The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) Launches This Week
The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) announced the official launch of their organization today in conjunction with the CSUN 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, California.
From http://www.financialpost.com/markets/news/International+Association+Accessibility+Professionals+IAAP+Launches+This/9637400/story.html, March 21, 2014
FCC Accepting Nominations for Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility; Deadline: April 15
To that end, the Accessibility and Innovation (A&I) Initiative was created to promote collaborative problem-solving on accessibility among academic, industry, consumer and government sectors. A signature project of the A&I Initiative is the Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman's AAA) to recognize innovators for contributions to accessible technology.
From http://www.fcc.gov/blog/fcc-accepting-nominations-chairman-s-awards-advancement-accessibility-deadline-march-31, March 21, 2014
Samsung Phone Accessories Cater to the Visually Impaired
Samsung added some software features for the visually-impaired to its Galaxy Core Advance late last year, and now it’s gone ahead and released some physical ones as well. The Ultrasonic Cover, Optical Scan Stand, and Voice Labels, all make it easier for those with difficulty seeing to navigate, access information and engage with the world around us. The Ultrasonic Cover is a case that can be used to detect objects in the surrounding environment. It vibrates, or sends a Text-to-Speech alert, when an object is near, and can detect items up to 2 meters away.
From http://www.psfk.com/2014/03/samsung-phone-accessories-cater-to-the-visually-impaired.html#!Aqimy, March 18, 2014
A Wearable PC That Could Benefit the Disabled
Wearable computers seem to be the next big thing and researchers in Japan have created one that may benefit those who don't have use of their hands: a PC that clips onto your ear and can be controlled by facial expressions.
From http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/408648/wearable-pc-could-benefit-disabled, March 17, 2014
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