Accessibility Now

Website    Forward    View in browser
IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  1. New Voice Tech Illuminates Video, Audio and Home Automation for the Visually Impaired
  2. Inclusive Print Access Project at Delhi University
  3. CEA Publishes Accessibility Resource Center
  4. User Experience Impossible: The Line Between Accessibility and Usability
  5. ITU Wants to Encourage New Policy for ICT Inclusion and Accessibility
  6. In Self-Driving Cars, a Potential Lifeline for People with Disabilities
  7. Technology Geared to Making Life Easier for Elderly, Disabled and Caregivers
  8. Making Dropbox for iOS More Accessible
  9. ‘Play Angry Birds Hands-Free’: Startup Develops Head-Controlled Phone for Disabled
  10. Understanding the Experience of Gamers with Disabilities
  11. Apple Releases iOS 8.1.1 with Fixes for Blind and Low-Vision Users


1

New Voice Tech Illuminates Video, Audio and Home Automation for the Visually Impaired

More than 8 million Americans have impaired vision, according to the U.S. Census. Talking alarm clocks, watches and scales have long been available to help them navigate some basic daily needs. This Philly.com article discusses new advances in technology for Americans who are visually impaired. Now, with much finer tuned voice recognition, voice response and cloud-based brain power at the ready, a new generation of interactive gizmos are enabling extra fun, information access and easy control. For example, Amazon Echo is an always-on, voice-activated tool that allows users to access a myriad of resources. The Echo opens up access to news, music, weather and more, in addition to being an expertly tuned speaker that is capable of filling a room with immersive sound. Comcast is also unveiling the first voice-guided TV interface, which will make it easier for those with visual impairments to navigate the 500-plus cable television stations. 

Read the complete Philly.com article about new advances in technology for people with visual impairments.  

2

Inclusive Print Access Project at Delhi University

The Delhi University is making its libraries more inclusive through the Inclusive Print Access Project. The university is installing a new technology that will scan books and transcribe text into speech in all of its libraries. The Inclusive Print Access Project is a combination of software that is imported from abroad to help suit the needs of visually impaired students. The software also includes “Braille space,” in which students can record their assignments to convert them into written text. This first-of-its-kind initiative by an Indian university is groundbreaking and will allow students with disabilities more independence during their study. 

Read the complete blog post about Delhi University’s move to make its libraries more inclusive

3

CEA Publishes Accessibility Resource Center

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced the publication of a new Accessibility Resource Center. This is a resource guide available to members of CEA to aid in the understanding and meeting of the new federal accessibility requirements.

The CEA unites 2,000 companies within the consumer technology industry. It allows members to tap into valuable and innovative resources that are exclusive to the members. These include unparalleled market research, networking opportunities with business advocates and leaders, up-to-date educational programs and technical training, exposure in extensive promotional programs and representation from the voice of the industry.  

Read the complete article about the CEA’s publication of a new Accessibility Resource Center

4

User Experience Impossible: The Line Between Accessibility and Usability

This DigitalGov piece argues the merits of measuring both accessibility and usability to create the best user experience. The author notes that while some people consider accessibility to be the same as usability, she thinks the two complement one another, but are not the same. She notes that we are only beginning to test the deep waters of the vast uses and opportunities that wider accessibility creates. And while accessibility is certainly a benchmark to represent the quality of our users' experiences, it is critical to listen to feedback from all users.

Read the complete DigitalGov article about the importance of both accessibility and usability

5

ITU Wants to Encourage New Policy for ICT Inclusion and Accessibility

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized that very few nations have acted to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to our digital society. In response, it has published an information and communications technology (ICT) accessibility report in partnership with the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict).  

The report notes that although many countries have ICT policies and regulations that generally are for universal access, the needs of the disability community are quite different. They require a deliberate additional focus on ICT accessibility, specifically by legislators aimed at removing the barriers to ICT use. The ITU is committed to working with all stakeholders toward global ICT accessibility, as well as affordability in all countries and regions and by all people, including those with disabilities.

Read the complete article about the ITU’s ICT accessibility report

6

In Self-Driving Cars, a Potential Lifeline for People with Disabilities

This New York Times article profiles the self-driving car as a potential life-changing innovation for many people with disabilities. The cars could offer a new measure of independence for those with disabilities and the elderly. The development of this technology has come a long way, but consumers still need to be patient. In August 2014, the chief executive of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, pledged that the automaker would offer a car with “autonomous drive technology” by 2020. Other automakers, such as Audi and G.M., are also testing prototypes. The Google prototypes are offering suggestions and innovations on how to assimilate the self-driving models onto the roads.

Read the complete New York Times article about self-driving cars

7

Technology Geared to Making Life Easier for Elderly, Disabled and Caregivers

This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article examines the looming shortage of caregivers in the near future, which is of concern to those who are getting older or have use of a caregiver now. The University of Pennsylvania is developing groundbreaking prototypes that assist in caregiving. Just one of several projects involves a prototype dubbed the “Strong Arm,” which is designed for helping people who use a wheelchair move to and from their chair more easily. It employs the use of an automated “arm” with hooks to attach a harness. This technology is a few years from commercial release. The prototypes aim to ease the minds of caregivers, as well as the people needing care. In the year 2030, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. At the same time, caregivers will represent one in two Americans.

Read the complete Post-Gazette article on new technology for the elderly and people with disabilities

8

Making Dropbox for iOS More Accessible

Apple is working to improve the Dropbox experience for those who rely on assistive technologies. Significant new accessibility improvements have been made to the iOS app to ensure it is simple and easy to use. AppleVis has even given the updates the “fully accessible with VoiceOver” and “easy to navigate and use” rating.

Apple paired its research with feedback from the AppleVis community to make even more improvements, and the company says this is just the beginning. It is looking forward to working closely with the accessibility community, as well as enhancing the usability of its products for everyone. The company is asking for feedback from all of its users to help improve its apps.

Read the complete blog post about Apple’s move to make Drobbox more accessible

9

‘Play Angry Birds Hands-Free’: Startup Develops Head-Controlled Phone for Disabled

According to this RT article, crowdfunding site Indigogo has helped an Israeli tech startup launch a voice-activated, head-controlled smartphone set called “Sesame.” The goal of the invention is to allow those who have no use of their hands to control touchscreen devices. Sesame, named for the magic phrase that opens the treasure cave in the Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves fairy tale, hopes to bring smartphones to everyone.

The technology is based on head movement detection and uses voice command to detect users’ input. Currently, the technology is only compatible with Samsung Nexus phones. The software was originally developed without considering users with disabilities. The developer was contacted by a former Israeli navy commander and trainer engineer who is also a quadriplegic after the technology was featured on Israeli television. The former commander saw powerful potential in the technology, so the two formed a partnership.

Read the complete RT article about the development of a head-controlled phone for people with disabilities

10

Understanding the Experience of Gamers with Disabilities

This Media Access Australia post highlights the ways in which accessibility issues in games create a challenge for gamers with disabilities. The company asked gamers with and without disabilities for their thoughts, experiences and opinions on using in-game captions and their ideas for improving game accessibility.

Deaf gamers noted that captioning would be a huge win for gaming accessibility, allowing all players to better understand game dialogue. Even online gaming is becoming more accessible as player cameras allow deaf players to sign to one another in real-time. Game accessibility guidelines have been provided by AbleGamers Foundation, which represents one of the few formalized accessibility standards for gaming.

Read the complete blog post about the experience of gamers with disabilities

11

Apple Releases iOS 8.1.1 with Fixes for Blind and Low-Vision Users

This AppleVis blog post outlines the changes Apple made to its new iOS to fix bugs for blind and low-vision users. For example, the VoiceOver focus was addressed and the screen now scrolls correctly to follow the movement. Apple's accessibility team is making significant headway into fixing accessibility-specific bugs. The bugs were noticed in the initial release of iOS 8, and Apple says there may still be bugs present. The company is asking that all users who experience problems report them to Apple so they can be fixed in future updates for all. 

Read the complete blog post about fixes to accessibility bugs found in Apple’s latest iOS

IAAP WEBSITE
IAAP - International Association of Accessibility Professionals