Accessibility Now

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IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  1. The Accessible Technology Challenges Facing Millennials
  2. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled
  3. American Foundation for the Blind Announces 2015 Helen Keller Achievement Award Honorees
  4. Q&A with Robert Kingett: Motivational Speaker, Author and Video-On-Demand Accessibility Advocate
  5. Two New Chrome Accessibility Extensions Released by Google
  6. Jeffery Lewis Appointed AT&T Chief Accessibility Officer
  7. APSC Videos Put Disability in the Frame
  8. 7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About Accessibility
  9. 3D Printing Accessibility


1

The Accessible Technology Challenges Facing Millennials

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently announced two important communications accessibility issues that will be addressed for Americans with disabilities. The Commission's primary objective is to strive toward better access to information and communication technologies (ICT) for those with disabilities.

As part of this, the FCC and U.S. Access Board cohosted a forum in April on accessibility issues facing young adults with disabilities. During the forum, a panel of young adults with disabilities talked about their experiences regarding the accessibility of ICT. They agreed that advancements in information and consumer technologies have given them easier access to tools and materials that improve their educational, professional and personal lives. But they also highlighted the challenges they still face, including obtaining instructional materials in Braille, accessing online videos with quality captions and navigating websites.  

Read the complete blog post about the FCC's forum on accessibility issues facing young adults

2

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled

According to this Government of Canada blog post, about one million Canadians are blind or have partial sight. These individuals have had a tough time finding print material in an accessible and easy-to-use format. The advent of new technologies hopes to address this problem for those in Canada. Copyright laws need to be respected but should not result in additional barriers for those with a print disability.

Giving all users access to the best and latest published materials from around the world is the goal of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The treaty sets international standards so that materials can be adapted into formats that visually impaired and individuals with print disabilities can use, such as Braille and audio book alternatives. The treaty will have certain exemptions to copyright to help give these materials in new formats.

Read the complete post about the Marrakesh Treaty

3

American Foundation for the Blind Announces 2015 Helen Keller Achievement Award Honorees

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) recently announced the names of this year’s recipients of the Helen Keller Achievement Award. Awardees include Apple Inc. for breakthroughs in accessible technology, actor Charlie Cox for his portrayal of a blind superhero, Ward Marston, a musician/recording engineer with vision loss, and Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. for pioneering treatment of a circadian rhythm disorder that can affect blind people. Apple received recognition for VoiceOver, a screen reader program that helps make Apple products accessible to people with vision loss. The AFB's Helen Keller Achievement Awards gala will be held in New York City on June 18, 2015. 

Read the complete article about the AFB's award winners

4

Q&A with Robert Kingett: Motivational Speaker, Author and Video-On-Demand Accessibility Advocate

Robert Kingett is an accessibility advocate, motivational speaker and author of “Off the Grid: Living Blind Without the Internet.” Kingett is also the creator of the Accessible Netflix Project. He was recently in the news for his success advocating for audio description on Netflix's “Daredevil” series.

Media Access Australia recently sat down with Kingett for a Q&A session. Kingett shared his motivation to improve access to digital media, discussed how the Accessible Netflix Project started, and shared his thoughts on the current state of video-on-demand services. He also highlighted some of his upcoming accessibility projects. Kingett was clear about his goal: “I am advocating for the better accessibility of digital media,” he said.  

Read the Q&A with Robert Kingett

5

Two New Chrome Accessibility Extensions Released by Google

The accessibility team at Google has released two new extensions for its Chrome browser. The extensions are set to improve the browser's accessibility in two different ways. The first extension is Animation Policy. This extension will give users more control over animated image formats in Chrome. By default, animations run in a loop in Chrome, which is not the best usability experience. It can be difficult to quickly stop the animation when the image has fully loaded in the browser. Animation Policy provides controls to run animations once only or not at all. The second extension is called Color Enhancer. It adds a color filter that can be customized to the browser. This may improve color perception on websites for those users who are partially color-blind. 

Read the complete article about Google Chrome's Two New Accessibility Extensions.

6

Jeffery Lewis Appointed AT&T Chief Accessibility Officer

AT&T Inc. has appointed Jeffery Lewis as the company’s chief accessibility officer (CAO). Lewis will lead the company's Corporate Accessibility Technology Office, which helps those with disabilities access and utilize AT&T technology. Lewis is replacing Chris Rice, who has retired.

Mark Balsano, deputy chief accessibility officer, will help support Lewis. The two will work together to expand the organization to better provide services to the millions of AT&T customers with disabilities. AT&T has also assigned engineers and other experts to develop technology solutions for those with disabilities. Speech recognition software called AT&T WATSON, which lets developers add voice controls to their apps, is one advancement from this effort. 

Read the complete announcement of AT&T's new chief accessibility officer

7

APSC Videos Put Disability in the Frame

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has created a video series to build awareness around disability. The Australian Public Service (APS) hopes these videos will help make it a better workplace. The series is titled “Leading the Way” and features a number of APS senior executives, disability champions and subject matter experts who share their thoughts on the employment of those with disabilities and the benefits of inclusive workplaces. “As One,” a video from the series, outlines the significance of overall strategy and is designed to support and build workforce participation of people with disabilities across the APS.

Another video, “Building Disability Confidence,” features leaders from the APS outlining how building the confidence of workers with disabilities will ensure a supportive, positive and inclusive workplace for all across the APS. The APSC website has a link for the entire series and hopes that you will explore the free resource.   

Read the complete article about APSC's new video series on inclusive workplaces

8

7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About Accessibility   

Accessibility allows those with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to the web. Designers and developers are making the web more open for all users, but there are still barriers. In this blog post, the author has developed a list of guidelines to cover the major standards of Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. Getting a product “design ready” to meet the minimum of these standards is addressed. The author also discusses how accessibility is not a barrier to innovation; rather, designers can explore new ideas that will result in better products for all users.

Read the complete article about the seven things every designer should know about accessibility

9

3D Printing Accessibility 

This “BIT Magazine” article discusses how 3D printing has the potential to help change the lives of persons with disabilities. For example, 3D printing is significantly dropping prices while improving the fit and function of prosthetic limbs. The article references an open-source project called e-NABLE, which uses 3D printing to provide persons with disabilities with inexpensive and precisely fitted prosthetic limbs. 3D printing is already having a huge impact on society. In the future, personal manufacturing, synthetic biology and regenerative medicine combined could allow individuals with disabilities to walk, see and hear.

Read the complete article about how 3D printers are helping advance accessibility

www.accessibilityassociation.org 
IAAP - International Association of Accessibility Professionals