Feature: Captioning Support in Internet Explorer 10: An Accessibility Breakthrough
If you frequently watch video content on the web, you may have noticed the recent increase in the availability of captions. Sometimes they are part of the video itself, while other times they are created by voice recognition software during playback. In either scenario, the increased visibility of captioning technology is a result of The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which requires VoIP providers and manufacturers to make their services and equipment more accessible to web users with disabilities.
From https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/2013/02/01/captioning-support-in-internet-explorer-10-an-accessibility-breakthrough/, February 01, 2013
RSLSteeper Launch Switch Access Device for Apple Touchscreen Devices
At the 2013 ATiA Conference in Orlando, Florida, RSLSteeper unveiled Pererro – a unique product that utilizes VoiceOver to bring Apple touchscreen devices to those previously unable to use this technology. There are an estimated 2.5 million people in the western world unable to use touchscreen technology due to conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Duchenne’s, Muscular Dystrophy or simply the elderly or infirm. Pererro will make iOS technology easily and readily available to this audience for the first time!
From http://rslsteeper.com/news/rslsteeper_launches_pererro, February 01, 2013
USA: Office of Management and Budget Releases IT Accessibility Guidance
In a memo from U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel, the Office of Management and Budget outlined 11 goals to ensure Section 508 technology accessibility regulations are being adhered to. Co-authored by Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Joseph Jordan, the guidance includes a strategic plan for agencies to follow to make sure Section 508 is included in requirements for the acquisition of technology.
From http://fedscoop.com/omb-releases-it-accessibility-guidance/, February 01, 2013
USA: Amtrak Installs Hearing Loop Technology to Enhance Travel Experience for Passengers with Hearing Loss
Amtrak has installed hearing loop technology at designated ticket counters and at the customer service desks in New York and Washington to enhance the travel experience for passengers with hearing loss.
From http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/966/107/Amtrak-Installs-Hearing%20Loops-ATK-13-013.pdf, January 30, 2013
BrailleTouch Now Available on App Store
BrailleTouch is a smartphone app that allows blind and visually impaired people to type on a touchscreen. It is based on the familiar six-key braille keyboard found on the Perkins Brailler and many electronic Braille notetakers. Both the free trial version and full version are available for download. BrailleTouch was made possible, in part, by the Wireless RERC’s App Factory and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
From http://wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/brailletouch-now-available-app-store, January 30, 2013
UK: Older People with Sight Loss Face Major Disadvantages not being Online
Almost nine out of ten (87%) blind and partially sighted older people in the UK have never used the internet, according to research carried out by RNIB in partnership with BT. The report - Tackling Digital Exclusion - older blind and partially sighted people and the internet - reveals people over 65 with sight loss are increasingly at risk from technological alienation. The majority are not taking full advantage of the many benefits of being online, such as staying in touch with friends and family, managing finances and online shopping. Of those that said they had used the internet - more than half of them had not used it at all or had only used it once in the last six months.
From http://www.4-traders.com/BT-GROUP-PLC-4003616/news/BT-Group-plc-Older-people-with-sight-loss-face-major-disadvantages-not-being-online-15977420/, January 29, 2013
How do Touchscreens Work for Blind Users?
VoiceOver is the flagship accessibility feature in iOS. It’s easy in theory: Just drag a finger around the screen to have VoiceOver speak items. Double-tapping activates buttons, and simple gestures let users move between objects. VoiceOver has a learning curve (and any screenreader is usually a mind-bend for sighted users), but it’s remarkably effective. VoiceOver may be most stunning browsing the Web. Users can drag their finger around a page to pick up layout and contextual cues, and VoiceOver has an innovative “rotor” control gesture (think of turning a knob) to concentrate navigation on headings or lists or zoom in to read (or edit) character-by-character. Pop in an earbud and VoiceOver is silent to anyone nearby, and a three-fingered triple-tap hides the display: No worries about someone reading over your shoulder.
From http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/android-and-ios-accessibility-can-help-everybody/, January 29, 2013
USA: The Air Carrier Access Act - Web Accessibility Requirements
U.S. and foreign air carriers operating flights to or selling tickets to the U.S. public are required to ensure that the public-facing content of websites that they own or control conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and Level AA. If enacted, the proposed requirements will not just apply to U.S. air carriers’ public-facing pages; they will also apply to foreign carriers’ public-facing pages that are used to advertise or sell to the U.S. public for air transportation that begins or ends in the U.S.
From https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/2013/01/29/air-carrier-access-act-web-accessibility-requirements/, January 29, 2013
USA: White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours
President Obama and the First Lady have long been committed to ensuring that the White House is truly the People’s House, and that Americans with disabilities are fully integrated into our society. Continuing on that commitment, the White House Visitor’s Office is pleased to announce the availability of an audio description for those taking a White House tour. This will give blind and visually impaired Americans and persons with other print disabilities the opportunity to listen to an audio described tour as they visit the historic, public rooms of the White House.
From http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/24/white-house-announces-audio-descriptions-public-tours, January 28, 2013
USA: Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
The Administration is committed to increasing transparency and improving access to government information and data for all people. This increased transparency requires that information be made available to the public in formats that provide equal access to persons with disabilities. Essential to meeting this objective is ensuring that all electronic and information technology (EIT) that is developed, procured, maintained, or used by the Federal Government is accessible, as required by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.1 Many Federal agencies’ guidance and plans, such as the 2012 Digital Government strategy,2 include EIT accessibility as a strategic outcome. However, implementation of Section 508 across agencies is not consistent, and a more comprehensive approach is needed to build and sustain an accessible Federal technology environment.
From http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/strategic-plan-508-compliance.pdf, January 28, 2013