Accessibility in the News: February 2005Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Interesting information has surfaced about the state of the web accessibility bandwagon in the UK. An estimated £100 million in 2005 will be spent by website owners on web accessibility services, and the industry has an expected life-span of three years unless a high profile lawsuit occurs.
The Royal National Institute of the Deaf are hyping up the launch of their new accessible website, scheduled for the 17th March. There's a teaser website available. Hopefully this will be a more successful launch than the RNIB disaster.
- Manchester Online: Blind consumers 'let down' by web stores
"Contrary to popular belief there is more to the Disability Discrimination Act than making sure the disabled have access to buildings including shops and stores - the Act also applies to access to information on goods and services too, so it is important that businesses ensure that ALL their potential customers are catered for," said Claire Briscoe, spokeswoman for the NLB.
- Xinhua: Energize e-government now
According to the report, 14 of its 91 government websites scored a zero. Besides poor accessibility, the report found that lack of content, updates and interactivity were all major problems.
- finExtra: NS&I revamps internet banking site
Additional care has been taken to provide customers who prefer to enlarge text, change the colour or use audio browsers. The site aims to satisfy the W3C accessibility guidelines and, in the near future, NS&I will acquire formal qualification.
- Portalino: Simple ways to improve your website accessibility (1/3)
Using colour to convey information or request an action from the user should also be avoided, for example telling someone to 'click the red button to continue' is not much help to a person who cannot distinguish red colours. It seems obvious, but it's overlooked on many thousands of websites.
- creative match: RNID sets new standards for accessible websites
RNID has paid particular attention to ensuring that the new site is written in Plain English, which is essential to make the site accessible to deaf people whose first language is British Sign Language. The use of Plain English is often overlooked in developing accessible sites, where the focus has more often been on page structure to achieve accessibility for groups such as blind users. Yet any site written in Plain English will be accessible to a wider audience.
- MacWorld: CMS WebEdition 3.2 conforms to W3C WAI rules, more
The upgrade adds the ability to generate XHTML code that incorporates services for checking a Web site's accessibility under the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines. In addition, WebEdition 3.2's WYSIWYG editor now includes such features as extended language settings and table and cell summary options, which enhance screen readers used by Web surfers with vision impairment.
- Entrepreneur: All Access
The blind population is greatly influenced by word-of-mouth advertising. When blind consumers hear about an accessible site, "they will pass it on to a few hundred people on one listserv, and somebody else will pass it on to another," Leventhal says. "That could turn into thousands of people using a website." And given their significant transportation problems, blind consumers are loyal to accessible sites.
- DM Europe: UK internet accessibility market to grow by 25% this year - report
The consultancy also reports that accessibility spending driven by legal concerns, with the researchers predicting the accessibility market has a limited shelf life of three years or so and that the accessibility market will be threatened if there are no high-profile prosecutions when companies fail to comply with the DDA. The analysts reckon that ongoing growth will be determined by litigations or the lack of them.
Hardware and Software
- Ed-Tech Insider: Check your accessibility
- Legal IT: Review: Seventh heaven
A range of new tools have been introduced to identify reading order problems and alter them in order to improve the accessibility of the document. The tools are of particular benefit with assistive technologies such as screen readers, for example, Jaws. The function is handled by the touch-up tool and allows you to alter the reading order of text, remove stray regions, and label images and figures on a page.
- Herald Dispatch: Research for blind awarded funding
The American Foundation for the Blind Technology and Employment Center recently received $1 million in federal funding to help make technology more accessible for the blind or visually impaired. AFB TECH works to evaluate and test mainstream devices for the blind such as automated teller machines, cell phones and medical devices.
- BJHC: EU-wide consultation on electronic accessibility
The European Commission launched a public consultation last month on how best to make computers, mobile phones and websites accessible to the widest number of people, including the disabled and the elderly. It focuses on three key areas: public procurement, certification and the use of legislation.
- Linux Insider: Introducing the 'Bazaar Approach' to Software Development
The Mambo development team claims that the next version of Mambo will provide better xHTML and XML support and that some of the shortcomings in accessibility will be addressed. I can only hope that the next version of osCommerce brings improvements as well.
- BJHC: Brent TPCT's website a success
A content-management system from RedDot Solutions underpins the site, ensuring all content meets stringent NHS accessibility criteria, which include accessibility for physically impaired users, as well as inexperienced users and the elderly.
- IT Week: Common PC problems - Part 1
Due to poor eyesight I have difficulty reading onscreen. Is there anything I can do to make it easier to use my computer?
Click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, Accessibility and then Accessibility Wizard. This will help you change the settings on your computer to display larger fonts or set the Magnifier tool to magnify the area of the screen around the cursor.
- finextra: Diebold teams with ScanSoft to deliver talking ATMs
Diebold says while many banks provide Braille features on ATMs, only nine per cent of the blind population in the US actively reads Braille. Current government guidelines require speech output to enhance efforts to make ATMs more accessible for people with visual impairments.
- CBR Online: ScanSoft and Diebold to provide talking ATMs
"This premium voice engine is an important part of our solutions, and it will help us exceed accessibility requirements," said Danny O'Brien, senior vice president of global product marketing for Diebold. "Speech brings an important human element to our ATMs, and it enhances the many accessibility features we already provide to the consumer."
- a free press: Design for disability comes in to focus
Disability organisation, Scope, has bought together a range of members to develop a Centre for Inclusive Technology and Design (CITD) which will help major companies put inclusion at the center of their product and service design processes.
Legal US and Canada
- my Kawartha: Which model of service delivery is the right fit for those with disabilities?
The baby boom generation is aging. As this generation -- typically 45 to 60 years of age -- gets older and many find they have a "tougher time getting around town," they will expect better facilities to accommodate their various situations.
Bill 118, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2004, will make it law that any enterprise, whether it be private or public, must be able to accommodate persons with disabilities. Thus persons with disabilities will be able to continue to be part of the mainstream of community life.
- Seattle Times: Fight over making cruise ships fit for disabled ends up in Supreme Court
"If the United States chose to apply its own accessibility standards to foreign-flagged ships entering its waters, many of the other 40 countries around the world with antidiscrimination laws might respond by attempting to apply their own unique - and divergent, if not contradictory - set of standards to foreign-flagged ships, including U.S. ships," says Washington attorney Gregory Garre in a brief filed on behalf of the Bahamas Maritime Authority.
Legal UK / Europe
- Waltham Forest Guardian: Help at hand to face disability
The RNID is offering free inspections and guidance to the first 30 small to medium-sized businesses to register for the Louder than Words project. Funding from the Big Lottery is backing the scheme.