In 2013 people with disability have been offered more choice in smartphones and tablet computers. While Apple still dominates this market, this year saw its competitors offer affordable and accessible alternatives. Here, Media Access Australia looks at a selection of mainstream electronic devices and how they have been improved for accessibility.
Elsevier consistently and proactively endeavors to make our products fully accessible to all users, regardless of physical abilities. That commitment reflects the growing customer need for accessibility of our books and online products, and our focus on customers, innovation and partnership with the science and health communities we serve. We will leverage our strengths in the creative use of available technology. We will advance and lead best practices and always adhere to applicable law and international standards
Public procurement policies have been powerful tools in efforts to make information technology more accessible, helping to leverage the tremendous purchasing power of governments to encourage accessibility development.
For more than a decade Section 508, a policy that requires the U.S. government to consider accessibility when buying any information technology, has been the de facto accessibility standard around the world.
While Section 508 has been responsible for a lot of progress, the twelve-year-old standard has become hopelessly outdated in the digital age. To address this, the U.S. Access Board created the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) in 2006 and charged it with developing ways to update the policy. Two years later, TEITAC issued its recommendations and the federal government followed with two proposed rules, or advance notices of proposed rulemaking. But, we are still waiting for a new standard.
Meeting the legal challenge of accessibility to information for all in the new age of information will only get more difficult and complicated with the rise of new publishing models and formats. However, with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we have little choice but to find the best possible solutions for our clients.
With accessibility features, you can navigate your Kindle Fire using special gestures, and hear spoken feedback about the items you touch and open.
Tip: After turning on your Kindle Fire for the first time, you can turn on Screen Reader and Explore by Touch by placing two fingers (slightly apart) on the first screen, and then holding for five seconds.
Research From the Smithsonian Institution Laboratory for Visual Learning. People with dyslexia, who ordinarily struggle to read, sometimes remark that reading is easier when e-readers are used. Here, we used eye tracking to observe high school students with dyslexia as they read using these devices. Among the factors investigated, we found that reading using a small device resulted in substantial benefits, improving reading speeds by 27%, reducing the number of fixations by 11%, and importantly, reducing the number of regressive saccades by more than a factor of 2, with no cost to comprehension
As students return to school this fall, most will find a plethora of new technologies and virtual environments, on which their institutions have been spending millions of dollars to bring into the classroom. Yet many of these resources will be needlessly discriminatory. What would happen if an institution constructed a new state-of-the-art building but neglected to make it accessible to the disabled? People would rightly be outraged. Yet even as new technology-rich environments revolutionize the classroom, few make provision for people who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print-disabled.
Just like buildings, digital resources can be made accessible to all through good design and planning. Electronic resources should be inherently accessible; for most people, the zeroes and ones that make up digital content are translated for display on screens, but the same information can be transmitted audibly or connected to an accessory that puts it into Braille. Mainstream touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone are fully accessible to blind users right out of the box.
The long wait is over. It’s finally here: iOS 7, the latest and radically redesigned version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Along with the redesigned interface, iOS 7 has a number of new and updated accessibility features which I will outline here (with videos to come soon). I will organize these according to the kinds of supports they provide.
Even as new technology-rich environments revolutionize the classroom, few make provision for people who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print-disabled. , Outrage would be justifiably rampant.
The National Federation of the Blind and the Association of American Publishers have drafted a bill called the Technology Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act; it would inform manufacturers of the minimum level of accessibility needed for digital platforms, clarify for schools what to seek in their materials, and relieve students of the burden of ensuring access to their own educational content. The US Access Board, which created the Americans with Disabilities Act building guidelines, would create standards for digital educational materials.
On June 27, 2013, a Diplomatic Conference of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held in Marrakesh, Morocco adopted the "Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled." The Treaty is intended to promote the making and distribution of copies of books and other published materials in formats accessible to people with print disabilities. The Treaty would achieve this objective by obligating signatory countries (referred to as Contracting Parties) to adopt exceptions in their copyright laws that permit the making of copies in accessible formats as well as the distribution of those copies both domestically and internationally.
NIMAS is a technical standard for developing accessible K-12 instructional materials. It states that all books published after August 18, 2006, must be produced in the NIMAS format in addition to printed versions. This standard was put in place by policy makers to assure that “qualifying students with disabilities receive textbooks and other important materials in an accessible format at the same time as their fellow students.”
The NIMAS Workflow Graphic provides details regarding the various steps involved in the whole NIMAS cycle from states adopting NIMAS and agreeing to coordinate with the national repository (the NIMAC), the role of states and local districts in prompting publishers to develop and deliver NIMAS filesets to the NIMAC, the file validation process, the downloading of files from the NIMAC by Authorized Users appointed by states and by Accessible Media Producers when requested by Authorized Users, the preparation of accessible specialized formats, and, finally, delivery to students that qualify.
Accessibility features include the ability to increase the size of text and images. For someone who needs large print to read, this can be a revelation, as so few books are published in this format. The colors can usually be changed to suit a person's requirements for their visual or cognitive condition. This can be of great benefit for someone with low vision, or with a cognitive reading impairment, as often a different color combination can be easier to read. E-books can also be read by a blind person using a feature where the text on screen is spoken to them with a synthetic voice, or sent to a connected device that uses a matrix of plastic pins to form braille letters, to be read by touch. These accessibility features are available on tablet computers such as the iPad and on Android tablets costing as little as £119 (about $192 or €140). And iPads and iPhones come with a built-in (free) text-to-speech capability called VoiceOver, which is very popular with people who are visually impaired.
Chuck Hitchcock's insight:
Promoting accessible mainstream publishing products. This is good.l
The company that brought you the first animated feature film and the multiplane camera may be at work on its most game-changing invention yet: Flat touchscreens that let you feel the shape and texture of pictured objects, almost like they were actually there.
The United States has signed the World Intellectual Property Organization Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.
According to the WIPO website, the United States and Zimbabwe signed on 2 October, which appears to bring the number to 57. So far none have ratified it.
Despite signing, the United States might be a long way from ratifying the June 2013 treaty, as noted by Jonathan Band of policybandwidth in Washington, DC, who first announced the US signing.
Earlier this week, Ryan Sleeper wrote a very informative post about improving the design of your data visualizations with your color choices. He touched on how straying from the built-in Tableau color palettes can give your dashboards a more custom feel, solidify the theme, and effect the appeal of the dashboard to your audience. But there is also another time that you should be cognizant of your color choices: when you need to make your dashboard accessible to folks who are colorblind. The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that 1 out of every 10 men have some form of color blindness. If you are using color to code important data, you should think about using color palettes that accessible to color blind people.
Google recently set up a course in web "accessibility" which may sound great at first. Until they start the paragraph with: "According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people have vision impairments.
As if people who are blind or have low vision are the only users with disabilities having difficulties using websites. What about people with other disabilities? It is not the first time when an organization or an individual talks about web accessibility as something only for blind users.
The Department of Justice has been delaying Web accessibility updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for years, but 2013 may be when it finally happens. If your business already follows existing accessibility guidelines, little will change. If you don't, this article sorts out what you will likely have to do.
Chuck Hitchcock's insight:
As publishers and developers improve the accessibility of digital learning materials, we will also want to make certain that their public websites are fully accessible as well.
E-readers (portable devices used primarily for reading electronic books) and general purpose tablets with book-reading apps, like the iPad, are fast becoming popular choices for reading the growing collection of books available in electronic formats. Both types arrived with some accessibility advantages, and developers have been making their products more accessible to people with visual and dexterity disabilities. This article is a summary of the current accessibility state-of-the-art for the most popular of these devices, as well as information on using computers to access e-books. The field is evolving due to lawsuits against schools and libraries, by groups concerned with access.
As a representative of the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with numerous individuals and organizations to promote the value of social media accessibility. My major takeaway? There are many misconceptions. By highlighting some of the major myths here, I hope to arm readers with information they can use to educate others and help support social media inclusion for all.