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IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  1. The High Cost of Digital Discrimination: Why Companies Should Care About Web Accessibility
  2. Should Accessibility Overlay Tools Be Used As a Strategic Part of Your Accessibility Efforts
  3. Guidelines to Help Make User Agents More Accessible Released
  4. Facebook Plans to Improve Accessibility for Visually Impaired Users
  5. Apple Stores to Begin Selling Accessibility Accessories in Early 2016
  6. The Revolution in Technology That Is Helping Blind People See
  7. Dubai Students Develop Sign Language App to Benefit Deaf Community
  8. Why You Should Care About Accessibility in Email Marketing
  9. The Value of Accessibility





     

1

The High Cost of Digital Discrimination: Why Companies Should Care About Web Accessibility

In these recent years, the number of new lawsuits involving Internet accessibility and non-compliance is rising. Surveys show that 4.7 million adults in America (2%) have a disability that hinders their ability to use the Internet. For a growing number of companies, the inaccessibility and difficulties that have been faced by these individuals have come at a price. Companies such as Disney, Netflix, Target and Carnival Cruise Corp have been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for neglecting to design their webpages to accommodate those customers who may need assistance in browsing their website. This past year, The DOJ planned to issue rules and regulations to explain the standards that are necessary for websites to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These efforts have since been delayed, with expectations to be released in 2018.

Many features that must be included to create a disability-friendly website are features that improve the user experience for others. These are tools such as an accurate auto-translation, better speech recognition, enhanced search engine optimization, text transcripts, video captioning and the ability to zoom in on your browser. When designers create with accessibility in mind, all of us benefit when interacting with the digital experience.

Read the complete article on the high cost of discrimination.
 

2

Should Accessibility Overlay Tools Be Used As a Strategic Part of Your Accessibility Efforts

In this article, Debra Ruh explains that companies need to create a roadmap and strategic plan for ICT accessibility. She also asks readers if the new accessibility overlay tools help or create problems by giving organizations a false sense of security. The article features Sitecues, SSB's Alchemy and User1st.

Read the complete article on accessibility overlay tools

3

Guidelines to Help Make User Agents More Accessible Released

The W3C released new guidelines to assist developers in making the Internet more accessible. The W3C has released Working Group Notes for the second version of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG). These efforts aim to allow better access for those with disabilities on the Internet at large. User agents are covering a broad range of tools used to access the Internet. 
 
UAAG 2.0 has 26 guidelines across five principles. These guidelines are linked to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). They are linked to the Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0, both of which sit under the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative. The guidelines state that UAAG 2.0 benefits developers of assistive technologies. This is done through explaining what types of information and control an assistive technology is to expect from a user agent that follows UAAG 2.0.

Read the complete article on guidelines to help make user agents more accessible
  

4

Facebook Plans to Improve Accessibility for Visually Impaired Users

In Facebook’s 11-plus years it has gone from cyber novelty to a pillar of the Internet. It is a hub around which a huge number of people orient their everyday online activity. Seeing-impaired users can find the visual-based infrastructure difficult to navigate. Facebook has long worked on tools to make the site more accessible, specifically the photos functionality, hoping to bring more visually impaired users and give those already on Facebook a better user experience.
 
Reports indicate that the company is preparing a new feature to up their users’ experience in a big way. They are looking into using artificial intelligence software, which would allow users with visual impairments the ability to ask the site about what is on screen. The site could describe a photo based on who is tagged in it, but will also allow for narration of the action in the photo to be read. Matt King is a Facebook engineer and demonstrated the new features recently. King scrolled through his news feed showing off the new descriptive powers. 

Read the complete article on Facebook’s plans to improve accessibility for visually impaired users.

5

Apple Stores to Begin Selling Accessibility Accessories in Early 2016

Apple is rumored to begin selling accessibility-related accessories and peripherals. The company would carry these items at their Apple stores in early 2016. Between January and March this year new iOS and OS X supported devices will go on sale. The type of peripherals users can expect was not specified. Offerings like Grayscale, AssistiveTouch, VoiceOver and accessibility shortcuts are some of Apple’s past offerings for accessibility. The company earned the Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for its efforts last May. 

Read the complete article on Apple’s new accessibility features to hit stores in 2016.

6

The Revolution in Technology That Is Helping Blind People See

Lex Arriola is a typical 15-year-old. She is on her smartphone frequently. She uses FaceTime, emojis and loves Taylor Swift. Unlike typical 15-year-olds, Arriola was born blind, so using her smartphone is slightly different from the way others may be used to. Siri is used to translate text into speech. Emojis are read aloud, like “puffing with angry face” and “face screaming in fear.” Braille Sense is a small, book-sized device with a tactile keyboard she uses to read and write. Her always-dark iPhone screen is a flurry of taps, swipes and voice commands to Siri. She commands the iPhone without ever looking at it.
           
Read the complete article on how technology is helping blind people see
 

7

Dubai Students Develop Sign Language App to Benefit Deaf Community

“Efhamni” is Arabic for “Understand me.” Efhamni is also a new app developed by a team of university students. These students have set out to bridge the gap between deaf and non-deaf UAE communities. It works through a mobile app that teaches Emirati Sign Language fundamentals. The students who are responsible for developing this app are from the Canadian University – Dubai (CUD).
 
The CUD came up with the idea after research revealed families of deaf children tend to adopt more informal methods of communication. This could lead to a limiting of the child’s potential to engage with wider society. The Ripples of Happiness Programme is a region-wide community initiative, which the app Efhamni is part of. Formally developed five years ago, Emirati Sign Language is not fully utilized among the 2,000 deaf people and their families in the UAE. The UAE Deaf Association is being consulted in the development of the app.    
 
Read the complete article about a sign language app developed by Dubai students.
 

8

Why You Should Care About Accessibility in Email Marketing

A few months ago at a UX conference in London, Alastair Campbell from Nomensa spoke. Campbell explained how many problems should be considered if you are attempting to make a fully accessible website. He was attempting to convince everyone that it should not matter what domain you are in. Software is just that, software; one need only to find the right perspective to get it right. Catering to users is what tells us what needs to be fixed.
 
Siri is one example. Someone may use Siri to scan and read email messages out loud while driving to work. Siri is the one who scans and tries to make sense of these emails. This is the accessibility barrier we need to cross. People with disabilities use any and all technology to gain access to the digital world and be part of society. Basically, all special software is created with user experience in mind, so why not consider the needs of users with disabilities?

Read the complete article on why you should care about accessibility in email marketing.
 

9

The Value of Accessibility

Telling a web designer that there are users who visit your site who do not care about how it looks may get a strange response. This is a true scenario, though, as blind users cannot even see the page. We must design with all aspects of user experience in mind. This includes blindness, deafness, color-blindness, photosensitivity and more. It is not too tough to make sites useable for all. 
 
Valuing accessibility is smart business. Those who have a disability and those who care about people with disabilities are a large part of any customer base. Catering to full accessibility can only increase your user number, as many more can use said website. Technical aspects of web design are covered in this article. Testing is key in making sure that accessibility efforts are coming to fruition. 
 
Read the complete article on the value of accessibility
 

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