People with Disabilities

The American Federaction of the Blind recently posted a blog post on the accessible applications for Android devices.  With over 600,000 apps available to download from Google Play, there are a lot of possibilities but not all of them are accessible.  The applications listed have been tested on Android 4.2, which is the most accessible version of Android.

Included in the list of accessible applications for Android are:

  • Dropbox
  • Plume for Twitter
  • Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder
  • Google Goggles (object recognition software)
  • TripIt
  • Ideal Group Reader (ePub reader)

See the full list in the article, A Collection of Accessible Apps for Your Android Device.

Micah Lahren of Technibble.com discusses assistive technology (AT) for business clients who have disabilities. Some of the AT he mentions includes:

  • Espeak – the default text-to-speech synthesizer for Ubuntu
  • Assistive Mouse Adapter  - a device that filters out unwanted movements, such as tremors, when using a mouse
  • Trackball – a device that offers a better grip for persons with dexterity impairments

To read more about AT that helps clients with various types of disabilities, read Assistive Technology Solutions for Your Clients.

When emergency responders attend a person with a disability, they may not know how to interact with the individual. For example, they may assume someone who cannot speak to have a hearing or intellectual disability. Therefore, EMS workers may talk loudly to the person or cannot understand her.

First responders in Ellington, Connecticut know better. They have taken a class on working with persons with disabilities. Among the five presenters, two use wheelchairs and one wears hearing aids. The class focused on awareness and interaction etiquette, communication methods, and emergency response plans. For further information, read Ellington CERT Team Hosts Class for Working With Persons With Disabilities.

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, and autism. Established by President Reagan in 1987, the commemoration depicts the achievements that persons with developmental disabilities have made and challenges that that they still face.

The following articles discuss Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in depth:

According to Cornell University, in 2011 there was an estimated 14,144,300 (4.9%) people in the United States with a cognitive disability.  Broadly speaking, intellectual disabilities pertain to difficulties with memory; problem-solving:  attention, reading, linguistic, and verbal comprehension; math comprehension; and visual comprehension. Intellectual disabilities range from mild, moderate or severe and many people have one or more intellectual disability.

ZoomText is a software program combines magnification and enhancements to colors, pointers and cursors to help users who are visually impaired see everything on the computer screen. The Mac version includes the following features:

  • Flexible magnification
  • Font smoothing
  • Image sharpening
  • Tracking
  • Zoom windows
  • Enhanced screen colors
  • Customizable system pointers and cursors
  • Focus enhancements

ZoomText Mac is available for a special promotional price of $299.  If you already own a ZoomText single-user license on the PC - for you, ZoomText Mac is just $149. BUT, until March 15th, it's just $99!

Ensure that your product works with assistive technology

Assistive technology (AT) is a term that describes the tools that people with disabilities use to access websites and applications. To ensure compatibility between the assistive technology and your product, Interactive Accessibility will confirm that assistive technology can work with the product and that the product is usable for people with disabilities. 

Interactive Accessibility is proud to congratulate the Top 50 Corporations for Diversity winners.  It is exciting to see businesses set the bar high and to assure that they have a diverse workforce.  

The global economy represents people from all walks of life including different ages, races, ethnic background, genders, sexual preferences, and abilities.  This diverse group has never been a more formidable voting and buying power.  Companies that ensure that their services, products and solutions are designed to include and appeal to this diverse customer base will continue to be winners.  The leaders know the importance of assuring their workforces reflect the makeup of their customer base.

"Our firm is proud to have a diverse workforce.  We are excited to follow in the steps of giants like Wal-Mart, AT&T, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot and Cisco Systems.  Businesses of all sizes can learn a lot from these leaders.  Please join us in recognizing these leaders in diversity and inclusion."
— Kathy Wahlbin, Interactive Accessibility, CEO and Founder

America's Top Organizations for Multcultural Business Opportunities

View the complete list of winners.

The new beta  version of GW Micro's product, Window-Eyes, was released on Monday October 22.  Window-Eyes is one of the leading screen readers that users with visual impairments use to produce an auditory version of the information on the computer screen.

Learn more about Window-Eyes.

New Window-Eyes 8.0 features:

  • Application now runs in Windows Safe Mode, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Support for JAVA applications such as OpenOffice
  • Remote assistance features
  • Improved support for Outlook 2007 and 2010
  • Performance enhancements
  • New keyboard layout

Internet Enhancements include:

  • Support for Internet Explorer 10 - Window-Eyes 8.0 Beta 1 includes full support for Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 as well as both the desktop and modern apps in Windows 8

  • WAI-ARIA for rich internet applications is now supported outside of Browse Mode in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox

  • Updated Tab Handling - To improve general website navigation, presses of the Tab and Shift-Tab keys are now passed directly to the underlying browser. Therefore, any dynamic web applications which use ARIA controls or that specify a custom Tab order will now work seamlessly when you are in or out of Browse Mode.

  • Automatic Form Interaction - there is now an option to automatically turn Browse Mode off whenever a form element is reached via the Tab or Shift-Tab keys.  Note that you can always re-enable Browse Mode by pressing Control-Shift-A or, new in Window-Eyes 8.0 Beta 1, with the Escape key. It is important to remember that the automatic toggling of Browse Mode only applies when you are Tabbing through websites. Navigating by any other means (such as with the Arrows or dedicated Browse Mode element keys) will leave you in browse Mode as they always have.

  • The expand and collapse state of drop down boxes are now announced

  • HTML message boxes are now being read in Firefox 4 and newer

See a full list of new features.

Resources:

In agile development, user stories capture what a user does or needs to do with the website or application. These “stories” are the basis for defining the functions that the system must provide and concisely captures the who, what and why or of the requirement.

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