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Apple Stores to Begin Selling Accessibility Accessories in Early 2016
Monday December 21, 2015 5:56 AM PST by Mitchel Broussard Apple is rumored to begin selling accessibility-related accessories and peripherals in its retail stores sometime in early 2016. The report, from Mac Otakara [Google Translate], states that the new iOS- and OS X-supported devices will go on sale between January and March of next year.
From http://www.macrumors.com/2015/12/21/apple-stores-selling-accessibility/, January 17, 2016

Facebook Plans to Improve Accessibility for Visually Impaired Users
Odds are you’ve checked your Facebook account in the last few hours. Odds are even pretty good that you have Facebook open on your desktop or smartphone at this very moment. In its 11+ years, Facebook has gone from cyber novelty to internet tentpole—a (if not *the*) hub around which a tremendous number of people orient their everyday online activity. For seeing-impaired users, however, Facebook’s inherently visual offerings can make using the social network a difficult proposition. And while Facebook has long worked on tools to make the site—particularly its “photos” functionality—more accessible to those with visual impairments, reports of a new feature indicate the company is preparing to up their usability in a significant way.
From https://magazine.good.is/articles/facebook-visually-impaired-blind-tools, January 17, 2016

W3C Releases Guidelines to Help Make User Agents More Accessible
The W3C has released new guidelines that will assist developers in making the Internet more accessible for people with disabilities. Almost thirteen years to the day after its first iteration became a formal recommendation, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released Working Group Notes for the second version of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG). Included in UAAG 2.0 are 26 guidelines across 5 principles (perceivable, operable, understandable, programmatic access and specifications and conventions) which aim to provide developers with a greater understanding of the objectives of included success criteria. The guidelines also are linked to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, and the Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0, all of which sit under the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative.
From http://www.accessiq.org/news/news/2015/12/guidelines-to-help-make-user-agents-more-accessible-released, January 17, 2016

The High Cost of Digital Discrimination: Why Companies Should Care About Web Accessibility
Netflix, Disney and Target have all faced lawsuits alleging their websites offer poor accessibility for the disabled. It makes no sense to wait for US guidelines, now expected in 2018, to end an era of digital discrimination. Every few months, a new lawsuit involving internet accessibility pops up. In November, a legally blind man sued the National Basketball Association, claiming its website did not accommodate the visually impaired. Over the summer, cruise operator Carnival Corp agreed to pay $405,000 in damages and penalties in a settlement with the US justice department over a variety of accessibility issues, including ones with its website and apps.
From http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/dec/31/digital-discrimination-netflix-disney-target-web-accessibility-doj, January 17, 2016

Should Accessibility Overlay Tools Be Used as a Strategic Part of your Accessibility Efforts
Other technology giants have joined the conversation and their efforts are helping everyone. We also learned that when a website, software application, app, tool, game or other types of the Internet, Communications and Technology (ICT) is made accessible everyone benefits. Accessibility supports persons with disabilities but also helps novice ICT users, non-native language speakers, senior citizens, and persons with neurodiversity like dyslexia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally 1 in 7 persons have a disability, 1 billion people or about 15% of the population. These numbers will continue to grow for many reasons especially due to aging societies. Think about the implications - would you want to build a system that 15% of your customers could not access?
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-ruh/should-accessibility-over_b_8900720.html?ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in, January 15, 2016

The Revolution in Technology That is Helping Blind People See
Lex Arriola is your typical 15-year-old girl. She uses her smartphone a ton. She texts. She FaceTimes. Like most teens, she loves emoji and, of course, Taylor Swift. But unlike most of her peers, Arriola was born blind. When she gets texts with emojis, Siri translates them, so messages are punctuated by “face screaming in fear” and “puffing with angry face”. She has a Braille Sense, a small book-sized beige contraption with a tactile keyboard that she uses to read and write. Arriola, a petite curly-haired brunette with a warm smile, commands her always-dark iPhone screen with a flurry of taps, swipes and voice commands to Siri. Over the last 30 years, technologists have made huge strides in making the internet more accessible to the blind, with digitized Braille systems and text-to-speech software that reads the words on a webpage or app aloud. More recently, companies, including Facebook, have started translating images into read-aloud text. (Maybe that will actually nudge Arriola to start using the social network.)
From http://fusion.net/story/234818/tech-disabilities-artificial-intelligence/, January 15, 2016

Dubai Students Develop Sign Language App to Benefit Deaf Community
A team of university students have set out to help bridge the gap between the deaf and non-deaf communities of the UAE through a mobile application that teaches users the fundamentals of Emirati sign-language. The students from Canadian University Dubai, or CUD, came up with the idea for the app named Efhamni - Arabic for "understand me" - after research revealed that families with deaf children tend to adopt more informal methods of communication that could limit the child's potential to engage with wider society. The technology is being developed as part of the Ripples of Happiness Programme, a region-wide community initiative delivered by the Coca-Cola Foundation and Injaz UAE, which aims to encourage social responsibility.
From http://www.albawaba.com/business/dubai-students-develop-sign-language-app-benefit-deaf-community-786540, January 15, 2016

The Value of Web Accessibility
Visually impaired people navigate the web for the same reasons we all do, to find information, to shop and to perform a myriad of important tasks using web-based applications. But visually impaired people experience the web differently and we need to be sensitive to their needs when we design and build websites. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.N. and World Bank over 47 million Americans, and up to 650 million people worldwide, have some kind of disability.
From http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2015/12/the-value-of-accessibility/, January 13, 2016

Why You Should Care About Accessibility in Email Marketing
A couple of months ago I was attending a UX conference in London where I was inspired by the talk of Alastair Campbell from Nomensa. He explained how many different problems you should consider if you try to make your website truly accessible. And there was the problem again: accessibility. It’s not about any kind of human disability: it’s just the software, Siri who scans and tries to make sense out of it. And most of the time Siri can’t.
From https://medium.com/@silcucc/why-you-should-care-about-accessibility-in-email-marketing-2f7443acb422#.341lr6ocb, January 13, 2016

First Public Working Draft: Requirements for WCAG 2.0 Extensions
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of Requirements for WCAG 2.0 Extensions. This document describes the requirements that the WCAG WG is setting for the development of WCAG 2.0 extensions. Extensions are optional standards modules that build on the existing requirements for WCAG 2.0, and are designed to work in harmony with the WCAG 2.0 standard.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/06/first-public-working-draft-requirements-for-wcag-2-0-extensions/, January 12, 2016

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