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The Value of Involving People with Disabilities in User Research
I am a huge fan of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a means to measure progress toward accessibility. They are thorough and well considered. They are flexible. I have used them to evaluate desktop applications, mobile apps, mobile sites, websites, and web applications. They go far in removing subjectivity from the assessment process—a control either is or is not operable using the keyboard; a text input either has or does not have a programmatically associated label.
From http://www.usertesting.com/blog/2014/03/04/the-value-of-involving-people-with-disabilities-in-user-research/, March 17, 2014

IT Support for Disabled Workers is Growing Rapidly
A new report just released by Gartner predicts that, by 2015, 50 percent of companies will have IT projects underway to support disabled employees. This trend is being driven by government regulations, as well as the need to support older workers with diminishing mobility, vision and hearing and users of mobile devices, which can cause situational disabilities.
From http://www.itworld.com/virtualization/409793/it-support-disabled-workers-growing-rapidly, March 17, 2014

Get a Sneak Peek into PayPal Accessibility Showcase
As a technology-driven company, PayPal strives to promote the best development and design practices across our organization. One of the disciplines we have been especially proactive in fostering is accessibility. Making our products accessible to as many people as possible makes sense, not only from a business point of view, but also supports our goals to deliver high quality products our customers love. The PayPal Accessibility Team works closely with product teams to make sure they are delivering the best accessible user experiences possible.
From https://www.paypal-engineering.com/2014/03/13/get-a-sneak-peek-into-paypal-accessibility-showcase/, March 17, 2014

10 Ways Mobile Technology Will Save Your Life in the Future
The medical and healthcare sectors are in the midst of rapid change, and it can be difficult to see which new technologies will have a long-lasting impact. Ideally, the future of healthcare will balance innovative medical technologies with the human touch. Here, I've outlined the trends most likely to change our lives, now or in the near future.
From http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/25/business/10-ways-mobile-technology-will-save-your-life/?hpt=hp_c1, March 17, 2014

Why the iPhone 5s is a Terrific Accessibility Tool
As a freelance tech writer, I’ve focused primarily on accessibility and recently, it’s been a good beat to have. Apple has shown unwavering commitment to implementing and updating the accessibility features found on OS X and iOS, even going so far as to tip its hat to the accessibility community in its iPhone TV ads. The accessibility features found on Apple’s platforms enable users with special needs— myself included—to interact with their devices with as much fluidity and delight as the fully-abled do.
From http://www.macworld.com/article/2084805/why-the-iphone-5s-is-a-terrific-accessibility-tool.html, March 14, 2014

By 2015, 50 Percent of Organizations Will Have Technology Projects Underway That Support Enablement of Disabled People in the Workplace
New U.S. government rules requiring employers to take more affirmative action to hire people with disabilities will mean that by 2015, 50 percent of organizations will have technology projects underway to support the enablement of disabled employees, according to Gartner, Inc. On March 24, 2014, new guidelines under Section 503 of the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1973 go into effect in the United States. Section 503 requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to take more ambitious affirmative action to hire people with disabilities. There are similar global regulations impacting companies to boost the hiring of people with special needs or disabilities and a total of 158 countries or regional integration organizations have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.
From http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2680815, March 13, 2014

Three Out of Every Four European Banks Fails in the Accessibility of Their Websites
Researchers from the University of Oviedo (Spain) have analyzed the websites of nearly 50 banks from the EU to check whether any user, even if disabled, has equal access. The results show that this right is not fulfilled in 74% of cases, and therefore they demand greater interest from financial entities in this technological and social problem.
From http://phys.org/news/2014-03-european-banks-accessibility-websites.html, March 10, 2014

AT&T and the Wireless RERC Launch Mobile Device Training For People with Disabilities
AT&T Foundation has announced a $50,000 contribution to Shepherd Center to assist researchers in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) in launching a series of seminars to help consumers with disabilities uncover the range of accessibility features found on their mobile devices. Seminars are scheduled for five cities – Atlanta, Ga., Austin and Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C. – throughout this spring and summer.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/consumer-wireless-education#sthash.DYaWa64Y.dpuf, March 10, 2014

Video: Could Robots Help Children with Autism?
A robotic companion is helping children with autism learn and develop communication skills. Caspar has deliberately simple features and repetitive phrases and gestures, and teachers say they have noticed improved communication skills in some of the children who play with him.
From http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26511354, March 10, 2014

EU: Three Out of Every Four European Banks Fails in the Accessibility of Websites
Researchers from the University of Oviedo, Spain have analyzed the websites of nearly 50 banks from the EU to check whether any user, even if disabled, has equal access. The results show that this right is not fulfilled in 74% of cases, and therefore they demand greater interest from financial entities in this technological and social problem. Web accessibility is the set of technological innovations that ensure equitable access to the web for all users, regardless of disability or the device used. However, these facilities are not present in most of the web pages of European banks, according to an analysis by computer scientists and economists from the University of Oviedo.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/03/07/three-out-of-every-four-european-banks-fails-in-the-accessibility-of-their-websites/, March 10, 2014

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