Accessibility Testing Tools

Introducing Dictation Bridge a free open source dictation solution for NVDA and Jaws. It serves as a gateway between you, the NVDA and/or Jaws screen readers and either Dragon Naturally Speaking or Windows Speech Recognition.

Dictation Bridge 1.0 is fully featured. Some of the highlights are:

  • Works with both NVDA and Jaws
  • Jaws users can control both Windows Speech Recognition and Dragon.
  • Does not change screen reader set up unrelated to dictation
  • Echoes back dictated text
  • An extensive collection of verbal commands that can control screen readers and perform a variety of other tasks with Dragon products.
  • No cost solution
  • As free open source software it can be added to, modified or repurposed by the community.
  • High-quality documentation
  • Can hand off its functionality between screen readers.

See the DictationBridge documentation for a full list of features.

The ZoomText development has delivered a robust set of version 11.5 updates for ZoomText 11 Magnifier, Magnifier/Reader and Fusion. These free updates deliver important enhancements to the ZoomText software, improving performance, stability and functionality in ZoomText’s features and tools. Also included are much faster updating of ZoomText (through the ZoomText Update Wizard), new localizations for Hebrew and Japanese, and a new “Hotkey Layouts” menu for simultaneously switching ZoomText and JAWS between their respective desktop and laptop hotkey layouts (when running ZoomText Fusion only). You can learn about all of the changes in the 11.5 update in the ZoomText 11 release notes: https://www.zoomtext.com/help/releasenotes.

To get the ZoomText 11.5 updates (for Magnifier and Magnifier/Reader)

  • If a previous version of ZoomText 11 Magnifier or Magnifier Reader is already installed on your system, go to the ZoomText 11 toolbar and choose ZoomText > Manage License > Check for Updates. This will launch the update wizard and walk you through the fast update process.

    If you need to install ZoomText 11.5 Magnifier or Magnifier/Reader on a new system (where ZoomText is not yet installed), you can download the full installer from the ZoomText Downloads webpage: http://zoomtext.com/downloads. On this webpage, go to the section titled “ZoomText 11 Magnifier and Magnifier/Reader” and choose the installer that matches your license type.

To get the Fusion 11.5 updates

  • Go to the ZoomText Downloads webpage: http://zoomtext.com/downloads. On this page, go to the section titled Fusion 11 and choose the installer that matches the language you require.

We hope you are enjoying ZoomText 11 and would love to hear your thoughts on how we can make it better. Send your feedback to support@aisquared.com.

On Monday, IBM announced its first set of cloud-based enterprise accessibility tools - Digital Content Checker and Automated Accessibility Tester - that provide an easy and affordable way to help enterprises produce accessible content and applications, and integrate accessibility directly into the programming code.

  • Digital Content Checker — Allows anyone, especially those in a marketing organization, to easily upload and verify the accessibility of HTML content or EPUB documents so all clients, employees and constituents encounter no issues when accessing the information in web and mobile applications. The service quickly examines the content, provides a detailed report of all accessibility violations, and then recommends how to fix the issues so the content conforms to standards and regulations before being published. It can also be customized for an organization’s internal content development workflow so accessibility is part of the review and approval process.
  • Automated Accessibility Tester — Incorporates automated accessibility reporting and auditing capabilities directly within the Selenium testing framework. This service improves the quality of the testing environment by adding accessibility checkpoints that run during agile development so any violations can be corrected in DevOps before deployment.

It is IBM's goal to increase the availability of accessibility so organizations can speed development efforts, improve the user experience for web and mobile applications, and help conform to industry standards and government regulations.

A joint project of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences and its Faculty of Electronics and Computer Sciences aims to use robots to improve the diagnosis and assessment of Children with Autism. Up until now the process has been highly complex and subjective.

“For children with autism, the robot is a stimulus that is very simple and always the same,” explains researcher Jasmina Stosic. “Its eyes are always in the same place. Its mouth is always in the same place. People are rather complicated for such children because when we talk we make various gestures. And one day we’ll wear a red t-shirt and the next day, a blue one. The robot is one constant stimulus, and the children don’t need to think about so much different information and instead can concentrate on the essence.”

Read more about Robots Diagnosing Autism.

Did you know that blind people can surf the Internet and deaf people can enjoy videos? Have you wondered how people with disabilities use mobile devices? Assistive technology (AT) empowers people with disabilities, yet it presents challenges for producers of online content.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who is responsible for web standards such as the WCAG 2.0 standard, has announced the launch of their premium W3C Validator Suite. The goal of the W3C Validator Suite is to help people improve the quality of Web pages. It is now easier and faster to perform checks on HTML, CSS and internationalization (I18n) for an entire public site.

The Validator Suite integrates Web standards conformance tools that offer a quick and easy way to keep websites compliant with Web standards.  The suite scans the public pages of a site and evaluates conformance with W3C open standards. It is delivered as an online service through the SaaS model and provides:

  • Website Crawling
  • HTML5 & CSS Validation
  • Internationalization checking
  • Real-time integrated reports

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding $1.9 million in grants to help individuals with disabilities purchase needed assistive technology. The grants will go to organizations in California, Missouri and Washington.

The funds will help people with disabilities acquire private financing to purchase needed assistive technologies and services under the Assistive Technology Alternative Financing Program.

Read more about the Grants Awarded to Persons with Disabilities.

On August 23 the Knoxville Civic Coliseum will host the second annual Accessibility Symposium. The symposium will be an interactive state-of-the-art show focusing on mobility, aging in place, and smart design. It will run from 9 am to 4 pm and be open to the public with a target audience of people with disabilities, seniors, and people who know and work with these individuals as well as people who design, renovate or inspect buildings. More details on the Accessibility Symposium at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

A group of students with vision disabilities, participating in a summer enrichment program at the Carroll Center for the Blind, have been testing the Visus Visual Assist System by the Boston based Visus Technology. The Visus Visual Assist System is a wireless mobile system that takes advantage of the 4G LTE network and allows people who are blind and low vision to recognize faces, determine colors, and navigate their travel. It is expected to be ready for public use soon. Read more about students at Carroll Center for the Blind testing revolutionary technology.

WAI's Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) invites your comments on an updated draft of Easy Checks - A First Review of Web Accessibility.

Easy Checks helps you answer the question, "Does this web page address accessibility?". It provides simple steps for anyone who can use the web; no accessibility knowledge or skill is required. The checks cover just a few accessibility issues and are designed to be quick and easy, rather than definitive.

The updated draft posted today includes new sections on:

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