What Twitter's New Accessibility Feature Could Mean for People Living With Sight Loss
There are currently around 38million active social media accounts in the UK; that's around one account for every two people living here. This number rockets to two billion on a global scale. And while there's no hard stats, I'd bet that a decent percentage of these users are blind or partially sighted - there's two million people in the UK alone living with sight loss, after all. So I was pleased with last week's news that Twitter is set to introduce a new accessibility feature to the platform, to enable blind and partially sighted people to digest images more easily.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/terry-hawkins/twitters-new-accessibility-feature_b_9625974.html, April 18, 2016
Google Releases New Tool to Scan Android Apps for Accessibility Issues
For anyone designing Android apps, Google just released a tool that will help make your apps more accessible for all users. The company's new Accessibility Scanner looks at any Android app and will call out aspects of it that could be improved, particularly for differently abled users. The app will even suggest ways you can alter things for the better. It seems pretty simple to use: just download the Accessibility Scanner to your mobile app, go to Settings and Accessibility, and turn on the Accessibility Scanner tool.
From http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/google-releases-new-tool-to-scan-android-apps-for-accessibility-issues/, April 15, 2016
Moovit Expands Accessibility Features for Blind Users
It’s easy to get caught up in the new, cool thing aspect of transportation tech and apps, but there’s some real social benefit and freedom to be found here. Take, for instance, Moovit’s latest upgrade. The public transportation app recently added features to make it easier for blind users to take transit using VoiceOver (iOS) and TalkBack (Android) integration. The app launched worldwide in 2013 and now covers transit in 800 cities with 35 million users.
From http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/30/moovit-expands-accessibility-features-for-blind-users/, April 15, 2016
FCC Proposes Rule to Expand Accessibility of Television Programs for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (link opens a Word document) that recommends updating its video description rules. The new rules would expand the availability of video described programming for people who are blind or visually impaired. Current FCC regulations require certain TV broadcast stations and pay-TV systems to provide video descriptions on some programming. Link opens a PDF file. Get information in text format.
From https://www.disability.gov/fcc-proposes-rule-to-expand-accessibility-of-television-programs-for-people-who-are-blind-or-visually-impaired/, April 15, 2016
IT Accessibility and Living with Autism
People with autism often have difficulty grasping or manipulating objects, such as a mouse. A touch screen allows people with autism to navigate and interact with the computer by replacing mouse actions with a tap or touch on the screen. Trackballs are another alternative for a mouse. Instead of having to grasp and drag a mouse across a mouse pad, trackballs use a stationary rolling ball to move the cursor around. This design gives people with autism greater control and helps them to position the cursor more accurately.
From http://theweco.com/it-accessibility-living-with-autism/, April 15, 2016
VIDEO: Microsoft and STEP Envision How Technology Can Help Children with Learning Differences
Microsoft and STEP teamed up to look at how technology can make a program targeted at children with learning differences more engaging, precise and rewarding for all.
From https://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Microsoft-for-Startups/Microsoft-and-STEP-envision-how-technology-can-help-children-with-learning-differences, April 15, 2016
FCC: IP Relay Services Provides Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
Internet Protocol Relay Service allows individuals with a hearing or speech disability to use Telecommunications Relay Service through a computer or web-enabled device to communicate through the telephone system with individuals who are able to hear. IP Relay is accessible through the Internet rather than a TTY or telephone, allowing users to communicate by text.
From https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/203515890-IP-Relay-Service, April 14, 2016
Pakistan Launches Award with Focus on Apps for Persons with Disabilities
The 2016 edition of Pakistan Mobile App Awards has been launched with focus on development of ready-to-use mobile applications addressing needs of Persons with Disabilities. The theme for this year awards is “Embracing Mobile Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Pakistan.” Experts on Friday said around 10% of Pakistan’s population face some form of disability. In his comments, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Syed Ismail Shah hoped there would be support for this cause from all across Pakistan as work on accessibility does not stop with mobile applications.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/14/pakistan-launches-award-with-focus-on-apps-for-persons-with-disabilities/, April 14, 2016
Building a New Disability Strategy for New Zealand
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on issues that affect people with disabilities as public consultation on building a new disability strategy begins. The new disability strategy will establish a clear direction for the government over the next ten years, providing a framework to help make informed decisions on issues that impact disabled people. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will also be incorporated into the strategy.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/13/building-a-new-disability-strategy-for-new-zealand/, April 14, 2016
USA: Most K-12 Online Learning Content Does Not Meet Needs of Students with Disabilities
Online education is growing rapidly, reaching millions of students every day. However, a Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas study has found the majority of online educational products are not designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and struggling learners. Sean J. Smith, professor of special education and a co-principal investigator with the center, has authored “Invited In: Measuring UDL in Online Learning.” The report analyzes how six popular vendors of online learning products meet the principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, the concept that education should be designed to meet the needs of all students. It also provides a tool that K-12 school districts across the country can use to evaluate online education programs they are using or considering for their students.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/13/most-k-12-online-learning-content-does-not-meet-needs-of-students-with-disabilities/, April 14, 2016