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IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  1. Easy-to-use accessibility tools
  2. Closer look at colleges' online accessibility
  3. Accessibility in Office 365 — progress in 2015 and plans for 2016
  4. Web content accessibility for users with varying abilities 
  5. BBC researches caption user experience
  6. Common accessibility element pitfalls and how to avoid them
  7. Businesses accept The Invitation to support accessibility 
  8. App helps people with disabilities determine, document building accessibility 
  9. Meet a disabilities lawyer pushing the envelope on digital accessibility 


1

Easy-to-use accessibility tools

Is your website ready for people with visual impairments? Have you ever tried to navigate your own site without a mouse? Just some of the questions I asked you in my article "Accessibility Matters." In Joost’s recent article on the Google Webmaster Guidelines update, he explains that these new guidelines also focus more on accessibility. Accessibility does matter, and clearly for Google as well. In this article, I’ll show you some easy tools you can use to make your website accessible for more visitors.

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2

Closer look at colleges' online accessibility

With new federal regulations for web accessibility coming down the pike, officials from Perkins School for the Blind embarked on an experiment. They examined popular website pages – admissions, events, dining, etc. – of 20 top colleges to gauge their accessibility. The result: more than 90 percent didn’t meet guidelines to make websites accessible to disabled users. So a division of the nearly 190-year-old nonprofit school that develops and sells products – called Perkins Solutions, it’s the primary provider of Braille typewriters – launched Perkins Access last week to help colleges perfect their websites and learning platforms. Customers such as Harvard and Notre Dame had already sought their expertise; the former, for its online classes, and the latter, for its admissions portal. “Everybody should be accessible because it’s the right thing to do,” said Bill Oates, vice president of Perkins Solutions. Not to mention, he added, it widens colleges’ pool of potential students and could head off litigation issues like those that hit Florida State, Penn State and others. “We believe that this is an imminently solvable problem for higher education.”

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3

Accessibility in Office 365 — progress in 2015 and plans for 2016

Last week, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, chief accessibility officer for Microsoft, outlined our company-wide guiding principles and goals to improve accessibility across our products, services and websites. To support this company priority, the Office 365 team has increased its investments in accessibility to a historical high and is committed to delivering inclusive productivity experiences to empower the 1 billion+ people with disabilities on this planet to achieve more.

Continue reading the article about Office 365 accessibility

4

Web content accessibility for users with varying abilities 

In my free time, I like to ride bicycles. All types of bicycles, single speeds, road bikes, tandems, you name it! One of my favorite bikes is the red tandem that my husband and I can ride together.

Recently, my husband started riding the tandem with a legally blind person on the back of it. As it turns out, a tandem bicycle is a great way for a person with visual impairments or total blindness to get out on a bicycle and ride around the city. In speaking with Maria, the blind person who rides with my husband, I’ve learned quite a bit about how technology enables her to communicate, read, write and more. 

Continue reading the article on web accessibility

5

BBC researches caption user experience

Three researchers from the BBC have created a framework for understanding – and potentially improving – the UX (user experience) of people who use captions. In The Development of a Framework for Understanding the UX of Subtitles (note that "subtitle" is the British term for "caption"), Michael Crabb, Rhiane Jones and Mike Armstrong write that improving subtitling “requires a shift in defining what is meant by the quality of subtitles; from the quality of subtitle displays as defined principally by standard efficiency measures to the quality of the overall viewing experience.”

Continue reading the article about the BBC's research on the caption user experience

6

Common accessibility element pitfalls and how to avoid them

Maybe this scenario sounds familiar: you’re working on your iOS application, dabbling with accessibility. You know a little bit about how to use VoiceOver and you’re taking a quick look at your app to make sure it’s accessible. Suddenly you notice a button in the corner. The button is disabled unless a user fills out a certain text field. You think to yourself: Ugh. I should hide that from VoiceOver when it’s disabled. But how do I do that? After a little Googling you find the isAccessibilityElement property. You think: Cool, I can just set isAccessibilityElement to NO and move on. Problem solved!

Except it isn’t. If you thought that was a little too easy, well, you’re right. But unfortunately I’ve read more than one Stack Overflow post that followed this exact line of thinking. It might seem like a reasonably easy fix, but it’s just a bit more involved. That’s what I’m going to cover in this post – in detail – so you’ll be able to handle whatever issues come up. 

Continue reading the article on common accessibility pitfalls.

7

Businesses accept The Invitation to support accessibility 

More than 400 Kiwi businesses around the country are signing up to an initiative that aims to make New Zealand a more inclusive country for the disabled. Social change agency Be Accessible launched its The Invitation campaign at the end of last year, asking businesses to screen "To. Be. Me.," a documentary on Be Accessible's four-year journey so far. The goal of the documentary is to encourage debate about accessibility issues and opportunities. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline's New Zealand business was one of the first organizations on board. General manager Anna Stove said The Invitation was a good way to generate discussion about a topic that was not often discussed.

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8

App helps people with disabilities determine, document building accessibility 

A group advocating for people with disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador is hoping that a new app will make it easier to see what buildings in the province are accessible. "Accessibility is a problem across the country and in our province," says Kim White, executive director for the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (CODNL).
The group is working to spread the word about Access Now, an interactive map that shares the accessibility status of various businesses and buildings around the world.

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9

Meet a disabilities lawyer pushing the envelope on digital accessibility 

To many who know her story, Haben Girma is a hero. In 2013, this daughter of Eritrean immigrants became the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. Two years later she was part of the legal team that helped score a major civil rights victory in National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd, a precedent-setting case that will lead to the e-book company making the 40 million titles in its library accessible to blind subscribers by the end of 2017. But when asked to name a hero of hers, Girma chooses Daniel Goldstein, the 67-year-old counsel for the National Federation of the Blind and the mastermind behind a legal strategy to bring the Americans with Disabilities Act into the digital era.

Goldstein “is a phenomenal force in the disability rights field,” Girma wrote in an email to JTA. “Dan has helped move us toward a more accessible world both by fearlessly tackling key cases and by mentoring new disability rights lawyers.” Goldstein is helping to drive an expansion of disability rights, taking specific aim at the digital sphere, where the scope of legal protections for the disabled remains ambiguous.

Continue reading the article about the disabilities lawyer fighting for digital accessibility

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