Industry News

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

Mayo Moran, Dean and James Marshall Tory, Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, has been appointed by Ontario to head a review of the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The AODA became law in 2005. Since then Ontario has created Accessibility Standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the design of public spaces. The act was reviewed for the first time by Charles Beer, former provincial Minister of Community and Social Services. Completed in 2010, the review looked at processes around the developing accessibility standards, municipal accessibility advisory committees and the government’s administration of the AODA.

The goal of the AODA is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Moreover, it will build a fair society so that everyone can contribute their skills to Ontario’s economy.

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 September 12, as part of its Accessibility and Innovation Initiative speaker series the FCC will present live demonstrations of new and compelling technologies designed to enhance accessibility. Among the demonstrations will be:

  • How a smartphone can scan printed material into electronic text
  • How a web-browsing assistant can extract news articles for later reading
  • How cloud computing can enhance accessibility for all

Dr. Yevgen Borodin who is a renowned professor and entrepreneur known for his research in computation methods and non-visual interfaces for improving web accessibility, will discuss “Improving Accessibility for the General Public.” Read additional detail on Dr. Borodin’s presentation and the live demonstration of accessibility enhancing technologies.

Freedom Scientific has made the JAWS 15 Beta public. This beta version of the popular screen reader, is now available for download at the Freedom Scientific website. Eric Damery, Vice President of Software Production Management, introduces and demonstrates the new and exciting features that will be available in the JAWS 15 release in Episode 81 of the FSCast hosted by Jonathan Mosen.  Among the new features in JAWS 15 is object navigation using the Touch Cursor. Activating the Touch Cursor enables the user to use the ARROW keys on the keyboard, or the controls on a braille display, to navigate through the actual object in the application in a manner that is similar to using gestures on the touchscreen of a tablet. New advancement also includes:

  • Touch Cursor Navigation Quick Keys
  • Advanced Object Navigation
  • Windows 8 Touch Screen Support
  • JAWS Specific Touch Screen Gestures
  • Vocalizer Expressive Synthesizer
  • NEW FSReader 3 with HTML Support

For a full list of new features visit the JAWS 15 Download page on Freedom Scientifics website.

UC Davis, University of California, announces its commitment to an information technology environment that is accessible to all, and in particular to people with disabilities, is now an official UC policy.  The policy can be found in the UC Office of the President website, in the “Presidential Policies” section (search for “Information Technology Accessibility”).

The Policy was unveiled for public review by UC, in draft form, in May. The four-page policy and three-page addendum policy took affect August 27 with minimal changes. The policy defines accessible as follows: “Refers to the concept that people with disabilities are able to access and use a product or system, including with the help of assistive technologies. For example, an accessible website may be designed so that the text can be enlarged by the user, rather than having a fixed font size, or may be designed so that it can be interpreted and “read out loud” by screen reader software used by blind or low vision people.”

The latest release of Window-Eyes, Window-Eyes 8.3, is a maintenance update that includes support for Windows 8.1. GW Micro has also announced that the update will provide better support for Windows 8 modern apps, provide numerous speed improvements, and enhances the windows-Eyes 8 feature set. Further, all current Window-Eyes 8 customers are urged to install the 8.3 update to address some performance issues uncovered after the release of Window-Eyes 8.2.

Owners of Window-Eyes 8.0 or above may download the upgrade to Window-Eyes 8.3 for free from the GW Micro website. Select the Check for Updates option from the Help Menu in the Window-Eyes control panel. You can also open a browser and go directly the Window-Eyes 8.3 upgrade, enter your serial number and select the Check for Upgrades button.

The 16th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference on accessible media, web and technology in Westminster, CO ends today September 6th at midnight, Mountain Time. Prices will go up about 10%-12% depending on the package, starting tomorrow.

The AHG Conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of Accessible Media, Universal Design, and Assistive Technology in the university, business and public setting. Additional topics include ADA and 508 compliance. The creation of accessible media and information resources will include Web pages and library resources are particular focuses of this event. You may register for the AHG here.

W3C WAI updated two supporting documents for Web Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0: Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0. WCAG 2.0 itself is a stable document and, therefore, does not change.

The WCAG guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable to current and future web technologies, including dynamic applications, mobile, digital television, etc. For an introduction to the WCAG documents, see the WCAG Overview. The W3C Working Group Notes that were just released provide specific guidance. They include code examples, resources, and tests, which are periodically updated to cover current practices for meeting the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has published the completed Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communication Technologies (WCAG2ICT) as an informative W3C Working Group Note. The new guide addresses the interpretation and application of the WCAG 2.0 standards to non-web documents and software. WCAG2ICT was made possible through the collaborative effort to support harmonized accessibility solutions across a wide range of technologies.

WCAG2ICT is directed towards ICT managers, ICT developers, policy makers, and other wanting to understand how WCAG 2.0 can be applied to non-web document and software. WCAG2ICT specifically provides:

  • Overall context for applying WCAG 2.0 to non-web documents and software.
  • Guidance on applying the WCAG principles, guidelines, and Levels A and AA success criteria to non-web documents and software.
  • Key Terms related to applying WCAG 2.0 to non-web documents and software.
  • Comments on the definitions in the WCAG 2.0 Glossary.
  • Comments on conformance.
  • Background information on some topics.

WCAG2ICT also includes material from the WCAG 2.0 standard to provide context, along with specific guidance related to non-web ICT, formatted as follows:

  • WCAG 2.0 principles, guidelines, and success criteria — the exact text from the WCAG 2.0 standard. These are visually styled in pale yellow boxes and usually prefaced with "Principle...", "From Guideline...", or "From Success Criterion…"
  • Excerpted text from the "Intent" sections of Understanding WCAG 2.0, an informative supporting document. These are visually styled in pale yellow boxes and prefaced with "Intent from Understanding Success Criterion..."
  • Guidance on applying each success criteria to non-web documents and software. These are visually styled in pale blue boxes with a heading on a dark blue background that starts with "Additional Guidance..."

More details on the WCAG2ICT can be found in the WCAG2ICT overview on the W3C website.


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