Accessibility Now

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IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  1. Why Website Accessibility Should Become Your Priority
  2. A More Efficient Path to Online Accessibility
  3. Innovation Needed to Accelerate Digital Inclusion
  4. ‘Responsive Street Furniture’ in Cities Could Boost Accessibility
  5. Disability and Gadgets: Apps and Taps for Inclusive Independence
  6. Baidu Launches ‘Blind Search’ Device to Make the Internet Accessible for People with Vision Disabilities
  7. Apple vs. Google: The Real Winners Are Students with Dyslexia
  8. How to Map Your Mac's CapsLock Key to an NVDA or JAWS Key in a Windows Virtual Machine
  9. The Accessibility Cheat Sheet
  10. Q&A: Developer Tools and Mobile App Accessibility


1

Why Website Accessibility Should Become Your Priority              

In this “Huffington Post” article, Amy Hates of Bazaarvoice writes about why more companies should work toward making their websites accessible for those with disabilities, even if there’s no legal reason to do so. Hayes explains how companies can use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to build accessible sites. She outlines what companies can do in terms of alternative text, adaptability, compatibility and more. She explains that the onus is on companies to create accessible websites and calls on them to do just that.   

Read the complete article on why companies should make their websites accessible

2

A More Efficient Path to Online Accessibility

In this “FCW” article, Karen Evans, national director for the U.S. Cyber Challenge, makes a case for aligning the Section 508 accessibility requirements U.S. government agencies must follow with similar European policies. Evans writes that in doing so, we would create “a global standard, minimizing conflicting interpretations and market confusion, while also providing cost savings for governments, consumers and industry.”

Evans points to such agencies as the Department of Homeland Security, which has posts in Europe, as being a good example of where having a U.S. standard in line with Europe’s would benefit us. In closing, Evans calls on federal CIOs and citizens to lobby the U.S. Access Board to create a global accessibility standard.  

Read the complete article on creating a global accessibility standard

3

Innovation Needed to Accelerate Digital Inclusion

This “IT Wire” article discusses the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators forum held in Gabon, Africa, in June that was host to nearly 400 policymakers from more than 60 countries. The author notes that one of the key messages from the forum is that new approaches to regulation and infrastructure funding are needed to promote digital inclusion and close the digital gap that exists between industrialized economies and developing economies in emerging markets.

The meeting also highlighted the role of innovation in driving information and communications technology (ICT) development. Delegates noted that more innovative approaches to funding challenges were needed and discussed ICT taxation. Network sharing and licensing of new services were also highlighted. 

Read the complete article on new approaches to promote digital inclusion around the world

4

‘Responsive Street Furniture’ in Cities Could Boost Accessibility 

This CBC News article outlines the vision of Ross Atkin, a designer who wants to make cities easier to navigate for those with disabilities by designing “smart” fixtures. His vision includes street lights that brighten as someone with low vision walks by, signs that say their location out loud and street crossings that give extra time to the elderly. The devices would connect to a person’s smartphone or programmable key fob. Atkin says he was inspired by the “adaptability of digital devices and software.” Atkin is working with a landscaping firm and has written a five-point manifesto to start making his vision a reality. 

Read the complete article about one man's vision for a smart city

5

Disability and Gadgets: Apps and Taps for Inclusive Independence      

In this “Disability Horizons” post, Robert Wemyss, IT guru at Really Useful Stuff, summarizes some of the latest tech gadgets created for those with disabilities. The post discusses GPS-enabled “smart” shoes that would connect to Google Maps to tell wearers where to go, currently being developed by an Indian startup company. It also discusses EnChroma Cx glasses, which help correct color-blindness, as well as how the Apple Watch can use a series of taps on a person’s wrist to guide someone via Google Maps. Finally, the article includes a section on Guide Dots, which combines Google Maps, Facebook and crowdsourcing to “provide visually impaired people with a broader awareness of the world around them.” 

Read the complete blog post on apps that can boost digital accessibility

6

Baidu Launches ‘Blind Search’ Device to Make the Internet Accessible for People with Vision Disabilities  

Chinese search engine leader Baidu recently developed a new device to help those who are blind or have low vision search the Internet, according to this “Global Accessibility News” article. The device, called “Blind Search,” uses a combination of input and reading in Braille along with the incorporation of touch-based “images” that include sounds. The article includes a video of the device showing how it is meant to work.

The article notes that 17 million people in China are blind or have low vision. With so many new accessibility efforts being pioneered by new players in the global community, we can hope China is setting an example others will want to follow.     

Read the complete article on China's new search engine tool for the blind and visually impaired
                        

7

Apple vs. Google: The Real Winners Are Students with Dyslexia            

This “Forbes” article sheds light on how people with dyslexia are benefiting from the ongoing rivalry between Apple and Google. In the past decade, both companies have developed assistive technology devices that have benefited those with dyslexia. This article outlines some of the key technologies created by both sides and explains how they have been incorporated into schools.

Read the complete article on how the competition between Apple and Google is helping students with dyslexia.   

8

How to Map Your Mac's CapsLock Key to an NVDA or JAWS Key in a Windows Virtual Machine

In this “Marco’s Accessibility Blog” post, Marco lays out how to map the CapsLock key on a MacBook to use as an NVDA or JAWS modifier key within a virtual machine running Windows. The need for this mapping stems from the fact that the MacBook keyboard has no “insert” key, which is the main modifier key used by screen readers on Windows operating systems. Marco uses advice he found in a German FAQ article on TuKSuB to lay out a step-by-step process for updating setting up this mapping structure.

Read the complete blog post on how to map your Mac's CapsLock Key to an NVDA or JAWS Key
                         

9

The Accessibility Cheat Sheet              

In this “Bits of Code” post, web developer Ire Aderinokun condenses key Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) into practical examples for other developers to use to make their websites more accessible. Aderinokun gives an overview of the guidelines for accessible web content, which include four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. She then gives more detail on each principle and gives examples of how developers can implement the guidelines.  

Read the complete blog post compiling guidelines for accessible web development

10

Q&A: Developer Tools and Mobile App Accessibility  

Frances West, chief accessibility officer for IBM, talked with Media Access Australia about the state of mobile app accessibility during the 2015 M-Enabling conference in Washington, D.C. This article features highlights from that interview. West notes how mobile device proliferation, coupled with the fact that there are more than a billion people in the global workforce, is driving companies to change their mobile development models. She points out that customers don’t appreciate an app that has a bad user experience, and accessibility no longer means compliance, it means user access.

Read the complete Q&A with IBM CAO Frances West

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