Accessibility in the News: December 2003Thursday, January 01, 2004
A quiet month for accessibility. Happy new year.
- PublicTechnology: DFT publishes data to make local accessibility planning go smoothly
DFT lists the centrally available data sets, noting where local authorities and their partners may need to collect extra information for these sets and additional data sets. As much data as possible will be supplied centrally. This will generally be done via the publicly accessible Neighbourhood Statistics web site (www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk; NeSS), but personal or disclosive data will require other means.
- Revolution: Designers to get accreditation for accessible websites
The Accessibility Accreditation Scheme is being launched by the British Web Design & Marketing Association, to help companies comply with legislation that requires companies to create sites that can be used by people with disabilities. It will show that suppliers can design to comply with the European Web Accessibility Initiative.
- 24 hour museum: show.me.uk launches Flash MX accessible kids web game
Macromedia Flash MX 2004, the latest version of the software, has enhanced its support for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) which allows users of assistive technologies such as screenreaders to access the contents of a Macromedia Flash movie. This means that, for the first time, text elements, buttons, input text fields, movie clips, and even entire movies may be made accessible to screenreader users.
- Managing Information: Britain's most accessible websites announced at Visionary Design Awards
Helen Brazier commented, "Our challenge to web publishers and designers is to create sites which are not only visually attractive and informative, but comply with the Disability Discrimination Act by being accessible to visually impaired people. It is vital that the industry understands the importance of accessible design and we congratulate all those who have received Visionary Design Awards this evening."
- Sydney Morning Herald: Impediment no barrier
After seven years of unproductive consultations with the states, the [Australian] Federal Government is set to act unilaterally next year, with regulations enforcing training accessibility for disabled people
- ArabNews: Accessible technologies promise new opportunities
According to Disability Persons International, there are more than 600 million people with disabilities worldwide. United Nations statistics indicate that 82 percent of people with disabilities are excluded from their communities by barriers of policy, environment and attitude.
- ITBusiness.ca: Access denied
Speakers at the two-day conference on Web site usability and accessibility for governments reminded the audience that the disabled comprise 16 per cent of of the [Canadian] population, as well as a section of the Charter that deems it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of disability.
Canada has been making significant strides to use technology to serve the needs of the visually impaired. Last month the Canadian National Institute for the Blind unveiled what it called the world's largest online digital library for the blind, as well as a "discovery portal" for visually impaired children.
- Telegraph: Bootcamp 304: Windows accessibility, part one
- Telegraph: Bootcamp 305: Windows accessibility, part two
[In Windows XP] Narrator is an aid for the blind or partially sighted. It's a speech synthesiser that converts the wording in menus, dialogue boxes, icons and text in any standard Windows application into speech.
- GCN: Section 508 tool sets error-fixing rules
The Simple Tool for Error Prioritization, or STEP508, prioritizes the results that come out of other applications that test Web sites for violation of Section 508 of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act Amendments.
- allAfrica.com: Open source enables the disabled
Unlike proprietary software - for instance, the software put out by IT giants like Microsoft - open source software has a source code, which the user can manipulate and customise to suit his or her needs, instead of searching for highly specialised digital tools, which are generally more expensive.
Real world accessibility
- Atlanticville: Talking ATMs help Fleet reach out Bank initiatives to empower disabled to use its services
"There are approximately 54 million Americans with disabilities with an estimated income of more than $188 billion," explained Fleet spokesman Steven Lubetkin. "Web sites that shut out people with disabilities are tuning out a huge part of the consumer market, the people who could benefit from online services the most."
- Online Journalism Review: Sites slowly seeing the need to make the web accessible to the blind
Screen readers get bogged down wading through the tangle of navigation links and other clutter around the edges of a Web page, which stand between the top of the page, as the screen reader sees it, and the news. So Kearney set up the Star-Tribune's Web site so that the navigation links jump directly to streamlined pages with headlines and the first paragraph of stories stacked in a simple, linear layout.