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Netflix Begins Audio Description for Visually Impaired
At Netflix, we work hard to continually improve the experience for our members when viewing movies and shows on our service, including providing accessibility across devices. Now we’re expanding our accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, beginning today with our new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil. Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language.
From http://blog.netflix.com/2015/04/netflix-begins-audio-description-for.html?spref&m=1, April 16, 2015

Assistive Technology Helps Students with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties Succeed
A student with cerebral palsy operates a computer using his cheek, while another with writing problems uses a digital keyboard with the main keys highlighted so predictive text can do the rest, and a vision-impaired student uses the "speak the screen" feature on her mobile device to listen to what is on the screen.
From http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/assistive-technology-helping-students-with-disabilities-and-learning-difficulties-succeed-20150412-1mf6l3.html, April 16, 2015

USA: Task Force Unveils Plan to Overhaul Special Education
A statewide task force unveiled Friday a 222-page plan to dramatically improve education for students with disabilities, described as the crucial next step in education reform in California. While the report, titled “One System: Reforming Education to Serve All Students,” calls for the “seamless integration” of special education services into schools, Vicki Barber, co-executive director of the task force, made it clear in a February presentation that special education services and protections would not be diminished and that separate schools for students with relatively rare disabilities, such as blindness, would continue.
From http://edsource.org/2015/task-force-unveils-plan-to-overhaul-special-education/76026, April 16, 2015

Comparison of Browsers on HTML5 Video Accessibility: 2015 Update
This is an update to my earlier Comparison of Browsers on HTML5 Video Accessibility, published two years ago. To test browsers, I used the Native HTML5 Media Player test that ships with Able Player. This test page includes an HTML5 <video> element with two <source> elements to ensure cross-browser support, one targeting an MP4 video file and the other targeting a WebM video file. It also includes four kinds of <track> elements: captions, subtitles, descriptions, and chapters.
From http://terrillthompson.com/blog/635, April 16, 2015

Seven Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility
Accessibility enables people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web. Imagine a world where developers know everything there is to know about accessibility. You design it and they build it… perfectly. In this world, only the design itself can cause people with disabilities to have trouble using a product. These guidelines will cover the major things you need to know in order for your products to be “design-ready” to meet the minimum of standards in Section 508 and the Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. The rest will be up to development and quality testing.
From https://medium.com/salesforce-ux/7-things-every-designer-needs-to-know-about-accessibility-64f105f0881b, April 16, 2015

Microsoft Office Mix Adds Slide Notes and Closed Captioning
The PowerPoint Team announced two new features in Office Mix Tuesday, Slide Notes and closed captioning. When you’re recording a mix, Slide Notes is like a teleprompter that helps you focus on your audience instead of worrying about memorizing your delivery. Just click the MIX tab in the PowerPoint ribbon and then the Record button. A translucent text box now appears at the top of the recording view.
From http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2015/04/14/office-mix-adds-slide-notes-and-closed-captioning/, April 15, 2015

Canada: OPP Launches Text911 for People with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
Ontarians with hearing and speech disabilities living in areas policed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be able to text calls to 911 starting Wednesday, April 15. The OPP will be equipped to receive emergency calls for service via Text with 911 (T9-1-1) from people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabilities and for which the OPP is the Primary Public Safety Answering Point (P-PSAP).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/04/15/opp-launches-text911-for-people-with-hearing-and-speech-disabilities/, April 15, 2015

Ireland: University of Limerick Researchers Developing Assistive Exoskeletons for Older People
Researchers at the Design Factors Research Group at the University of Limerick have been awarded EUR 250,000 funding to develop an exoskeleton to assist older people. The research will be carried out as part of the AXO-SUIT project, which will run for 3 years with a total budget of almost EUR 3 million. UL will partner with Cork based company MTD Ltd in the design and manufacture of the concept. The combined project value to the Irish partners is EUR 650,000.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/04/11/university-of-limerick-researchers-developing-assistive-exoskeletons-for-older-people/, April 15, 2015

UK Subtitle Regulations for Higher Education and Online Learning
Transcription and captioning for online video has become a hot-button issue in American higher education, given the pattern of anti-discrimination lawsuits brought against universities for insufficient accommodation of deaf and hard of hearing students. While there are looser subtitling requirements in the United Kingdom, some British universities are taking a proactive approach to web accessibility and adding subtitles to their videos.
From http://www.3playmedia.com/2015/04/13/uk-subtitle-regulations-for-higher-education-and-online-learning/?, April 15, 2015

Accessibility Functionality is a Lifeline for Those with Differing Abilities
Both OS X and iOS include an accessibility technology called VoiceOver, which is a screen-reader for people with impaired vision. Accessibility functionality is a lifeline for those with differing abilities. You can find out more about the rich set of assistive features offered by OS X, iOS, and Watch OS.
From http://mattgemmell.com/small-changes/, April 15, 2015

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