Overcoming Audio Description's Technical Hurdles
Following the 2012 trial on ABC1, Media Access Australia has compiled a briefing paper outlining how Australia’s television industry can overcome the technical challenges of broadcasting audio description (AD). Below are some of the potential hurdles that have been presented and our explanation of how they can be overcome.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/general/overcoming-audio-description%E2%80%99s-technical-hurdles, March 22, 2013
Robot Technology helps Blind People to Navigate Indoor and Outdoor Spaces Independently
Robots need help navigating their surroundings and sophisticated location systems keep track of their position. Now, the same technologies are being adapted to help people who are blind navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently. One such system, being developed by Edwige Pissaloux and colleagues at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, consists of a pair of glasses equipped with cameras and sensors like those used in robot exploration.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/22/robot-technology-helps-blind-people-to-navigate-indoor-and-outdoor-spaces-independently/, March 22, 2013
Study: 78% of Web Users Aged 55+ Say Their Life has Improved by Being Online
New online research from Age UK shows that nearly four out of five (78%) older people who use the internet believe their lives have improved by being online, with nearly one in four (23%) saying they feel closer to friends and family as a result and 42% declaring that they now cannot imagine life without the internet. Carried out by YouGov on behalf of Age UK, the online poll also revealed just how the lives of web users aged 55+ have been transformed: 44% have made savings online, nearly one in three (32%) pursue hobbies and one in five (19%) feel like they are more independent as a result of being online.
From http://www.economicvoice.com/life-online-is-great-say-older-web-users/50035740#ixzz2OGojCEFC, March 22, 2013
WeCo Puts a Human Face on Testing for Website Accessibility
WeCo responds to the shift, from automatic checkers to people with disabilities, in the web accessibility marketplace by hiring additional Testers. WeCo uses user-experienced testers to ensure the website is accessible to the real-life end user.
From http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10488197.htm, March 19, 2013
Voice Activated Remote Gives a Woman the Ability to Control the TV Again
Using your voice to control the world around you is becoming more and more prevalent every day. Who hasn’t heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking to control the computer and then there is always Siri on Apple devices to send emails, setup reminders or check the weather. There are also assistive technology devices that allow you to control your TV, DVD, Radio, or even lights and fans, all with just your voice.
From http://ndipat.org/blog/voice-activated-remote-gives-a-woman-the-ability-to-control-the-tv-again/, March 19, 2013
USA: FCC Wants Text Crawls to Include Sound by 2015
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is circulating a proposed order among commissioners that would give broadcasters and cable operators two years to convert emergency text crawls into audio for the blind and sight-impaired. The order would not initially apply to Internet video delivery, which is being treated as a separate issue. Along with the order comes a Notice of Proposed Further Rulemaking that focuses on how the audio requirement should apply to IP-delivered services or to the migration of programming to mobile-oriented TV Everywhere platforms.
From http://broadcastengineering.com/psipeasipaws/fcc-wants-text-crawls-include-sound-2015, March 19, 2013
Making Technology Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Technology can be a wonderful resource for students with disabilities, but it also comes with its challenges. Some students use forms of technology called assistive or adaptive technology. Assistive technology is software or hardware that helps students with disabilities do something that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. For example, students who are blind or low vision may use assistive technology like screen reading or screen magnifying programs to allow them to access information presented on their computer. Screen readers and screen magnifiers allow students who are blind or low vision to do things like read documents, emails, and webpages. Unfortunately, use of assistive technology does not guarantee that the student will be able to access the information. Challenges arise when certain forms of technology are not created with accessibility in mind. For instance, when words are provided on an image, like on the banner at the top of this page, a screen reader cannot read the words from the image. The individual inserting the image must have accessibility in mind and provide alternative text so that an individual using a screen reader will have access to the information provided on the image.
From http://louisville.edu/disability/faculty-staff/making_technology_accessible.html, March 19, 2013
European Commission Seeks to Improve Access to Rail Travel for Persons with Disabilities
The European Commission is making accessibility an essential requirement for rail infrastructure when newly built, upgraded or renewed. Accessibility can be achieved by preventing or removing barriers and through other measures such as provision of assistance. The rules apply to infrastructure (e.g. obstacle-free routes, ticketing, information desks, toilets, visual and spoken information, platform width and height, and boarding aids) and to rail carriages (e.g. doors, toilets, wheelchair spaces, and information).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/18/european-commission-seeks-to-improve-access-to-rail-travel-for-persons-with-disabilities/, March 18, 2013
Making Workplaces more Accessible through Innovation
Each year high school students from around the country compete in the AbilityOne Design Challenge, an annual competition encouraging students to develop assistive technologies that empower people with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment. The top five finalists all go to Washington D.C. to present their prototype and the winners take $5,000 back to their school. NISH, a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities, sponsors the event. On February 15, 2013 this year’s winners were announced.
From http://www.forbes.com/sites/judyowen/2013/03/03/innovation-for-accessibility/, March 16, 2013
Universal Accessibility: A New Conversation About Web Accessibility
Hundreds of millions of people can't access all the benefits of the internet. Dyslexia, visual impairments and literacy issues impact around 15-20% of people. The result is that the internet is a challenging environment to navigate. Making the internet fully accessible - the most universal, advanced, democratic communication tool ever created - is an important issue. Barriers to entry shouldn't exist. The accessibility technology sector should be focusing on creating, and promoting, solutions for this market. That isn't always the case. The problem is that many accessibility companies seem intent on lobbying governments to lower those barriers, instead of developing better solutions to overcome them.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dominic-tarn/universal-accessibility-a_b_2667341.html, March 16, 2013