USA: Ensuring the Accessibility of College Websites
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights entered into an agreement [OCR Compliance Review No. 11-11-6002] with the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS) that requires the websites of the SCTCS and its 16-member colleges be accessible to all individuals, specifically those with visual disabilities. This agreement is in response to an evaluation of the accessibility of SCTCS websites and two of its college’s websites that found the sites were not fully accessible to individuals with visual or print-related disabilities and therefore were not in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the agreement, the SCTCS will develop and share a resource guide on web accessibility requirements, direct accessibility changes to the SCTCS and member college websites, and perform annual reviews of websites to monitor continued compliance with accessibility requirements.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/ensuring-accessibility-college-websites, April 02, 2013
Three Things to make your App stand out when Building for Accessibility
While accessibility modes and rough guidelines exist for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry, the responsibility lies with the developer to evaluate and determine if their work has resulted in a truly useful product. Quite a few parties have put together their own best practices on designing for accessibility. The Web Accessibility Movement started the conversation around mobile accessibility, and Accessible Tech also offers some considerations, but both have yet to define ground rules for mobile applications. Developer Matt Gemmell has also proposed some best practices for iOS and encourages fellow developers to reference Apple’s Accessibility Programming Guide.
From http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/03/three-things-to-make-your-app-stand-out-when-building-for-accessibility, April 02, 2013
Sprint Receives U.S. Disability Matters Awards
On April 16, 2013, Sprint will be honored as the Marketplace winner at the Seventh Annual U.S. Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference for innovative accessibility solutions. Sprint will receive the award for the Sprint Relay ID pack and four accessibility-themed Sprint ID packs. The packs were funded and developed through Apps4Android and the Apps Factory project of the Wireless RERC.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/sprint-receives-us-disability-matters-awards, April 02, 2013
Report: Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
From what we have seen in companies that hire people with disabilities—and from our own experiences as friends or family members of someone with a disability—we know that they can contribute greatly to business and to society. Yet despite an aging population and a looming labour skills shortage, this significant talent pool is being overlooked.
From http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/consultations/reports/disabilities/rdsp.shtml, April 02, 2013
USA: Technology as a Tool of Inclusion
Technology is a powerful thing. When applied to how we work and play, it has the ability to optimize, accelerate and transform. Innovations that come to the market universally designed allow all of us to benefit immediately. But when those same tools − such as software, computers, online applications and mobile devices − are not accessible, they exclude key segments of the population, negatively impacting some people’s employability and opportunities for career advancement.
From http://social.dol.gov/blog/technology-as-a-tool-of-inclusion/, April 02, 2013
How Telecommute Benefits Employees with Disabilities
Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting for all Yahoo employees drew a firestorm of criticism. Some framed it as a setback for working women and mothers in particular.
From http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/technology/Articles/Pages/Telecommuting-Cuts-Across-Genders.aspx, April 02, 2013
Singapore’s Accessibility Code to be Reviewed for more Accessible Buildings
The Accessibility Code Review Committee convened by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has drafted a revised version of the Code on Accessibility for the Built Environment (“the Code”). The draft Code, which is in its fourth review, will be opened for public consultation from 1 April 2013 to 30 April 2013, in BCA’s website (www.bca.gov.sg). BCA will also consult other bodies such as other government agencies, voluntary welfare organizations, industry players and groups with interests in accessibility and Universal Design.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/04/01/bcas-accessibility-code-to-be-reviewed-for-more-accessible-and-friendlier-buildings-in-singapore/, April 01, 2013
TeslaTouch: Electrovibration for Touch Surfaces
TeslaTouch is a new technology for enhancing touch interfaces with tactile sensations. It is based on the electrovibration principle, which can programmatically vary the friction between sliding fingers and a touch panel. The TeslaTouch technology requires no moving parts and therefore is inexpensive, lightweight and requires little power. Our technology provides a wide range of tactile sensations to fingers sliding across touch-screens of any shape or size, from small mobile displays to curved or wall-sized screens. TeslaTouch can be easily combined with a wide range of touch sensing technologies, including capacitive, optical and resistive touch screens. When combined with an interactive display and touch input, our tactile technology enables the design of interfaces that allow the user to feel virtual elements through touch. It can be used to enhance a wide range of applications with rich tactile feedback, such as feeling the properties of interface elements in graphical user interfaces, maps and characters in video games, textures and colors in graphical painting applications, and many more.
From http://www.olivierbau.com/teslatouch.php, April 01, 2013
Fujitsu Enters Europe’s Smartphone Market with a Senior-Focused Android Device with France Telecom
The Stylistic S-01, a senior-focused, Android 4.0 device comes with big icons, enhanced audio and a desensitized touchscreen aimed at elderly users. The device will sell first in France, starting in June 2013 and in partnership with France Telecom/Orange. The first devices will be shown at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. While targeting elderly users first may seem like a strange tactic for a smartphone market debut, it actually makes sense for a number of reasons.
From http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/18/fujitsu-finally-enters-europes-smartphone-market-with-a-senior-focused-android-device-with-france-telecom-starting-in-june/, April 01, 2013
USA: Department of Labor Official Blogs About Technology as a Tool of Inclusion
Kathy Martinez, the assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, recently blogged about the link between accessible technology and employment. She writes: Technology is a powerful thing. When applied to how we work and play, it has the ability to optimize, accelerate and transform. Innovations that come to the market universally designed allow all of us to benefit immediately. But when those same tools − such as software, computers, online applications and mobile devices − are not accessible, they exclude key segments of the population, negatively impacting some people’s employability and opportunities for career advancement. She also noted: "As a long time user of assistive technology, I’ve watched this conundrum play out time and time again. I’ve experienced the frustration of technology that is not accessible; but, on the flip side, I’ve seen how accessible technology can empower all of us to excel and fully participate – at work and in life."
From http://www.coataccess.org/node/10133, March 27, 2013