all kinds of people (online),” he says. “The Internet should be accessible for everyone.”
From http://ottawacitizen.com/storyline/accessibility-online-a-neglected-frontier-for-people-with-disabilities?platform=hootsuite, May 25, 2016
USA: University of Massachusetts Boston Creating an Accessible Campus with IBM Mobile Technology
University campuses are complex and busy mazes of hustle and bustle. At times, they might be under-construction, experiencing changes, or lack signage or symmetry that makes them difficult to navigate, even for those familiar with the layout. Blind, wheelchair-bound, and cognitively impaired persons may have many additional difficulties. At University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston), where approximately three percent of the student population has some form of disability, we value diversity and access for our students, faculty and staff as critical to the achievement of our academic programs. This is why we are working with IBM to continue our mission of inclusion by ensuring that all of our students have access to both the digital and physical environments of our campus. To achieve this, we are deploying IBM Accessible Location-based Services, a cognitive way-finding application that is designed to provide contextual understanding about someone’s location in a building and then direct them with an accessible route to their destination.
From http://ageandability.com/2016/05/23/university-of-massachusetts-boston-creating-an-accessible-campus-with-ibm-mobile-technology/#prclt-8e4sKg2v, May 25, 2016
New App Launched to Help People with Hearing Disabilities in India
A Pune-based startup has launched an app that uses mobile technology to enable people with hearing disabilities customize their listening experience by using results of a simple, interactive hearing test. The app ‘Q+’ developed by Quadio Devices Pvt Ltd offers different modes which optimise hearing in different situations like when at a restaurant, or while driving. It also has a mode which makes it easier to watch TV, or watch videos. According to the company, the hearing test in the app is calibrated for accuracy, as per ANSI standards of audiometry.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/23/new-app-launched-to-help-people-with-hearing-disabilities-in-india/, May 25, 2016
New Charter for Persons with Disabilities Endorsed at UN Humanitarian Summit
A new charter to significantly improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies has been endorsed at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. “The intersection between humanitarian crises and persons with disabilities is very strong,” Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, told the UN News Centre on the margins of a special session at the Summit on ensuring disability-inclusive humanitarian action.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/25/new-charter-for-persons-with-disabilities-endorsed-at-un-humanitarian-summit/, May 25, 2016
Connecting People with Disabilities to their World Through Technology
AT&T is dedicated to connecting people, regardless of technology experience or capability, with their world. That’s why we created Digital You, a resource for parents, seniors, job seekers, and people with disabilities to help them navigate technology with confidence. In order to further meet the needs of our customers with disabilities, AT&T’s Corporate Accessibility Technology Office and the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center developed Wireless Independence Now (WIN) Workshops to teach people with disabilities how to use accessibility features installed on their phones and tablets.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/25/connecting-people-with-disabilities-to-their-world-through-technology/, May 25, 2016
Amazon's Kindle Begins to Find its Voice with Text-to-Speech
Amazon is making its Kindle e-readers more accessible for visually impaired users by introducing a screen-reader feature. The VoiceView screen-reading function is now available on the Kindle Paperwhite model by plugging in the ‘Kindle Audio Adaptor’, a USB device designed by Amazon specifically for use with the Kindle. Users plug the adaptor into the Paperwhite charging jack, before plugging in headphones to the adaptor, and can then listen to e-books and navigate the Kindle interface through text-to-speech and touch-screen functionality, with eight adjustable reading speeds.
From http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=1176, May 23, 2016
World Humanitarian Summit Can Build Support for Disability-Inclusive Aid Responses: UN Expert
Speaking ahead of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul next week, a United Nations human rights expert has urged all countries to take into account the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in their humanitarian responses.’ “The World Humanitarian Summit represents a unique opportunity to foster international support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of humanitarian action, including awareness-raising, innovation, response, adoption of standards, participation of civil society and international cooperation,” said Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in a press release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
From http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=53985#.Vz6alJF97IU, May 20, 2016
UAE: Khalifa University Students Develop Navigation Device for People with Vision Disabilities
Students from Khalifa University have developed a device that can help people with vision disabilities navigate their surroundings, with the device being showcased as part of the university’s innovation exhibition. “During the initial planning stages of our project we contacted the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special needs and we asked them what they would like to see in a device to help people with vision disabilities, and they told us they would like to have an obstacle detection system, and so that led to the idea,” Ahmad N. Alagha told, one of the students behind the development of the project.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/19/khalifa-university-students-develop-navigation-device-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, May 20, 2016
Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and DRR
Between May 16 and 18, the Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. On the second day of the conference, the Hanoi Disabled People’s Organization (DPO Hanoi) and the Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) organized a side event on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. The event was attended by 40 participants, including representatives of DPOs in Vietnam, representatives of the Regional UNISDR Office, the Director of Regional UN Women, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Control/ Deputy Chief of the standing office of the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Management of Vietnam, the UNDP Senior Advisor on gender inclusion, and a number of other highly distinguished delegates.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/20/disability-inclusive-disaster-risk-reduction-at-regional-asia-pacific-conference-on-gender-and-drr/, May 20, 2016
U.S. Education Department Awards $13.4 Million in Grants to Improve Services, Outcomes for Children with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $13.4 million in grants to higher education institutions to fund quality personnel preparation programs to help improve services and results for students with disabilities. “We are committed to promoting equity and excellence at every level of the education system,” said Sue Swenson, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. “These grants will give special education teachers and leaders the skills to help America’s students with disabilities achieve their academic potential.” Of the $13.4 million, more than $4.1 million is being awarded under the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities – Leadership Personnel program. The funds will go to higher education institutions to prepare doctoral students for faculty and administrator positions in special education, early intervention and related services.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/20/u-s-education-department-awards-13-4-million-in-grants-to-improve-services-outcomes-for-children-with-disabilities/, May 20, 2016