Benefits of Accessibility

“Accessing Social Media” will be a public event hosted by the FCC on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 from 9 am to 4 pm. The event will be held at the FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC and facilitate a collaborative, cross-sector exchange of information regarding making social media tools and content accessible for people with disabilities. It will include information on authoring tools, client applications and best practices.

“Accessing Social Media” will be held in the FCC’s Commission Meeting Room and will include panels of industry, consumer and government representatives. The meeting can also be attended via an open captioned webcast. Contact Jamal Mazrui for more information: 202-418-0069

A team at the University of Colorado Boulder printed the first 3D version of the children’s classic Goodnight Moon. Now children with vision disabilities can touch objects in the story as it is read allowed to them. Sever other books have been slated to be printed using the same technique by CU-Boulder computer science Assistant Professor Tom Yeah. Among the books on deck are “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Read more about 3D Picture Books

Amazon will start adding closed captions to instant video and Amazon Instant Video streaming service this year. Criticism has been aimed at Amazon for not providing captions on all services or clearly identifying which DVDs feature captions on their Lovefilm by Post.

15,000 signatures on a Change.org petition call out Amazon to make information regarding subtitles and captions clearer. Comedian Mark Thomas is credited with helping the petition hit the 15,000 mark after he posted two large posters reading, “lovefilm HateDef People”

Sometime this year Amazon will roll out closed captions on its Prime Instant Video service but an exact date has not been announced.

A spokesperson for Amazon stated, “Amazon is committed to ensuring that all our customers can enjoy the full benefits of our products and services. We expect to begin rolling out closed captioned titles on Prime Instant Video movie and TV streaming service this year, and will continue to expand the range of closed captioned movies and TV shows over time.  

“In addition, our DVD product detail pages provide information about the availability of closed captioned titles and subtitles where provided by studios.” 

See our blog post on the Importance of Captioning videos that were posted on YouTube

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said Wednesday that all new automated teller machines (ATMs) installed by commercial banks from July of 2014 forward will need to provide audible instructions and Braille keypads to customers.

“It is, therefore, reiterated that banks should make all new ATMs installed from July 1, 2014, as talking ATMs with Braille keypads,” RBI announced, “Banks should lay down a road map for converting all existing ATMs as talking ATMs with Braille keypads and the same may be reviewed from time to time.”

Read more on Talking ATMS

The public is invited to participate in an online dialogue on the importance of technology accessibility and usability by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Council on Disability. There will be particular attention paid to the universal design in the development of workplace technology products.

The virtual town hall will run from May 15th, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, through Friday, May 30. “Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media – The Tech Industry Perspective” is the second of three online events concerning social media accessibility that is co-hosted by ODEP and NCD

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I’ve spent more than twenty years developing applications and websites.  That’s a lot of time spent sitting in a cubicle, head down, coding, and racing toward deadlines to make the business stakeholders happy.  It took me twenty years to realize I should have kept my head up and taken time to understand my customers better. 

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As accessibility consultants who live in the world of Section 508, WCAG 2.0, heading structures, alt text and text alternatives, we can often find ourselves removed from the human side of what we do. Day to day we’re buried in code, writing reports, working with developers and project managers, which can distance us from the original reason we got into the business. I love it when something comes around that reminds us of the very human purpose behind our daily work.

No one can deny the power and persistence of a father’s love. Paul McCarthy’s son, Leon, was born without fingers on his left hand due to a complication during gestation. The now twelve-year-old Leon sports a new prostatic hand made by his father with a 3-D printer. Mr. McCarthy is a special effects artist who, realizing the potential of 3-D printing, searched the Internet for two years for blueprints for a new hand for his son. He finally found Iva Owen who had successfully created mechanical fingers for a carpenter and a 5-year-old boy in South Africa. This enabled him to create the hand for his son. The 3-D printed hand cost a fraction of what it would for a traditional prosthetic.   

On May 15, 2014 awareness of digital accessibility, which includes web, software, mobile applications and devises, will reach new heights. Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort with the goal of dedicating one day to raising awareness for digital accessibility to a broad audience. The hope is that awareness increases amongst designers, developers and other people involved in information communication technology (ICT).

Businesses and individuals who are looking for guidelines to help achieve accessibility for website or digital products can refer to the Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 guidelines. It may also be helpful to seek guidance from an accessibility consultant.   

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