Future of WCAG – Maximizing its Strengths, Not its Weaknesses
2012 was a year of real ups and downs for the de-facto Standards for web accessibility, WCAG 2.0. It’s finally become ratified as an international Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012) and it’s been directly included in legislation such as the EU proposed directive on accessibility of public websites, Canada’s AODA, and work going into the refresh of US Section 508.
From http://www.hassellinclusion.com/2013/01/wcag-future/, January 10, 2013
Active Ageing Index 2012 for 27 EU Member States
The Active Ageing Index (AAI) is a newly developed tool that offers national and European policy-makers a way to measure and promote the untapped potential of the older population. In its design, the index follows the conceptual framework of the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The index measures the active ageing performance across four distinct domains that together capture the untapped potential of older people across EU Member State.
From http://www.euro.centre.org/data/1356002554_9393.pdf, January 10, 2013
UK: Six Steps to Improve Digital Inclusion in 2013
We know the main barriers that prevent people from using the internet are motivation, skills and access, so to be successful in supporting your tenants you need to address all three, without over emphasizing any of them. It's easy to see broadband for all as the golden ticket, but without the need to go online, or the skills to use the internet confidently, it's likely residents will continue to feel excluded. Supporting residents to improve their skills isn't always easy, but there are organizations who are experts at it, including UK online centers, Digital Unite and Age UK, so seek out advice and support when you need it.
From http://www.guardian.co.uk/housing-network/2013/jan/10/six-steps-improve-digital-inclusion?CMP=twt_gu, January 10, 2013
USA: Building a Better Smartphone for Blind Users
Smartphones have become incredibly powerful tools for blind people. A phone’s camera can identify money and read text, and GPS navigation tells blind users where they are and what’s nearby. Most mobile accessibility tools can be found through a handful of useful apps on standard smartphones, but there’s a team of developers in Israel working on a new Android phone called Ray. It's a standard Android phone with an interface designed for blind users, that debuts at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this week.
From http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/consumer-electronics-show/building-better-smartphone-blind-users, January 10, 2013
Singapore: Poor Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Deters Tourists
Accessible travel is no longer regarded as a small market. It is growing in importance but many cities and countries still lack the infrastructure and facilities to cater to this market. The first South-East Asian Conference on Accessible Travel (Seacat 2012) was held in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. More than 200 participants from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Taiwan, Nepal, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, attended the conference.
From http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2012/12/3/lifefocus/12384749&sec=lifefocus, January 08, 2013
USA: America has Plenty of Wireless Spectrum — We Need Newer Ways of Allocation
Last month the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to approve an important proposal to begin building the nation’s spectrum superhighways. The conventional wisdom is that we have a radio spectrum shortage. That’s not the case, according to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. What we need is a much more efficient way to allocate what we have, and that includes a plan for shared use.
From http://gigaom.com/2013/01/05/america-has-plenty-of-wireless-spectrum-we-just-need-a-new-way-to-allocate-it/, January 08, 2013
CIP Information Day Workshop on Health, Ageing Well and Inclusion
On 15 January 2013 the European Commission will hold an information day on Call 7 of the Competitiveness & Innovation Programme ICT Policy Support Programme (CIP ICT PSP). The morning session will provide participants with important information on the funding instruments as well as Themes 1, 3 and 4. To ensure that participants interested in ICT for Health, Ageing Well and Inclusion make the most of their time in Brussels, we are organizing an information and networking workshop dedicated to Objectives 3.1 – 3.3 of the CIP ICT PSP on the afternoon of January 15.
From http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/cip-information-day-specific-workshop-health-ageing-well-and-inclusion-objectives-31-33, January 08, 2013
Oman’s Telecom Sector to be Accessible for Persons with Disabilities
The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) has developed a set of guidelines stating the services required to be provided by telecom service providers to minimize access barriers for persons with disabilities. As per the new guidelines, telecom operators are expected to provide services like access to an emergency directory through call centre or SMS; a directory in Braille or an electronic version of it for people with vision disabilities, special packages and tariff schemes for those with disabilities, and billing services in Braille or a suitable electronic format, besides others. According to TRA officials, the provisions of the guidelines have been designed to be practical and achievable without placing undue financial burden on service providers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/08/omans-telecom-sector-to-be-accessible-for-persons-with-disabilities/, January 08, 2013
Accessibile Cinema Proves a Hit in Australia
More Australians with disabilities will soon be able to enjoy the Boxing Day tradition of going to the movies. The Federal Government says new technology to aid cinema-goers who are deaf and blind is proving successful. Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Senator Jan McLucas, says 146 special movie screens have come online under the Government’s joint initiative with the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group. Senator McLucas says there will be more than 240 across the country by the end of 2014.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/02/accessible-cinema-proves-a-hit-in-australiaith-disabilities-proves-a-hit-in-australia/, January 07, 2013
Singapore: New Smartphone App for People with Vision Disabilities
A team of Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers and students have designed a mobile application for people who are blind or low vision to help them navigate their way to their destination. The app, called the Travel Assistant for the Visually Impaired, or TAVI is thought to be the first of its kind in mapping specific locations into an app. TAVI was created early last year, by lecturers and students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm and Technology. There are other apps in the market that use GPS technology to help people with vision disabilities get around, but these have some limitations.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/07/new-smartphone-navigation-app-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, January 07, 2013